Never take cookies from a stranger...Or Twitter
The title might be misleading here, it implies that Twitter have done something wrong when actually you just have to remember that they are a business and need to make money. The way they do it is different of course, their business model is the wrong way, it’s free to you and I but they make money back by some of the best, most targeted advertising there is.
I thought it would be worth just taking a minute to broadly explain how their technology works, that way, if people are aware they can make the choice between being targeted or not.
Firstly I have to say I love twitter and even more so I love the way they are implementing their new ‘advertising technologies’ they have done a really good job, are clear and honest and give you every opportunity to opt out.
Essentially what happens is this – When you join twitter it installs a small file in your web browser (a cookie), when you visit pages that have an embedded twitter button on them this data is recorded in the cookie and then delivered back to twitter, in turn twitter will suggest people for you to follow.
So, let’s say you’re looking for a new laptop and visit Dell & HP, next time you go to the twitter interface it might suggest you follow Lenovo or even Microsoft. It’s important to remember that there is no mention that twitter is suggesting paid for advertisers at this stage but in my opinion this is a precursor to test their fantastic advertising power. The cookie only remembers stuff from the last 10 days (I guess they are thinking you would have bought the laptop by then)
It’s worth mentioning that the Firefox and the next version of internet explorer will have ‘do not track’ buttons that prevent people learning your browsing habits, for now you can turn off these third party cooking using this setting in Internet Explorer.