Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

New Technique for Tracking Web Site Visitors

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the hi-there-we-remember-you dept.

The Internet 590

bigtallmofo writes "According to Jupiter Research, 58% of web surfers deleted cookies from their system in 2004. This has sent a loud message to marketers in regard to consumer's preference as to tracking their online activities. The marketers have responded with PIE. Persistent Identification Element (PIE) is a technology that uses Macromedia's Flash MX to track you even without using cookies. Macromedia has created a page to instruct users on how to disable this."

cancel ×

590 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Not actively deleting cookies (1, Interesting)

suso (153703) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135104)

Somehow I doubt that 58% of users are actively going into their browser settings and deleting cookies themselves. This is most likely users are reinstalling their operating systems [microsoft.com] or using some spyware removing software that is removing their cookies. So I think that this PIE software will not help much. Trying to track visitors is an uphill battle.

Re:Not actively deleting cookies (4, Insightful)

Cruithne (658153) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135172)

I would wager that 58% of users know someone who is a "computer person" who, in their routine of cleaning all their friends' and family's boxes from spyware/adware, also deleted tracking cookies.

Re:Not actively deleting cookies (3, Insightful)

Nasa Rosebuds (867909) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135255)

58% know a computer person? That's a lot of computer people who don't know how to install SP2.

Re:Not actively deleting cookies (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12135202)

Why isn't using an antispyware program to delete cookies considered "actively deleting cookies"? Just because you use software that accomplishes the same thing doesn't mean the cookies aren't getting deleted. That percent is probably accurate.

As far as reinstalling operating systems. Do you really think people really reinstall that often?

AdAware / AntiSpy (was Re:Not actively deleting .. (4, Insightful)

jackDuhRipper (67743) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135227)

58% is a *lot* of OS re-installs ...

to your point, however, some % of that 58% are likely deleting cookies when e.g. AdAware [lavasoftusa.com] or Yahoo! antispy [yahoo.com] is telling them to clean up this "tracking info."

Regardless, it's a Good Thing users are doing this.

Re:Not actively deleting cookies (2, Informative)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135257)

I agree. I doubt more than 5% of people actually even know how to get into the part of their browser where they can delete the cookies.

Deleting cookies has become a pretty common thing for anti-spyware, "system speed-up", security, and all sorts of other programs to do. Incidentally, these programs will most likely also clear out the PIE elements, which'll make it just as worthless.

Re:Not actively deleting cookies (1)

philwx (789834) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135350)

They do it via tech support. Simple as that.

Re:Not actively deleting cookies (1)

BobVila (592015) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135399)

Does any know if any of the major adware removal uitilities already address this issue?

Re:Not actively deleting cookies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12135272)

I guess the real question is what the 58% refers to...users who have EVER deleted their cookies? Users who do it once a year?

I kill mine ritually at the end of every session...sometimes in between sessions too. The little "Clear All" button in MozFox makes it easy. But I'm a freak.

Even so, it doesn't surprise me that over half would have chilled some of their baked goods at some point. Even Tony Soprano is known to have remarked, "Turn off that fucking computer. That cookie shit makes me nervous."

Re:Not actively deleting cookies (4, Insightful)

ajs (35943) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135284)

It's not an uphill battle to track visitors. You can track a visitor just fine. You can even track them from business transaction to business transaction just fine.

What advertisers are having a hard time doing is tracking visitors across sites or across casual visits to the same site, and I'm THRILLED by that. Hey, I know it makes their business harder and less cost effective, but that's not really my problem. Let the Web business model collapse a bit more. I think it's healthy.

Oh, and using Flash won't help. Most people are getting wise to Flash and are installing features like the Firefox plugin that requires you to click on an icon in order to activate a flash component (should you want to). I consider Flash dangerous, and I don't execute dangerous code unless I REALLY trust the place I'm getting it.

