Bad news for affiliates: 39% of net users delete cookies monthly

Cookies have always been a somewhat controversial tracking components in the eyes of web users, but today i came across this new JupiterResearch study, that presents Very Bad News to affiliate marketers:

Study: Cookies in security crosshairs (CNET News.com)

Key findings: Nearly 58% of Web users delete tracking cookies, and 39% clear their cookies on a monthly basis.

Since affiliate tracking relies on cookies for accurate tracking (no matter how much certain affiliate networks spin the facts in their sales pitch to discount the importance of cookies), this means that as much as half of affiliate sales commissions may be down the drain as consumers delete browser cookies. The issue is quite complex, but the trend definitely impacts affiliates negatively, and again highlights why adware and spyware companies are twofold enemies of legitimate affiliates (i.e. those who provide value-added shopping advice or tools with legitimate and ethical marketing practices).
1. They overwrite legitimate affiliate cookies with their own ones (search google for the term “parasiteware”).
2. With their invasive and often illegal marketing tactics they are responsible for the consumer backlash against all cookies, whether they were placed on the user’s computer with a legitimate purpose, even specific consumer consent, or not.

Also see a blog entry by David Schatsky (of JupiterResearch as well) on why you should trust these numbers (Seth Godin was sceptical, and David defends the study).

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