Rating: Mobile ad industry needs more champions to speak out
Never mind the Festive season, it seems that bashing the internet advertising industry has become an open season – especially amongst the printed Press. On Sunday [December 9th 2012] the UK’s Sunday Times ran a story saying entitled, ‘One click unleashes a spying free-for-all’.* The complaint was about ‘cookies’ which were triggered when a reporter visited popular e-commerce/retail sites such as Marks & Spencers, eBay, John Lewis and Currys. The newspaper’s reporter found that in the space of 15 minutes a total of 600 cookies were uploaded – only 250 of which belonged to the sites visited. GoMobile News is not suggesting the report was deliberately unbalanced. Just that the reporter could only find one person to defend the practice. Worse still no mention was made of the mobile web.Here at GoMobile Towers, we may be going mad but it was our understanding that mobile web browsers in general don’t tend to utilise cookies so much – this is more a desktop phenomenon.
Anyway, if surfers are so concerned that cookies are ‘stealing their identity’ as was implied, then surely the best thing to have done was provide advice on turning cookies off.
The trouble is that cookies are extremely useful and many surfers don’t appreciate how their lives are made easier thanks to their existence.
The crucial point as Deann Harvey, regional vp for ad agency, MediaMind, pointed out, “Advertising is a necessary part of the internet as it helps fund the content.” Too right.
As the article was forced to admit, “The Sunday Times web site uses third party cookies from at least nine companies.”
Ironically, we were asked to accept cookies when we read the story.
The newspaper groups advertisers aren’t going to be too happy if the printed publications encourage their readers to turn cookies off, are they?
The article seemed to pick on companies such as Math Tag, Rich-Relevance and Criteo. And in particular on BluKai and DoubleClick.
We visited Blukai on our trusty Android-powered Motorola RAZR i and were able to see what information the company has stored on us by visiting this page. Nothing sinister was the answer.
Anyway, Blukai provides loads of information for consumes for controlling what information the company stores or opting out. It even provides this link for consumers to opt out of targeting entirely.
It’s obvious that consumers need educating both on the importance of cookies in general and benefits of being successfully targeted.
What the mobile ad industry needs to do is push forward more champions who are prepared to stick up to the propaganda – a good deal of it coming from the likes of Privacy International, and explain why ads help the mobile web to go around.
For the totally paranoid, however, here is our guide on how to turn cookies of in Google’s Chrome browser for Android: -
In the Browser – select ‘Settings’ by going to the top right hand corner of the browser and hitting the icon of three full stops piled on top of each other!
Then navigate to ‘Content Settings’ and uncheck the box which says ‘Accept cookies’.
Frankly, however, we would compare people who think they need to turn off cookies entirely as the modern equivalent of those who thought cameras could capture and steal their souls.