DoubleClick one of the 10 Worst Corporations of 2000.
January 4, 2001 12:52 PM   Subscribe

DoubleClick one of the 10 Worst Corporations of 2000. I'm no Doubleclick fan, but are they really in the same league with a Firestone, or even a Glaxo?
posted by Doug (19 comments total)
When companies do things like Glaxo is reportedly doing, i wish i knew some terrorists that could do me a favor.

What they are doing is seriously sad.
posted by Zool at 1:44 PM on January 4, 2001

I could never quite figure what all the hype is about cookies. Has anyone been harmed or had their privacy truly been invaded by use of a cookie "planted" on their computer? It's bizarre to me that electronic files are considered on the level of deaths of innocent people.
posted by milnak at 1:56 PM on January 4, 2001

milnak, there was an IE bug a few months back that could expose cookie data from one site to another if the nefarious site knew how to fool IE via the URL.

I don't remember all the details, but basically it left usernames and passwords and other data stored in cookies (most often some kind of user identifier) open for the picking.

There's also a reasonably strong belief by some that the remote machine should do absolutely nothing to the local machine without telling the user exactly what's being done. Many sites didn't explain what data was being stored on your machine and that irked a number of people.
posted by cCranium at 2:32 PM on January 4, 2001

Doubleclick assign cookies through their advertisements to profile you over mulitple sites. I'd consider this a lack of privacy.

If millions of people were being followed while shopping i'm sure there'd be an equal outrage.
posted by holloway at 2:41 PM on January 4, 2001

Man, if the biggest things you've got to worry about are cookies, you're livin' a smooth life. However, as a service to the paranoid, you always have the option to set your browser to disallow them. This will make almost every site you visit display an error message, and turn your browsing into a nightmare. But you will be cookie free.

posted by Optamystic at 2:46 PM on January 4, 2001

You can also periodically delete them, thereby confusing the overall cookie-gathering databases a little.

I've always considered the outrage misplaced. It's in the realm, as I see it, of annoyances.
posted by dhartung at 3:18 PM on January 4, 2001

I barely even classify it as an annoyance, but I'm sure the things that irritate me others shrug off as meaningless, so hey, such is life.
posted by cCranium at 3:47 PM on January 4, 2001

This is a pretty good read about the thousands who are being followed as they shop...
posted by owillis at 4:03 PM on January 4, 2001

there are several tracking businesses like doubleclick.

my favorite way to fight them is to just go in and *change* the number from time to time. I figure this gives them bad data, which is worse than no data.

I'd love a list of all the places that are doing this and a cookie management tool (I believe they exist) so that I could go in and do mass messing at will.

posted by rebeccablood at 4:58 PM on January 4, 2001

If millions of people were being followed while shopping i'm sure there'd be an equal outrage

Oh please - like millions of Americans are going to turn in their credit cards because the companies are aggregating the information. Wake up and smell the Database Nation. Privacy and convenience don't mix. You want one, you have to give up the other.

What we need are clear rules about what companies can and can't do with our personal information - not paranoid fantasies that we can some how keep that information private in the first place.
posted by willnot at 6:52 PM on January 4, 2001

If millions of people were being followed while shopping i'm sure there'd be an equal outrage.

umm... you think this doesn't happen? hahaha. aren't you aware that anyone under 20 is considered a shoplifting suspect and is followed around (or at least watched closely) in most stores?
posted by dagnyscott at 7:13 PM on January 4, 2001

Point well taken, Dagnyscott.

And ooooo, let's not forget what a little brown skin can do for some folks' retail and consumer experiences.
posted by allaboutgeorge at 8:10 PM on January 4, 2001

I'd love a list of all the places that are doing this and a cookie management tool

I know Microsoft offers a beta of their IE Advanced Security Privacy, but I haven't used it myself. Has anyone tried it out?
posted by Aaaugh! at 8:40 PM on January 4, 2001

Argh... OK, let me explain myself.

Most of the fears about cookies aren't based in reality. They don't contact any site... in the middle of the night... and send details.

They do store information and there have been a few shoddy browsers to leak the cookies to the wrong servers (like credit card numbers). As someone up there said, this is the price you pay for conveniance though at the expense of privacy.

However the use of cookies is not to save time or be conveniant. Doubleclick cookies (and most advertising cookies) are not conveniant to anyone's use. I just don't like my web-browsing habits being tracked.

Yes, Cookies are a little thing. If it's all you had to worry about your life would be very lovely (and strange). But because there are worse things to worry about in life doesn't mean that it's not worth doing something about. It would be trivial to think up a worse example no matter what the complaint.

Cookies are an unnessary waste of bandwidth at the very least. is a filtering proxy for any browser. It has two text files for what to block ( and what cookies to allow ( Or you can download any number lists others have pre-made. I prefer junkbuster to as its list works through many browsers and i'm use the blocklist on Windows and Linux.
posted by holloway at 9:15 PM on January 4, 2001

Argh.. missed out a word

.... the use of all cookies is not to save time and be conveniant.

posted by holloway at 9:16 PM on January 4, 2001

Junkbuster is a pain to use and it slows you down. But if you're willing to spend a bit of money, Norton Personal Firewall is an outstanding product, with many virtues.

Among its virtues is the ability to block individual web addresses (ad blocking) including the use of partial patterns (e.g. "block any address containing '/ad/'") and the ability to control cookies, javascript, java and ActiveX on a per-site basis. But it does far more than that.

It used to be called "AtGuard" and was sold by a different company. Symantec bought the rights about a year ago, and they have improved it since then. It's exceedingly flexible.

It can stop popups. That alone is worth the price.

It's also a very good firewall and excellent protection against trojans. Until recently it didn't work on Win2K, but the new version does. It's always worked on Win 95 and Win 98. What it does is hook the TCP/IP stack and monitor traffic up and down. (The latter is extremely important for security.) It's also completely transparent to all programs, so it doesn't just work with the browser; it works with everything that wants to use TCP/IP. So, for instance, I'm using it to make RealPlayer not display advertising. (Everytime RealPlayer tries to access the ad server, it gets told it's unreachable. What a shame.)

I've been using it since it was "AtGuard" and I can't recommend it highly enough. Unlike the Junkbuster program, which is unintuitive, not very powerful, and a royal pain to use and only works with a properly set up browser, NPF is convenient and very comprehensive and works with everything. Well worth the money. (I have no financial interest in Symantec; I'm just an exceedingly happy user.)

posted by Steven Den Beste at 10:00 PM on January 4, 2001

holloway, I completely agree with you in regards to data aggregation cookies, I'm just far too lazy to bother doing anything about it right now. :-)

I like Rebecca's idea of changing the cookie data though. That's just damn clever.
posted by cCranium at 5:32 AM on January 5, 2001

also, proxomitron will let you easily fake cookies out (!) if you like sending fake data.
posted by sonofsamiam at 7:11 AM on January 5, 2001

Hm... It probably wouldn't be too hard to fake requests to doubleclick, spoofing your ip so they can't tell. If you worked at it, you might be able to introduce enough fake data into their database to show an undeniable connection between, say, satanism and buying intel processors...

It's fun to look through your cookies. I take pride in the fact that I don't have a doubleclick cookie. (I use a home-grown blocker-ish thingy...) However, I'm curious as to how the cookie got there... No really, I have no idea! ... hmph.
posted by whatnotever at 8:44 AM on January 5, 2001

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