Jupiter Defends Cookie Deletion Report

Thread Title:
Thoughts about our report on browser cookies: Part I
Thread Description:

On Monday we talked about Jupiter Media's contraversial cookie deletion report that's primary statement was that up to 39% of users may be deleting cookies monthly.

Since then, it's been widely debated, with Seth Godin providing perhaps the strongest criticism saying:

"Let's do a reality check here. This is the same population that can't get rid of pop ups, repeatedly falls for phishing of their Paypal and eBay accounts, still uses Internet Explorer, buys stuff from spammers, doesn't know what RSS is and sends me notes every day that say, "what's a blog?"

Jupiters Eric Peterson clearly feels an explanation is in order and has started the first part of a series of posts defending the surveys findings.

He argues a good case, if you were a lawyer defending the indefensible, but the fact remains, that Eric's post only talks about how consumers feel the danger out there, and how security is on their minds (with no data to back this up other than the report itself). He makes references and comparisons to home security systems and spyware commercials but fails to fully justify his findings. The actual survey had a meager 2,337 participants, and i wonder just how representitive they really are?

One thing i think telling about this post is this:

It does not take a computer science degree to delete cookies. All it takes is concern, motivation and a few focused minutes. Hell, anyone who clicks "Tools > Internet Options" in Internet Explorer is presented a button that explicitly says "Delete Cookies". Firefox users click "Tools > Options > Privacy" and see a "Clear" button next for cookies. Distracted or not, these actions are easy to take and in consumers minds, appropriate to protect themselves online.

Actually Eric, many of the joe average folks i know, if not all of them, do not know what a cookie is, they do not know how to adjust their font size let alone mess with the security settings of their browser...

We'll give Eric the benefit of the doubt as this is only the first in a series, but man, he'd better be pulling something better than that out of the hat next time....


I can add to this

I have repeatedly taught clients over the years such basic things like the ctrl c / ctrl v "trick" (as a client recently called it), reset their home pages to a SE after some spyware changed it, turned off autocomplete, adjusted monitor resolutions, and shown people how to adjust their font size.

I don't think I'd believe even that 3.9% delete their cookies - heck I only delete the cookies that Ad-Adware suggests I to me when I do a scan every 4-6 weeks or so - otherwise I will have to make new logins for all the newspaper sites that I made up a year ago, then promptly forgot.

probably right IMO

note the report doesn't say deleting all cookies -

The report found that as many as 39% of online users may be deleting cookies from their primary computer monthly

I don't know what they intend that to mean but I think they're probably right in what they actually say - most people won't manually delete cookies but more and more people are now running anti-spyware programmes which will delete some for them, at least monthly. 39% doesn't seem OTT in that context.

You always need a list of the questions they actually asked when you see surveys like this :)

The mysterious case of the disappearing cookies

I'd chalk it up to anti-spyware, harsher security settings for the browsers, and the limit of cookies a browser stores (300?) after which (the older ones?) get deleted. And the occasional savvy user, of course. And the occasional porn-paranoid user, of course.

Some companies delete cookies daily...

...so that after a hard day's surfing (eh... work) working people's cookies are deleted automatically.

That could account for those not using spyware blockers and not being savvy enough to manually block/kill (toss?) their cookies.

If you look at the number of

If you look at the number of "personal security" software packages that are sold of various kinds and what they do (often deleting all cookie every time they run - weekly, dayly or monthly) I am not so sure the numbers are wrong. At least, I am sure, more and more people do get their cookies deleted more often now than ever before - and itøs getting worse. Not that the users may know about it but the "security" program they got does it.

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