Dave Morgan, CEO of Tacoda - one of our portoflio companies, weighs in on the cookie debate that I have mentioned more than a few times in the past week. He also links to my original blog post.
The column is on MediaPost. You can read it here. (registration required).
Here's the best part of Dave's column if you don't have the time or inclination to link through to it.
The cookies that concern Walt are not "secret," nor are they delivered without the user's permission. For all reputable sites, including WSJ.com, their use is fully disclosed in their privacy policies. In fact, many argue that they are an implicit part of the "Terms of Service." In other words, if you want free content, you must accept the fact that the site is going to try to place cookies. You can block them. You can delete them. But you can't say that you didn't expect them. In addition, users control cookies. All of the major browsers have features that can be set to notify users every time a cookie is set, or to block cookies according to pre-set rules.
The problem is that no one has taken the time to educate consumers about what their cookies do and what to expect from them. Of course, before the days of browser-based cookie controls and anti-spyware software, this didn't matter. Cookies just happened in the background, and consumers rarely saw them or played with them.
Now, however, the game has changed. Consumers are in control. They are all like Walt. If they don't know what these things are, they assume the worst. Now is the time for those that place cookies to step up and fill this void. Now is the time for the industry to step up. Walt is just the messenger. Don't shoot him.
As I said in my post yesterday, tracking is good. It delivers relevant advertising. No it doesn't cure AIDS, but it might get an advertisement for an AIDS drug to an AIDS patient.
As Dave says, the media industry needs to sell tracking to consumers and explain how they do it and the benefits it delivers. So let's get busy doing that.