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article imageOp-Ed: Everybody gets Google phasing out cookies but the ad industry

By Paul Wallis     Jan 20, 2020 in Technology
New York - Waal… They-thar Googles be a-getting rid of them cookies on Chrome. Maybe that dagnab ornery wheel will be invented, and fire, and everything. We’s gotta get back to the chicken coop and come up with ‘nother scam…
Excuse the idealism. Phasing out cookies is a bit like phasing out the dung cart. Cookies attract the wrong sort of consumer heat, for the wrong reasons. It’s highly debatable how effective they are, but listen to the howls from the sector.
Google’s decision to phase out cookies has received a very mixed reaction. Anyone would think cookies actually are the infallible high-tech advertising tools advertisers claim they are. Only idiots believe their own hype, so it’s sort of self-explanatory. Cookies are anything but infallible, and it’s not hard to prove that point.
Tracking cookies, the big offenders in the eyes of consumers, are the best proof. I was quite literally born in an advertising agency, so I’m perhaps a little less impressed than most, and I have some experience in this area. I did some work on John Deere tractor services, and found myself followed around for months by John Deere ads. I can tell you it’s an emotionally fraught experience to find a John Deere ad on the front page of The New York Times. Had NYT finally decided to go back to a pastoral existence? How many spuds can you grow in the op-ed columns? I was worried for a while there.
At one stage, and I’m sure this wasn’t easy, I had some cookie trying to sell me my own books. Might have been the same cookie, actually, because the ads dutifully appeared on the front page of The New York Times, like the tractors.
What’s wrong with cookies? Guess.
The bottom line here is that these cookies are dumb. Dumb, dumb, dumb. They’re the ones that antagonize consumers the most, too. The most basic rule of advertising is “Never create a negative image for the product”, and that’s all these cookies can do, given their nature. I learned that rule at about age 4, and we have whole agencies still not under sedation ignoring it.
Even dumber Is the theory that advertisers (you remember them; the people trying to sell things with ads) can’t audit the effectiveness of cookies and pull the plug on the ads. Of course they can, and they do. One of the advertising sector’s gigantic self-delusions (there are so many) is that this garbage actually delivers sales. That’s not just dumb, it’s delusional, and we all know how well delusions work.
Online advertising is an inexact science hiding behind a lot of numbers. The problem is that those numbers usually can’t survive a second’s scrutiny. Good ads do sell. A bit of software following irritated consumers around, getting them paranoid about tracking and not delivering sales is almost the exact antithesis of basic advertising, let along good advertising.
Naughty Google….
Ironically, one of the criticisms is that Google might drive advertisers to their advertising services, It fascinates me that Google is seen as a public service whenever the issue of advertising is raised. Like it’s the post office, or some charity specifically dedicated to keeping bozos churning out crappy ads. You’ll note that Google’s efforts regarding privacy aren’t getting much of a mention, apparently because it’s a big issue for consumers.
The bleating is noisy, and rarely mentions that issue except for a few words. Google seems to be shifting emphasis to the basic tenet of better options with added privacy, in fact, although some don't agree. That’s not easy, given they’re geared to the current dynamics of advertising, but it’s not impossible, either, and it’s basically good even-handed idea. Anti-cookie stuff has been online for decades, too, and that doesn’t get much of a mention, either.
This horror of horrors equates to Google putting people in a position where they may have to do some work. That’s about it. “Got an ad? We can get it online for you, and we just happen to have the longest reach of anyone on Earth. We can even do the analyses you’re too lazy or too stupid to do for yourselves.”
Oh, sob, sob. The injustice of it all!
Listen, cretins, given that the damn cookies are often own goals, and represent a forgettable range of actual selling assets for agencies:
• The only real issue anyone has ever had with Google is their rates. Those could be better, but meh…
• SEO and SEM, the nuts and bolts of online sales, are not dependent on those cookies. Realistically, you’d be better focusing on search values on the world’s top search engine.
• You have nothing to lose but a dated, shoddy, often absurd, online tracking tool that nobody’s too enthusiastic about anyway.
• Exactly how much money do you want to throw at cookies, anyway? How much of that would you say is thrown away?
Google’s making the right move. A bit of added privacy for online users will be appreciated. The ad sector may even benefit from looking a bit less ridiculous and inept. If you’re in an agency selling ads, you don’t even need to blink. If your agency is any good, this issue isn’t an issue. Simple enough?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Chrome ends cookiess, Privacy and cookies, Online advertising, dumb tracking cookies
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