This quote from Spyware Heats Up the Debate Over Cookies in the NY Times, about increases in the number of cookies users are deleting, is fantastic:
It isn’t necessarily just corporate America that is threatened by the anticookie fervor, [Lorraine Ross, vice president for sales at USAToday.com] said – the deleters stand to suffer, too. For example, cookies help a computer limit how many times a user sees annoying ads like a floating, animated message. Such “frequency caps,” to use industry parlance, are common among publishers. “So cookies are a really good thing for managing the user’s experience,” she said.
Take our cookies so we can annoy you less often. Nice try!
There’s such a disconnect between the view Ms. Ross represents and the reality of user perception of ads and cookies. The old joke, “I know I’m wasting half of my ad budget — I just don’t know which half,” is getting put to the test by better response measurement tools provided by the Internet. Ms. Ross, the people who are going through the painful user interface experience of figuring out how to delete cookies? They’re seeing the wasted half.