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Netscape’s Communicator third party cookie option foiled

Last month we explained some of the new features Netscape’s Communicator offers to reject cookies, in particular was the option to only accept cookies that are returned to the domain which you are currently logged onto. This option is very useful for blocking out cookies from third party advertising servers. But, some of the marketing companies have taken the first step to foil this option. Some companies now use the same domain for advertising as the site you’re visiting. Until a few days ago, all requests for some advertising banners came from marketing companies third party servers, so communicator’s third party option denied cookies from these domains.

Now some sites have setup forwarding domains, so the domain of the profiling cookie is now coming from the primary site you’re logged onto, rather than a third party server, thus the cookies are now accepted. One of the first companies to adopt this service is Global Track, suppliers of targeting advertising for many sites, an example being Dejanews. At the Dejanews site, you are normally set a cookie that is allocated with a unique ID number, this is then used for user profiling. This cookie was previously set from a third party domain called It is now set from a Dejanews domain called, which makes it a primary domain because it contains The Dejanews web site; is now able to set cookies from this primary domain, making Communicators new option useless. The primary domains for Dejanews and each of the sites who have the Global Track service enabled, must revert to a Global Track original server. Otherwise the most powerful use of cookies and third party servers would be lost, this is the ability to collect information from a wide group of Web sites. One option that stands no chance of being avoided, is Communicator’s option to ‘deny all cookies’.

The marketing companies still maintain that profiling isn’t an invasion of privacy, because the users remain anonymous. But it would be nice to know whats going on instead of fooling our browsers.

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