Sunday, September 17, 2006

Anti-Spyware Tools Gobble up Advertisers' Cookies

A new study details the effect of 11 spyware-tracking programs on advertisers' cookies, and finds that Google's cookies evaded all challengers.

The soon-to-be-released study from independent researcher Ben Edelman details the ability of 11 spyware-tracking programs to detect cookies from 50 different ad systems, ClickZ writes . Six of the programs targeted Yahoo's pay-per-click ad conversion tracking cookies, for example. In general, the wider the reach of the ad network, affiliate network or ad management system, the more likely the tracking cookie would be detected.

The more widely recognized programs, such as Symantec's Norton Internet Security, McAfee Internet Security Suite and Microsoft Windows Defender, detected none of the 50 ad systems included in the study. Of the 11 programs, ZoneAlarm was the only one that automatically deleted any detected cookies.

"If privacy concerns continue to escalate, and users respond by choosing [lesser-used] applications over the larger anti-virus players, the affiliate networks will need to figure out a way to get 'un-targeted' by the smaller, niche anti-spyware and adware firms," Jeff Molander, CEO of affiliate marketing consulting firm Molander and Associates, is quoted as saying for Marketing Vox.

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