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So, we all know what Cookies are; small baked confections that make for a great desert and are perfect for sharing. They’re a party staple and can be enjoyed year-round. The variety of recipes are almost limitless, so there is a cookie for almost every kid, big and small, around the world!

But to us Marketers, they are little packets of code that hitch a ride on browsers and broadcast how shady people are. The “3rd party” variety allow marketers to serve ads for products on pages viewed earlier and/or based on our interests as gleaned from browsing history. But why not call them Cupcakes… or Scones? No one will ever know.

You may have noticed those infuriating, incomprehensible consent pop-ups about ‘allowing cookies’ as of late. They usually contain on/off switches for various types of cookies; for example, “Necessary Cookies”, “Highly Recommended Cookies” and “Non-Essential Cookies”.

Strictly Necessary Cookies are those such as chocolate Chip, Peanut butter, Oatmeal raison and Chocolate chocolate-chip.  These are the simple straight forward classics.

Highly Recommended Cookies break out into two subcategories… Functional Cookies and Performance Cookies. Some people need cookies to function, and research has shown that cookies can have a similar effect on the brain as drugs, ruining any progress that is made dieting. Performance cookies are typically wholesome protein treats which help provide fuel to power through the day.

Non-Essential Cookies are cookies with little to no taste that are high in caloric content.

Unfortunately, all we can do is laugh when it comes to consent pop-ups. What’s even more hilarious is that each Cookie setting has a hyper link for “more information” or requires the user to flip a lever from Active to Inactive. Some cookies, however, are always active and to really find out how your data is being used, you must click “more information” directing you to reams of boilerplate legal doctrines which conclude with something like this:

“To exercise your rights, you may contact us via phone at 888-217-9999 or by completing our webform, available here (yet another rabbit hole – for God’s sake – do NOT click “here”!). Requesters will need to provide us with personal information to verify their identity and residency, including name, email, and state of residence.” Handing over PII to keep it safe !? Gee thanks – all I wanted was a cookie recipe, but now I need to search “Law Degree” instead.

Or you can do what most people do, and instead of rotting into a Skelton as you ponder your next entry, bypass all this extra reading and interference by clicking “Allow All” (cookies that is), and move on with being completely exposed on the web. It’s like running naked out of a burning building… you gonna stop to get dressed?

The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) which promulgated the plague of consent pop-ups, prohibits the processing of personal data unless it is kept secure. But according to the Irish Council for Civil Liberties is largely a useless regulation that goes unenforced because there is zero security in the RTB process — which makes consent pop-ups the cruel joke that they are.

But Alas! Googles new Privacy Sandbox promises API’s that will provide anonymous browsing and behavioral targeting capabilities. Instead of Cookies though, we now have Birds. The initial proposal in the Privacy Sandbox was something called the Federated Learning of Cohorts, or FLoC, (as in Flock of Seagulls) but was shot down because its code lacked sufficient privacy protections (aka: it afforded no privacy). The new technology, hence, is ….


TURTLEDOVE – Two Uncorrelated Requests, Then Locally-Executed Decision On Victory

SPARROW – Secure Private Advertising Remotely Run On Webserver (which provides improvements to TURTLEDOVES retargeting methods by running auctions off the browser)


PARROT – The Publisher Auction Responsibility Retention Revision of Turtledove (which affords the publisher the option to run the ad auction).

If this sounds like overcomplicate nonsense that will yield more obfuscation, deception, and confusion, you’re not alone. Marketers are returning to tried and true strategies like Contextual marketing, which involves inserting relevant ads into a piece of content. For example, placing a dog food ad in the middle of a video about dog care tips. What a novel Idea!