Re:Not actively deleting cookies (4, Funny)

fm6 (162816) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135338)

Somehow I doubt that 58% of users are actively going into their browser settings and deleting cookies themselves.
Pretty much my own reaction.
This is most likely users are reinstalling their operating systems [link to microsoft.com]...
You wish! Linux still has a pretty tiny market share.
... or using some spyware removing software that is removing their cookies.
Ah! Here we come to the heart of the matter. TFA goes on to say,
The report found that as many as 39% of online users may be deleting cookies from their primary computer monthly, undermining the usefulness of cookie-based measurement and leaving many site operators flying blind.
Notice that "deleting cookies" not "deleting all cookies". Most web users couldn't live without cookies, since a lot of web sites (including Slashdot) use them for automatic login. But nowadays, most people run spyware scanners, which usually include cookies from the more obnoxious advertising sites in the signature database.

In that context, the "39% of users" and "once a month" actually sounds very conservative. I wonder where they got their figures?

The irony is that deleting cookies after the fact is not a very good privacy measure -- the people who planted them have already had a good chance to track your usage. It's much more effective to set your browser not to provide cookie information except to the originating site.

In other words, the whole cookie issue is just plain bogus.

Firefox plugin? (5, Funny)

nizo (81281) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135107)

Applications that are created using Macromedia Flash may want to have access to the camera and/or microphone available on your computer.

Does firefox have a plugin that reminds me to either put clothes on or turn off my camera before loading a flash plugin?

Re:Firefox plugin? (1)

bigtangringo (800328) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135134)

It's set to "Deny" by default.

Re:Firefox plugin? (1)

pmike_bauer (763028) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135200)

does firefox have a plugin that reminds me...

Does firefox have a plugin that reminds me to Ctrl+/Ctrl- when visiting /. ??

Re:Firefox plugin? (1)

Igottapoop (762294) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135270)

You're probably joking, but you do know that you can set a minimum font size in firefox, right?

Re:Firefox plugin? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12135314)


Hitting Ctrl-+/Ctrl-- is the standard way to fix the "slashdot formatting bug" in Firefox. It causes the page to get redrawn, which fixes everything.

A useful Firefox plugin...but not for your clothes (1)

tomzyk (158497) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135254)

Check out FlashBlock [mozdev.org] for FireFox. Not only should it prevent this whole PIE thing, it'll stop all MacroMedia ads from opening in your browser... unless you specifically want it to open.

Re:Firefox plugin? (1)

philwx (789834) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135276)

I love this part in the article:

Tanembaum also warned against using PIE to thwart consumers. "Any abuse of this technology is not welcomed by us," Tanembaum said. "We believe people should use this technology responsibly. If people don't want cookies in place, then (their browsers) shouldn't be tagged."

Hahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Who does he think 99.9999% of the consumers of this technology will be? And what they will do with it?

Looks like a pretty pathetic attempt to disguise the obvious.

Re:Firefox plugin? (4, Funny)

mopslik (688435) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135279)

... put clothes on or turn off my camera before loading a flash plugin?

Wouldn't that defeat the purpose of the "flash" plugin?

Re:Firefox plugin? (3, Funny)

swillden (191260) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135407)

Does firefox have a plugin that reminds me to either put clothes on or turn off my camera before loading a flash plugin?

Hey, if someone wants to go to all that effort to see me naked, it's fine with me. Just so we're clear that I will *not* be paying for any therapy that may be required afterward.

Just don't have flash installed or activated. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12135108)

That ought to fix it.

"ooga booga !", then barked the Neanderthal AC... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12135259)

n/t

Re:Just don't have flash installed or activated. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12135409)

Precisely!
Flash sucks. And I'm not one of these people who doesn't like animation. Quite to the contrary, I love designing in 3D and I've even developed extensive animation in not just Flash, but also Director and even Authorware so I know plenty about it and I love animation. Unfortunately for me, I know too much about it and I don't use Flash precisely because I don't like Macromedia and I don't like them because I know them. They use Flash as a wedge to try and worm their way into all sorts of niches. So, I don't use it and if I miss out on sites that insist on it, well what a pity. Luckily for me there are billions of sites on the Net that don't require Flash and there's no doubt in my mind that eventually open SVG standards will prevail.

I'd delete them too (2, Funny)

y0saph (865086) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135114)

if i had a girlfriend...

Homer Simpson (5, Funny)

joeslugg (8092) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135116)

"MMMMMMMmmmmmm.... PIE..."

