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When the Cookies Crumble: Firefox to Disable Third-Party Ads in April
By: Brian Perry
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Big news shook the advertising world over the weekend with the announcement that Firefox will be disabling third-party advertising cookies in an upcoming patch slated for an April rollout. Firefox users have been able to manually turn off cookies, but this new patch will allow for it to be set as a default. This should put ad agencies that spend dollars in the digital arena on alert. Agencies most likely have already planned their 2013 digital plans, and with this bombshell they will have to reevaluate.

Currently, advertisers use data compiled from online users to get a sense of where they should target their ads. Agencies will take the data and compile it, and based off the data, plan a strategic ad placement. Now, with this patch being a default ad blocker, advertisers will need to look at alternate ways to target their online messages. This also means that agencies' digital strategies will need to be re-evaluated, which could lead to a decrease in dollars spent.

As one can imagine, this news has the ad industry up in arms. At this point it is unclear what the response form the ad community will be. With this news hitting over the weekend, it will be some time before impact is seen. However, Mike Zaneis, senior vice president and general counsel for the Interactive Advertising Bureau, tweeted over the weekend that “this default setting would be a nuclear first strike against ad industry."

A look at a market share report from netmarketshare.com shows that the current market share of Internet browsers ranks the following way: Internet Explore ranks first with computer users, followed by Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. This means the second-leading Internet browser is now going to cut ties with a revenue stream to help keep their customers' privacy just that: private. It should be pointed out that Safari already has this type of practice in place and has had it for some time. As of right now, no other Internet browser has a default third-party blocker. However, with Firefox now adding in a default patch, will other browsers follow? If they do this, will it cause a major shift in advertisers' digital plans? In essence this Firefox patch could be a sign of things to come.

Please note that the information used in this article was compiled from Cnet.com, PCworld.com, and Adage.com.

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About the Author
Brian Perry is an accomplished communications professional with expertise in all aspects of successful marketing, advertising, public relations, promotions, and social media. Brian's outside interests consist of Hockey, Lacrosse, Insanity (basically any type of sport), books, and family time. Find him on LinkedIn and Twitter
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