Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Are Tracking Cookies "Spyware"?

In a July 14 column, Walter Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal writes:

"Many Web sites, even from respectable companies, place a secret computer file called a "tracking cookie" on your hard disk. This file records where you go on the Web on behalf of Internet advertising companies that later use the information for their own business purposes. In almost all cases, the user isn't notified of the download of the tracking cookie, let alone asked for permission to install it."

Mr. Mossberg goes on to give readers HIS definintion of spyware (which includes tracking cookies):

Spyware -- and a related category called adware -- is computer code placed on a user's computer without his or her permission and without notification, or with notification so obscure it hardly merits the term."

One of the problems with Mr. Mossberg's article is that he lumps tracking cookies into the same category as Spyware and Adware. As members of the affiliate industry, we understand that tracking cookies are pretty much a necessity to providing surfers and shoppers with the web experience they've grown accustomed to. What makes Mr. Mossberg's uninformed comments so disturbing is the fact that he's writing for The Wall Street Journal, a highly-respected business publication.

Click here to read the rest of Mr. Mossberg's article.

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