Re:Homer Simpson (1)

yuriismaster (776296) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135190)

Weebl:PIE! [jolt.co.uk]

Bob:Yes!

Re:Homer Simpson (1)

Sexy Bern (596779) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135351)

When come back, bring pie! We love http://b3ta.com/ [b3ta.com]

If you don't use Flash... (1)

rah1420 (234198) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135119)

... it's as easy as PIE.

Sorry.

And... (5, Funny)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135120)


I still won't load plugins into my browser, even if they offer the feature of being able to track me better.

I be da first (-1, Offtopic)

cont4gion (860151) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135121)

I be da first :D

Teh Lus3R! You FAIL it! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12135331)

Weak

This gives me a great reason (3, Insightful)

I_am_Rambi (536614) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135123)

not to install flash. What good features did it have anyway?

Re:This gives me a great reason (2, Informative)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135182)

It gives you a reason to use

Flashblock [mozdev.org]

Re:This gives me a great reason (5, Insightful)

RailGunner (554645) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135194)

Homestarrunner.com

Strong Bad is worth putting up with a little bit of flash for.

Re:This gives me a great reason (3, Insightful)

nkh (750837) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135205)

What good features did it have anyway?

I need it to read Strong Bad's email on my Lappy 486, and a few other sites use Flash in a "not so bad" way like animations (yes, I know it's a waste of time) or artistic features.

And if you use the FlashBlock extension, nothing is loaded automatically, you have to click the button to enable a specific animation, nothing to fear.

Re:This gives me a great reason (3, Interesting)

NinjaFarmer (833539) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135275)

To require that all websites ask your permission before using your camera or microphone, or to prevent any website from accessing your camera or microphone, you use the Global Privacy Settings Panel.


To specify the amount of disk space that websites you haven't yet visited can use to store information on your computer, or to prevent websites you haven't yet visited from storing information on your computer, you use the Global Storage Settings Panel.

To specify if certain websites are allowed to access information on other websites, you use the Global Security Settings Panel.

To specify if and how often Flash Player should check for updated versions, you use the Global Notifications Settings Panel.

To view or change the privacy settings for websites you have already visited, you use the Website Privacy Settings Panel.

To view or change the storage settings for websites you have already visited, or to delete information that any or all websites have already stored on your computer, you use the Website Storage Settings Panel.
If you have to disable all that, flash better not be on my computer.

Re:This gives me a great reason (5, Interesting)

ajs (35943) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135343)

Flash has a number of excellent features, which will continue to be a useful and valuable thing until SVG integration into mainstream browsers is complete.

Vector drawing is one of those things that sounds like a useless add-on until you consider how much time and disk cash you devote to every two-bit logo you see every day. If logos were all vector graphics, they'd be far smaller, far better looking on whatever display type you happen to have (because YOU get to choose how the rendering is optimized for that device) and generally much more usable.

Woefully, this isn't why people use Flash. People use Flash because they want to ANIMATE, and animation is rarely a boon for the end-user.

Even worse, it's often used to hijack the look and feel of your browser, imposing some horrid DVD-like menu system that you have to re-learn to interact with (and have no hope if you're disabled).

Re:This gives me a great reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12135381)

Great. Just what we need: more gratuitous graphics and animations on the web.

I want content damn it!

Re:This gives me a great reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12135412)

With Macromedia Flash, you can view thousands of utterly pointless "cartoons" created with this medium by otherwise totally incompetent "artists", who more often than not belong to the "angsty teenager" stereotype.

Just as well then... (5, Funny)

nagora (177841) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135125)

That I browse with plugins switched off unless I absolutely HAVE to use a site's Flash.

I have the Register to thank for this as their story pages are unreadable with Flash enabled due to haveing THREE flaming animations running at a time.

TWW

Re:Just as well then... (1)

jam244 (701505) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135357)

adblock [mozdev.org] for the win

Yah (3, Insightful)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135126)

But how about I just disable Flash instead.

If it's being used for this then I guess I can finally take the plunge and get it off my machine completely. I guess I'll be missing all that "cool" stuff on "teh interweb" but I'm sure I'll survive.

I bet Macromedia is thinking the same thing.

