In keeping with this week’s privacy posts, I thought I’d bring back our old friend who may be sticking around for a bit longer… or will he?

Good-bye, My Friend!

Hey, it’s me, TPC (Third Party Cookie), the neighbor down the block’s kid, here.  I’m not sure what went wrong…not sure how things got so crazy.  So, I may not be as good or trustworthy as your kid, FPC.  But I didn’t start out bad.

I was just a simple text file.  Just a little text, with a name, a value and an expiration date. 

All I wanted to do was to welcome you back when you came to my site.

‘I just wanted you to know that I recognized that you were here before and say ‘Welcome back’!

But then I realized I could make you feel more welcome.  Perhaps you signed up for a newsletter, picked your language or topic preference.

‘Welcome back, Joy’ – ‘Bienvenido, Joy’ – ‘Here’s today’s news, Joy’

I realized I could carry bigger things, more information about you. I think that is where I started to get into trouble.

‘Tell me a little more about you, Joy….’

‘Of course, what do you want to know.’

But then, I realized, by talking with my friends I could follow you around on the internet. It didn’t seem creepy to me at the time.  I just wanted to make sure that I kept in touch with you….that when I talked to you, I was saying things you were interested in.

And then I realized my friends were taking advantage of my relationship with you.  They took what I knew about you and would give it, er, sell it to unsavory folks.  And all of a sudden I was not just providing you with interesting, relevant content when you visited me.  My friends were exploiting what you had confided in me.  

Ads were popping up and following you around the internet.  Sites you hadn’t visted before knew things about you.  Ads for things you may have considered interesting or maybe things you had even already bought were relentlessly following you.

I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean for it to happen.  But you know, I am on my way out.  I hope that while I was around, before things got carried away, I provided you with a bit of a better experience, a bit more relevance.

I’ll miss you!

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