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BizReport : Research : September 13, 2006


Anti-Spyware Misses Google Ad Cookies

Could anti-spyware programs like McAfee Internet Security Suite, Symantec’s Norton Internet Security and Microsoft Windows Defender be impacting your bottom line by deleting Internet cookies? A new study from independent researcher Ben Edelman says yes.

by Kristina Knight

Tracking cookies is a good way to tell what consumers have seen what ads, which can track user behavior over a period of time.

Edelman studied 11 of the most popular internet anti-spyware programs to determine which are contributing to cookie crushing. The most surprising result? Tracking cookies from Yahoo's pay-per-click ad conversion were captured by six spyware programs, but none of Google's conversion cookies were caught. ZoneAlarm was the only program that automatically detected and deleted all cookies.

Edelman says this is because Google's cookies are primarily of number strings, and each tracking cookie is placed in a different cookie file on the user’s disc.

What does this mean for you? Deleting cookies can interfere with the tracking of ad conversion rates, which can prevent advertisers from correctly paying commissions and determining the source of sales. Edelman includes a revenue loss calculator to show the likely effects.

There are alternatives to ad-network cookies. By using URL parameters to tell where users are coming from or by using Private Labeling advertisers can combat cookie deletion, keeping better track of commissions and sales.

To read Ben Edelman's study, click here.

Tags: behavioral targeting, cookies, Google, spyware, tracking, Yahoo










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