Flash(id)blocker (4, Interesting)

iamavirus (590736) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135143)

Request: Can someone make a plugin for moxilla/firefox that blocks this? This would be somewhat akin to the flashblocker plugin that already exists (and is highly recommended).

those creative IT guys.. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12135149)

first cookies then pies

sheesh what's next.. cake?

-SJ53

Here's another hint... (5, Insightful)

Alaren (682568) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135156)

...for marketers out there. I'm not interested in "targeted" advertising any more than I'm interested in the "plain" variety.

If you want my information, ask for it. Some people like targetted advertising, find it useful (or at least "more" useful). Lets make information tracking opt-in rather than opt-out. Programs like MyPoints or whatever its called where you view addvertising for some tiny compensation, for instance--not my cup of tea, but that way it's there for those who want it, and it's opt-in.

P.S. I block Flash during normal browsing. One more beauty of non-IE browsers!

Re:Here's another hint... (5, Insightful)

KefabiMe (730997) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135344)

Check out this nugget from the article

United Virtualities's PIE helps combat this consumer behavior by leveraging a feature in Flash MX called local shared objects.

"combat this customer behavior"? Is this how companies are viewing the general public?

  • Any company that uses this technology is a company that is trying to coerce more profit from its "customers".
  • Any company that uses this technology is a company I want to avoid.

Marketer's Suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12135157)

Marketers won't be happy until there is a hovering monitor that follows you and is always in your face plugging you with advertisement. These guys are lower than ambulance chasing lawyers.

Re:Marketer's Suck (2, Insightful)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135247)

Oh come on, we all know that lawyers that bring class action suits are the lowest form of life. Even lower than so-called ambulance chasing attorneys. At least the clients of ambulance chasers get 2/3rds of the judgement/settlement. Class action attorneys, on the other hand, get millions while their "clients" get worthless coupons.

Oh, that flashblock... (5, Insightful)

cfalcon (779563) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135169)

That Firefox flashblock is one of the best technologies ever. The idea is so simple, and should have been an option in the actual flash itself: the thing doesn't load unless you click on it and say so. Most things should be like that, or be able to be set like that, and it's annoying when a company wants to control your property in such a fashion.

I mean, I have flash to play the occasional game or watch a movie. That shouldn't make me susceptible to ads crapping all over my eyeballs.

More importantly, Macromedia should be on my side with this, unless they are somehow benefitting everytime a flash app is loaded (which isn't impossible, but creates a serious conflict of interest).

Will the browser help? (1)

jimbro2k (800351) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135378)

From the Macromedia website: "When Macromedia Flash content is being played, the settings you select for Flash Player are used in place of options you may have set in your browser."
Time to experiment with Firefox and see for sure if it blocks as expected..

Re:Oh, that flashblock... (1)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135401)

Macromedia should be on my side with this, unless they are somehow benefitting everytime a flash app is loaded (which isn't impossible, but creates a serious conflict of interest).

They do benefit, indirectly but not very circuitously.

If flash-designers can count on their flashlets always loading in the browser, it makes flash a more marketable medium which means more sales for flash development tools which is where macromedia makes their money.

What a despicable waste! (4, Funny)

MisterLawyer (770687) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135170)

All those... Delicious... Cookies... Squandered...

Over half of all web users' cookies? That would be enough cookies to feed the populations of Africa and India for, like, decades.

Say no to Cookies and PIE (4, Funny)

tinrobot (314936) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135174)

I'm putting my system on a low carb diet.

Re:Say no to Cookies and PIE (1)

pmike_bauer (763028) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135320)

Those poor marketers. They can't have their cake [funnelcake.com] and eat it too.

PRON (5, Funny)

Sperryfreak01 (855471) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135178)

I dont mind if people see where I have been on the net cause like most /.'ers I only go two places /. and porn sites

more porn sites (2, Funny)

maximus_greece (834236) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135369)

have to delete cookies from old porn sites to make space so that i could visit new porn sites.

thanks, guys! (5, Insightful)

to_kallon (778547) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135180)

Mookie Tanembaum, founder and chief executive of United Virtualities, says the company is trying to help consumers by preventing them from deleting cookies that help website operators deliver better services.

gee, thanks mookie, i just wouldn't know what to believe on the internet if it weren't for all your protection. oh, and thanks for preventing me from deleting my own files. you're right, i really did want those after all. you're such a good friend.
*happy sigh*

Camera / Microphone (2, Interesting)

beerman2k (521609) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135189)

I've noticed for a while that Flash, by default, denies access to your camera and microphone. I'm wondering however, why there is even a setting for this. Who in the right mind would allow random Flash applications access to their camera and microphone? What use would this have?

