In the final proposal, due in January 2017, it is expected the European Commission wants browsers in the EU to block tracking cookies by default. You can imagine the cheers at the Privacy Organizations, you can probably also imagine the gloomy faces in the marketing business.
Tracking cookie profiling, also called web profiling, is the use of persistent or permanent cookies to track a user’s overall activity online.
This tracking does not just happen when you are on a particular site, but it occurs the whole time you are browsing. This kind of profiling is often done by marketers who buy advertising rights on thousands of popular websites in order to collect and collate cookie information and creates a single “profile” of a user.
Cookie profiling used to be the only way for marketers to target potential customers and obtain a possible product purchase from them.
By knowing a user’s browsing habits, including sites visited, age, marital status, and political and religious affiliations, they can show him or her advertisements that are appealing, advertisements that he or she will care to patronize. This is a certain way for marketers to increase their profit by widening their customer base.
Cookies? We love them, but only with a cup of coffee.
Let’s assume I looked for a special blend of coffee somewhere on the web. We all know what happens next, for weeks I will see ads pop up on all sorts of websites that show different blends of coffee tempting me to buy something. This is odd! Should I not see those ads just before I started looking?
Now that requires a different kind of profiling, one that looks at real behaviour. And guess what, you don’t need cookies to determine those profiles.
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Marc Peter Geijtenbeek
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