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Third-Party Cookies on Firefox or Not? Today’s Answer

Tech & Gadgets

A change in Firefox’s cookie policy continues to reverberate around the Internet. A few months ago, Mozilla announced that Firefox 22 would ship with the default set to not accept third-party cookies, only first-party ones. Mozilla announced at least a temporary delay and will launch Firefox 22 later this month without this change, but the debate continues on whether or not Mozilla will eventually go through with its plans and, if it does, what the ramifications will be. Both the ANA and the IAB have criticized Mozilla for its initial plan to block cookies, arguing that the disruption would “disenfranchise every single Internet user,” and that consumers would not see fewer ads, only fewer relevant ads.

Ignoring the attacks from the ad industry, Mozilla initially said it would go ahead with its plan and would watch to see how severe the backlash was. Mozilla’s privacy blog says Firefox 22 is a response to frequently expressed user concerns about web tracking and that the company is “constantly challenging” itself to deliver a browser that conforms to user expectations while facilitating online innovation. In the original configuration, Firefox 22 users would have the ability to disable the cookie-blocking feature, but it is tucked away under the “Privacy” section so it’s not likely many would search for it.

Even if Mozilla decides to enable the cookie-blocking feature eventually, we don’t think it is cause for panic, but it’s certainly something to keep an eye on. There are options to pursue including pixel-free modifications, cookie-free user authentication from device fingerprinting vendors, and media/data companies that can universally authenticate users without using cookies.

Firefox represents around 20 percent of the browser market, so it’s not a matter of display advertising campaigns completely tanking as a result of this change if it is ultimately brought to market. But 20 percent is not tiny, so we could see an impact on remarketing metrics. And unlike Safari (which does not allow third-party cookies but plays only in the Mac and mobile arenas), Firefox is a full desktop browser, so it would affect many campaigns.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s not time to make any dramatic moves. Instead, we’ll be waiting for further developments and keeping an eye on details about Mozilla’s next move.

If you have questions about how the proposed Firefox release might affect your campaign, send me a note at dplaugher@doublepositive.com and we’ll talk about it.

Comments on this Article: 1

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  1. Firefox gives in to the spying psycho pigs. Congrats jerks.

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