Re:Camera / Microphone (2, Informative)

mopslik (688435) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135316)

Who in the right mind would allow random Flash applications access to their camera and microphone? What use would this have?

Flash-based chat rooms, perhaps? I recall seeing a how-to article for this exact purpose somewhere on Macromedia's site a few years back.

I knew it. (1, Insightful)

Viceice (462967) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135199)

I keep telling people that Flash is evil, this just re-enforces my point.

As it is, Flash is:

1. Bandwidth hungry (Bad for the many people still on Dail Up)
2. Allows for the most annoying of Advertising gimmics
3. Disabled unfriendly, as screen readers for the blind can't read flash.
4. Google and most (all?) search engines don't do flash either.

and now:

5. Allows for privacy invasion.

Re:I knew it. (1)

Kizzle (555439) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135359)

Actually Google can read the text in flash animations now.

Re:I knew it. (1)

latroM (652152) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135363)

And it is non-free.

Re:I knew it. (1)

Saxerman (253676) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135376)

I keep telling people that Flash is evil, this just re-enforces my point.

Meh. I used to be you. Since Flash five I've come to accept that Flash is merely another tool, and not half bad at what it does. And like other tools, it can be used for good or evil. Even if Macromedia was directly working with the most vile of marketroid empires, I've yet to see evidence that they are trying to make Flash anything more than a multimedia presentation tool. Now, if I'm wrong, I'd be happy to know about it.

Hey! They are trying to HELP US! (1)

Tsu Dho Nimh (663417) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135204)

"says the company is trying to help consumers by preventing them from deleting cookies that help website operators deliver better services.
"The user is not proficient enough in technology to know if the cookie is good or bad, or how it works," Tanembaum said. "

My, that makes me feel better, knowing that the wise marketeer is looking out for my best interests.

If you think cookies and pie are evil (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12135206)

Wait until you see ICE CREAM (Internet Collection Element - Cash Rules Everything Around Me) which uses sprinkles and crushed reeses pieces for tracking. Nobody seems to delete those.

58% misguided fools (2, Interesting)

yipyow (317154) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135216)

the whole delete your cookies thing is silly. i run several web sites that use cookies to track logins, not for me to track them but for the site to track who is logged in. the browser sends the cookie to the site, and if the cookie's id matches the one stored in the database, the user is trusted. this is a fairly good way of identifying logins and if you delete your cookie you will simply be logged out. most sites use cookies this way and if you have a good browser, you can see what info is stored there anyway. i suggest opera [opera.com] because it has a good cookie manager that also integrates well with its password manager. if those numbers are correct, then 58% of internet users have been misled by some media outlet into believing that browser cookies are evil. that's not to say that some aren't used for marketing purposes, but really, if you think a site is trying to track all that info then find a better site. don't just randomly delete cookies, some web administrator put them there for a reason, and it's probably to help you use their site.

Re:58% Troll (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12135327)

Bullshit!

Deleting cookies is no problem because nothing should be stored on the client. Website logins should be session cookies, preferences should be stored server-side. If web developers don't understand this, they should stick to html.

Re:58% misguided fools (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12135367)

Feh. I got your misguidefool right here pal.

It's not misleading to say that cookies are evil, because some of them *coughDOUBLECLICKcough* definitely are. Yours might be as innocuous as bunny poop, and yipyowyay for you. But the fact that you "put them there for a reason" doesn't mean I agree with your reason, and if I choose to flush your cookies and you choose to log me off, I probably just won't come back to your site.

What a shitty link (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12135217)

Look, I'm all in favor of RTFM, but if the poster says that Macromedia has constructed a page to address the PIE issue, and then "Persistent Identification Element" doesn't even come up in the Macromedia (Google-powered) search engine, then how worthy is the submission?



