Ad groups blasting Apple for Safari cookie blocking tech “sabotage”

Ad Week:

The biggest advertising organizations say Apple will “sabotage” the current economic model of the internet with plans to integrate cookie-blocking technology into the new version of Safari.


Six trade groups—the Interactive Advertising Bureau, American Advertising Federation, the Association of National Advertisers, the 4A’s and two others—say they’re “deeply concerned” with Apple’s plans to release a version of the internet browser that overrides and replaces user cookie preferences with a set of Apple-controlled standards. The feature, which is called “Intelligent Tracking Prevention,” limits how advertisers and websites can track users across the internet by putting in place a 24-hour limit on ad retargeting.

From the perspective of the folks whose living depends on ad sales, I do understand this anger. But.

From the perspective of the user, the ability not to be tracked is absolutely fair. I do not want to be tracked. Period. Don’t try to sell me on the supposed benefits of tracking my behavior. To me, it smacks of snake oil.

When I see an ad for something I momentarily glanced at on Amazon appearing again and again as a browser ad, I don’t see that as a benefit. Instead, I see it as psychological manipulation. You are not showing me that ad repeatedly to help me. Instead, you simply want the money that ad brings in.

My ultimate reaction to this article is a sense of appreciation for Apple. While they certainly are not perfect, again and again I get the feeling that they have my back in this relationship. More than anything else, that sense keeps me on board the ecosystem.

  • JimCracky

    Too bad. Quit tracking me like I’m a spy. If you had any conviction, you would show ads that don’t insult my intelligence or make me feel like I’m being pursued by some sort of voyeur.

    I firmly believe in using all anti-tracking software as much as possible.

  • Caleb Hightower

    Advertising and capitalism go hand in hand. One cannot exist without the other.

    However, most ad lackeys aren’t worthy of being in the biz because they have no interest in what they sell and don’t care how it impacts the people and communities they target. They just want their easy money and will become very belligerent when that livelihood is threatened. I have zero sympathy for these parasites.

    There are those few ad firms that strive to make a true connection to the customer, and are worthy and welcome to sell me all day long.

    When advertising works, it seems effortless and delightful. And when it doesn’t its offensive, abrasive, disruptive, etc. I would lose no sleep if the majority of advertisers suddenly ran out of business because their invasive methods are no longer effective on Safari. That’s highly unlikely to happen, but the ball’s now in their court to devise an even more invasive method to track and sell targeted advertising to you. They are not to be trusted. Whatever comes next will be much more intrusive than anything we’ve seen before.

  • rick gregory

    I block things. I don’t like the retargeting as a consumer either (“retargeting” is the marketing term for showing you an ad based on something you looked at or interacted with).


    1) people use retargeting because it works. Yes, they want the revenue. They like money. Most companies do. (Before hitting Reply in outrage… be VERY sure your paycheck doesn’t at all, even indirectly, depend on marketing. I doubt you’ll come to this conclusion, esp Dave who presumably gets paid something for posting here and… [looks at ad on the right…]).

    2) Given that people mostly will not pay for content aside from major outlets like the NYTimes etc… what’s your solution to making money so people can continue to work?

    People will note, in relation to #2, that there’s no shortage of content… because we’re still in early days really and publishers are trying various things to see what works. That won’t last. It’s not a problem, mostly, for smaller operations like The Loop or Daringfireball – they don’t need to generate that much revenue to make sense. Large publishers like the NYT likewise can probably generate revenue based on their reputation, quality and breadth. The midrange people though? They’re at risk… and you’ll not that many of those sites don’t last.

    Publishers aren’t the only ones at risk, though. What about midrange advertisers?

    Again, if you don’t want ads and don’t want to pay for content and increasingly exist on the web (so that advertisers can increasingly only reach you there)… what’s your solution, reader?

    • Mo

      You’re not allowing for opt-in, I see.

      • rick gregory

        People generally don’t opt-in, though. Tech savvy people do on sites like this, but most people block entirely. Again, on sites like this or other small ones you can get people to do that. On mid-sized sites…

        The real problem with advertising is that the inventory is effectively infinite so CPMs decrease. To counter this, people stuff more crap on their page. Which makes us (me too) want to block them more because who wants 43 things on a page that mostly just slow you down? No one.

        • Mo

          The real problem with advertising is allowing its advocates unfettered access to private information. Steamroller algorithms mean they have no incentive to find better alternatives.

  • Kiwi

    This great news Apple keep up the great work. I hope you all lose yours jobs at the Six trade groups—the Interactive Advertising Bureau, American Advertising Federation, the Association of National Advertisers,