Apple’s new Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) has got a lot of people talking. And usually when I say that, it’s around the idea that all press is good press. But in this case, there are some advertising trade groups that aren’t so happy with ITP. Intelligent Tracking Prevention was actually introduced back in June during Apple’s World Wide Developer conference and can be found in Safari 11. It uses machine learning algorithms to identify tracking behaviour on the company’s Safari browser and imposes a strict 24-hour time limit on those tracking tools’ lifespans. Apple is saying that it’s not about blocking ads necessarily, but protecting your privacy.
These advertising agencies are made because they fear the decision would decimate their business, at a time when Facebook and Google consume more than 90% of every new ad dollar spent on the web. That’s incredible, isn’t it? Back to the issue. Because of this, users often stay logged into those company’s services all day long. And visit at least once a day, if not more. Which means, Apple’s 24 hour ad tracking prevention measures will be ineffective for those two companies. But it will most certainly harm smaller companies that manage cookies in the background of thousands of websites.
According to Apple, ad tracking technology has become so pervasive that it’s possible for ad tracking companies to recreate the majority of a person’s web browsing history. Which is kind of scary if you ask me. Like someone is watching my every move? But what Apple is doing is talking about the distinction between first party and third party cookies, with ITP targeting third party cookies. Which is information that is collected without your permission, and then is used for ads to target you. And that, my friends is how ads follow you around on the internet. For example, I ordered contacts online in early August, and I’m still getting advertisements for contact companies. Or to buy glasses. 6 weeks later! So I can kind of see why Apple is doing this.
I usually like to play devil’s advocate with these posts. If you hadn’t noticed? I like to look at more than one side of the story and attempt to make an argument on their behalf. (Except when it has to do with Trump) But in this case, I’m not even really sure that I can. They are making the argument that “blocking cookies in this manner will drive a wedge between brands and their customers, and it will drive a wedge between brands and their customers,and it will make advertising more generic and less timely and useful. Sounds like advertisers are lazy and they don’t want to do their jobs? I mean, what did you do before the internet existed? Or before cookies existed?
Advertisers are saying that users should have a choice of whether or not they get tracked across websites, through browser cookie preferences. Which is definitely an argument to make. But that’s not what they’re doing right now. It’s being done without your permission. And like with most things, I am pro-choice. So while Apple may have an incredible solution to stop this, I would also support the option to turn it on or off. I guess I wonder if anyone would actually turn it on? Which means, the advertisers argument is moot, isn’t it? In all honesty, I’m not sure how Apple can lose this one. After all, they are running on the platform that they are protecting user privacy. Which, regardless, makes them look good.