Thirst for Information (1)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135223)

So what exactly are the bigwigs doing with the information they do get? Why is it telling them that we want more Brittney Spears, Hollywood Sequals, and a choice between reality TV lameness and sitcom inanity on the tube?

Anyone else afraid that maybe, just maybe, they know us better than we want to admit?

right . (1)

computerme (655703) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135228)

58% of web surfers deleted cookies

sure. jupiter. glad to see you guys are still spouting lots of bull crap to earn those consulting fees.

58%. Sure.

These things will always be around. (1)

flogger (524072) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135233)

There was the embedded unique ID code in Pentium III chips.

There are cookies.

There are Persistent Identification Elements.

All long as you surf or use the net, you and your browsing can be tracked. A piece of advice that I give grandmas and people new to computers when I do the community workshops is that one should never do anything on the net that they wouldn't do in public.

Persoanlly, I am suprised that 58% of people delete cookies. I'd be suprised if 30% of the people on the net knew what a cookie was. Other than oreo. I wonder if that 58% inclued people that reinstall their OS when they get bogged down, Or maybe that one time they installed and ran Ad-Aware only when they heard of it.

Re:These things will always be around. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12135352)

A piece of advice that I give ... is that one should never do anything on the net that they wouldn't do in public.

Slashdot page views would fall by 95%.

Something new (1)

honkeytron (849435) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135234)

And once word gets out to the normal world about this next 'great evil', how long will it take for a new tracking methond to be developed as a response?

There is 'too much money' out there for vendors not to develop these things. Here is an idea (flame if you must)....if you are so dead set on not having someone, somewhere knowing that you went shopping for dildos, then DON'T DO IT. If you do, do so under the assumption that your viewing/purchasing habits will be tracked, through one mechanism or another.

Dear Slashdot (4, Funny)

Letter (634816) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135235)

Dear Slashdot,

To aid your visitor tracking, here is today's log of my Slashdot visits:

Mon, 04 Apr 2005 13:17:56 GMT
Mon, 04 Apr 2005 13:25:05 GMT
Mon, 04 Apr 2005 13:44:12 GMT
Mon, 04 Apr 2005 14:01:40 GMT
Mon, 04 Apr 2005 14:10:33 GMT
Mon, 04 Apr 2005 14:30:54 GMT
Mon, 04 Apr 2005 14:33:20 GMT
Mon, 04 Apr 2005 14:33:20 GMT
Mon, 04 Apr 2005 14:33:21 GMT
Mon, 04 Apr 2005 14:33:22 GMT
Mon, 04 Apr 2005 14:33:22 GMT
Mon, 04 Apr 2005 14:33:23 GMT
Mon, 04 Apr 2005 14:33:24 GMT
Mon, 04 Apr 2005 14:33:25 GMT <-- "first post"
Mon, 04 Apr 2005 15:01:50 GMT
Mon, 04 Apr 2005 16:20:17 GMT
Mon, 04 Apr 2005 16:35:21 GMT
Mon, 04 Apr 2005 16:50:55 GMT
Mon, 04 Apr 2005 17:16:09 GMT

Log on,
Letter

eww? (1)

AIX-Hood (682681) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135238)

58% of users tossed their cookies last year? Eww...

Firefox FlashBlock Plugin (5, Informative)

LogicX (8327) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135239)

Although I was initially shocked by reading this, I'm not too concerned because I already use FlashBlock [mozdev.org] Firefox extension.

From the site: "Flashblock is an extension for the Mozilla and Firefox browsers that takes a pessimistic approach to dealing with Macromedia Flash content on a webpage and blocks ALL Flash content from loading. It then leaves a placeholder on the page that allows you to click to view the Flash content."

In most cases I've found this very handy, as ads on websites have recently been switching to a flash format (Yes, I could also be running the adblock extension).

For the few sites that I need it for (MBNA's Shop Safe Applet) I just click where the flash wanted to load, and it allows it.

I highly recommend this extension.

I now understand what those little flash icons trying to load in the corner of the browser were.

Who here has flash installed on their own machine? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12135242)

This is preaching to the converted, Macromedia products are the marque of the drooling moron.

