Doubleclick unleashes forces of darkness

Cookies are the devil's imps

WinXP IE6 spells death for Doubleclick - and a boost for MSN?
IE6 will not monster our cookies, says Doubleclick

Mention the word Doubleclick, and you're likely to arouse some strong feelings. Brian Uecker is typical of the large number of readers who wrote in this week on this subject:

It just keeps getting better.

First Lettice's multi-part series of special pleading for Doubleclick, which culminated today in an embarrassingly weepy apologia for the marketing company/Internet parasite. He even uses the phrase "paid their debt to society", thereby absolving them of criticism (apparently) while he sets off on a clueless, uninformed, and obviously prejudiced rant against MS for doing something he only THINKS it might be doing. And his views on Microsoft pushing stronger privacy are nicely twisted so that no matter what the company does, it's just EVIL. (There's no point complaining to Lettice about this as he now claims that he killfiles anyone who writes in with criticism of his articles - nice.)

Now this article, which starts out as something of a reversal then goes on to say how bloody unfair it is that Doubleclick has to answer for its invasive tactics in a court of law.

You say the depth of hatred towards Doubleclick "astonishes" you - this from a rag that trashes Microsoft every chance it gets and unfailingly refuses to issue retractions when it gets things wrong. Come off it. You may be in bed with Doubleclick, but your readership isn't. Maybe it's time to ask yourself if you are really looking at the matter objectively. That depth of hatred didn't come from nowhere, and not everyone's memory operates on Internet time. Gee, it was only last year they tried to take over the world, well that was a long time ago, wasn't it?

Also, your final statement is disingenuous in the extreme. Most people don't mind accepting cookies that come from the same domain. It's the third party ones that this is about, remember? I know these articles take a long time to write, but please try not to lose the plot between the first and last paragraphs.

Brian, the fact that this letter has been printed is proof that we do not bin criticism. John Lettice certainly does not 'killfile' such attacks. He gets his secretary to do it for him usually.

But we digress. Jason Bassford is unhappy about the 'Big Brother' aspect to this saga:

Re: "If you want to avoid signing in each time, or want some degree of personalisation, you will have to accept a cookie on your PC. Is that really so difficult?"

Yes. (Well, not technically, but morally.)

I refuse to have any of my activities monitored for whatever reason, under the guise that it's for my own good. It's not. It's for the good of the advertising companies who want to make money. Maybe capitalism's the right idea, but I'm not going to take part in somebody else's scheme. (Unless, say, they want to kick back a certain small percentage of their profits into my pockets. Maybe then I'd be willing to put up with their tracking my personal habits.)

I don't use IE because I don't buy into Microsoft telling me how and where I should browse - I just don't like Big Brother.

I have my browser prompt me if I want to accept a cookie from each new site I visit. I always say no, and tell it to remember. I'm not accepting any cookies from anyone. The only exception is some search engine sites where I've wanted to set preferences (then turned cookies off again once I already had the one I wanted), and sites where I do online shopping and have to have them in order to add items into my virtual basket. (Although I normally delete all cookies after such transactions.)

And if signing in is the only alternative to cookies, I'd be more than happy to turn to that method.

Frank Romano, on the other hand, reckons that there is a simple solution to the whole issue:

Love your piece on Doubleclick and it's problems. I agree, if you don't want the cookies then don't accept them. If you can't view the sight because you didn't accept the cookie them stop your whining. Just delete your temp-internet files every couple of days. If you want to ensure that you're not being tagged install "Ad-aware". At least you can get rid of spy ware you're not aware is there. Have a great day :-)

Thanks, we will. Finally, we have Adrian Stere with some sound advice for Doubleclick haters everywhere:

Nice piece on Doubleclick. I'm glad to see them get what anyone who violates other people's privacy deserves. But, despite the tone of the previous sentence, I don't hate them. In fact, I don't really care much about their tracking business, since I block all doubleclick traffic at the firewall and browse with cookies off. And I would suggest to all
Doubleclick haters to do the same, instead of filling up your mailbag with pointless hate mail. :-)

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