The Web Cookie Is Dying. Here's The Creepier Technology That Comes Next

Monday, June 17, 2013 |


It may raise hackles to think that U.S. intelligence officials might be monitoring your telephone and Internet communications, but for most of us it's only the marketers who are really interested in our everyday online activities. And with many billions of dollars at stake, companies are increasingly turning to more sophisticated techniques to identify potential clients and deliver relevant advertising.

Many Internet advertisers rely on cookies, digital code stored on your browser. Some websites place multiple cookies when you visit, allowing them to track some of your activity over time (you can see who is tracking you by installing an application such as Ghostery or Abine's "DoNotTrackMe")
The problem for marketers is that some users set their browsers to reject cookies or quickly extinguish them. And mobile phones, which are taking an increasing chunk of the Web usage, do not use cookies.
To combat the cookie's flaws, advertisers and publishers are increasingly turning to something called fingerprinting.
Fingerprintingmay prove a more robust trackingtechnology than cookiesbecause the user's identify endures even if they erase their cookies.Making changes to your software and settings only makes you more identifiable, not less. They have developed a technology that allows firms to send an email but deliver the content only when a user opens it, giving the sender a chance to change the message in a few milliseconds. A flower store might advertise different specials depending on their inventory at the time a person opens their email.
In helping clients decide what adsto send via email, AdStackpartners with Rapleafto learn more about people from their email addresses. Armed with this extra personal data, the advertiser, using an AdStackplugingenerating code in their email, tries to serve up the most relevant adto an individual user. They charge between a $1,000 and $50,000 for their services, depending on how many emails are sent out in an adcampaign, says CEO Evan Reiser.
The company uses fingerprintingrather than cookietechnology because cookiesdo not work on mobile phones or email programs such as Microsoft Microsoft Outlook, and they want to show their advertisingclients which campaigns are working most effectively. Reiser, a software engineer who set up his company in 2011, says fingerprinting allows him to identify 98% of Internet users, although he is trying to identify users those have opted in to receive a company's emails. My philosophy is that if you can make content more relevant, make advertisingmore relevant it becomes less like spamand more like content."
The head of online advertisingfor a major company said the decay of cookiesover time, the growth of mobile phones and different kinds of portable devices and Apple Apple 's default settings all make fingerprintingthe key for future online advertising. If you are going to create murder, don't research your weapons on Google Google ."