Advertising is destroying Flash (5, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135251)

Flash was once a rather nice delivery system for animated content. Then it became an advertising delivery system. Now it's becoming an adware/spyware vehicle.

It's almost, but not quite, time for spyware removal programs to remove Flash as hostile code. It's probably time for programs like AdAware to offer the user the option of easily removing Flash. Perhaps with a message like this:

"Macromedia Flash is a program used primarily to deliver advertising messages. It can turn on your microphone and camera (if present) and transmit the results to advertisers, store personalized data on your machine and transmit it to advertisers, and play commercials with audio. Do you want to remove Macromedia Flash?"

Re:Advertising is destroying Flash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12135283)

well due to the actions of unitedvirtualities Macromedia can look forward to having their product officially branded spyware

Re:Advertising is destroying Flash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12135395)

well due to the actions of unitedvirtualities Macromedia can look forward to having their product officially branded spyware

"spyware" seems like a horizontal move from "annoying crap".

Macromedia is destroying flash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12135388)

The way they force a flash install down my throat when I install Dreamweaver and give me no ability to uninstall it. Or the way the Dreamweaver exchange now requires flash, even though it works exactly that same as the plain old html-only version. Fuck macromedia and fuck flash. You want to exceed at open standards, I'm with you. You want to use your toolsets to leverage your proprietary crap, you might as well be Microsoft.

PIE may die... (1)

Robotron23 (832528) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135267)

From all the owners of computers I've serviced in the past, I'd say only around 5% knew roughly what a cookie was, with even fewer being able to give a good definition. But, a fair proportion had managed to remove cookies through using Ad-aware or Spybot.

PIE will ultimately fail, as programs such as Ad-Aware are created by paid profressionals with an extensive knowledge, aswell as being actively able to update and modify their products on a very regular basis.

Marketers however, cannot hope to acheive more than a failed gimmick as most firms simply can't concentrate heavily on creating software to monitor potential customers, let alone have the time or resources to continually update and refine it.

Let them TRY to get to me... (4, Funny)

feloneous cat (564318) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135277)

... I'm on dialup.

99% of the time I bail before Flash has time to load .

The macromedia player that's blocked in firefox? (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135295)

These do not run on my system unless I choose to let them run.

Damn (1)

catdevnull (531283) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135301)

I miss the old days before the 'net was controlled by corporations that gnaw at your very soul to make your their consumer bitches.

Then again, Gopher and WAIS kinda sucked at your soul, too.

<blink>
Click here now to be a consumer whore!
</blink>
yikes.

Maybe my memory is bad, (1)

RedElf (249078) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135311)

but I can't seem to remember anything worth looking at that requires flash on the internet.

I think Flash is great.! (2, Funny)

RealAlaskan (576404) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135312)

I have learned that sites which use flash are sights I don't need to see.

I have uninstalled flash. When I see the little ``puzzle piece'', I know that I've found a site that isn't worth visiting, so Flash is a great time saver for me.

slashdotted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12135322)

friggen crap, macromedia's site is either slashdotted or extremely slow and it's the only way to disable this "feature"

Hmm, pie (1)

88NoSoup4U88 (721233) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135346)

I guess Weebl [jolt.co.uk] approves of this new PIE.

Bill Hicks put it best (3, Funny)

aardwolf204 (630780) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135349)

"By the way if anyone here is in advertising or marketing... kill yourself. No, no, no it's just a little thought. I'm just trying to plant seeds. Maybe one day, they'll take root - I don't know. You try, you do what you can. Kill yourself. Seriously though, if you are, do. Aaah, no really, there's no rationalisation for what you do and you are Satan's little helpers, Okay - kill yourself - seriously. You are the ruiner of all things good, seriously.

No this is not a joke, you're going, "there's going to be a joke coming," there's no fucking joke coming. You are Satan's spawn filling the world with bile and garbage. You are fucked and you are fucking us. Kill yourself. It's the only way to save your fucking soul, kill yourself. Planting seeds. I know all the marketing people are going, "he's doing a joke"... there's no joke here whatsoever. Suck a tail-pipe, fucking hang yourself, borrow a gun from a friend - I don't care how you do it. Rid the world of your evil fucking machinations. I know what all the marketing people are thinking right now too, "Oh, you know what Bill's doing, he's going for that anti-marketing dollar. That's a good market, he's very smart." Oh man, I am not doing that. You fucking evil scumbags! "Ooh, you know what Bill's doing now, he's going for the righteous indignation dollar. That's a big dollar. A lot of people are feeling that indignation. We've done research - huge market. He's doing a good thing." Godammit, I'm not doing that, you scum-bags! Quit putting a godamm dollar sign on every fucking thing on this planet!

"Ooh, the anger dollar. Huge. Huge in times of recession. Giant market, Bill's very bright to do that." God, I'm just caught in a fucking web! "Ooh the trapped dollar, big dollar, huge dollar. Good market - look at our research. We see that many people feel trapped. If we play to that and then separate them into the trapped dollar..." How do you live like that? And I bet you sleep like fucking babies at night, don't you?"

What does 58% really mean? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12135354)

The Jupiter results don't note a couple of obvious questions.

1) Of the 58%, are they really deleting cookies via the browser's "Delete Cookies" button, or are they blocking those sites. Is there a difference?

2) Of the cookies installed on those subject systems, how many were agreed to by the user? Let's assume that 10% of the cookies installed on the subject systems wasn't the result of spam, p0rn and spyware sites.

Do those numbers matter if the user doesn't care about the personalization as much as they are pissed that spyware and ad companies use your information against you? How many were from legit sites that the user was serious about re-visiting?

That 58% number is more probably a reflection of the amount of crap our browsers are loaded down with. The user would rather clean out the entire mess than sort out the couple that might matter to them. (remember, site personalization is supposed to be seamless, they might not notice the difference)

Infact I'm pretty certain the biggest pain a user is going to feel when dumping their cookies is those site's that cache your username/password in a local cookie, so you don't have to type everything in again.

Personally I prompt for all 1st and 3rd party cookies, then block the sites I see fit to. Most ad server farms use the same domain (ad1.adfarm.com, ad2.adfarm.com, etc...) so blocking them all in one cookie prompt is completely possible.

Stopped using Flash when the turned the mike on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12135366)

I don't see how people allow Flash. I stopped
when I found that they enabled the built-in
mike and webcams by default. Sure, they backed
off, but it's one strike and you're out!

Use SVG, not Flash.

Another reason to block Flash (1)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135371)

I already avoid flash for the following reasons:

It totally ignores the browser setting that says "don't play sounds".

Since I do not read that Load Star Runner or whatever it is called comic strip, I have little use for flash animations.

It's because of Ad-aware (1)

skyshock21 (764958) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135380)

Since the adware problem has become so prolific among windows users, most people have taken to at least running Ad-Aware from Lavasoft. It flags ALL tracking cookies for deletion after a sweep.

I'd wager to say without that program (and others) most people wouldn't know what the hell a tracking cookie is or where they're stored on your machine, much less whether it's safe to delete or not.

Who are mediaonenetwork.net (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135394)

They're the only entry, using 1K. Deleted!

Relax, here's how to deal w/ them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12135403)

I'd bet that cookie removal most often results from the use of anti-spyware programs.

Flash "Shared Objects" are basically the same thing as cookies, though they're byte encoded.

To remove them you simply need to access the file system and delete *.sol files within the system's Flash Player directory. For instance, these are found at C:\Documents and Settings\{username}\Application Data\Macromedia\Flash Player\ on XP.

Here's an app that'll let you read any SOL's on your system - http://www.sephiroth.it/python/solreader.php [sephiroth.it]

My bet is that Flash Cookie removal will be a feature in the next releases of most popular anti-spyware apps.

Fucking jewish advert firm (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12135405)


what the hell is wrong with them ?, hitler should of gassed the fuckers and finished the job when he had the chance

Re:What a polite site! (1)

Akaihiryuu (786040) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135406)

Firefox flashblock extension. Enough said.

Reason #147 to not use a Flash plugin... (1)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 9 years ago | (#12135414)

I mean, it's bad enough that some webmasters tie their menu functionality to the proprietary Flash protocol, making their sites almost impossible to navigate from certain platforms (regardless of browser) due to a lack of current plugins.

Now Flash being used to track people against their wishes.

What next? Flash-based worms?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?