1 EAGLETON NOTES: Big Brother and Cookies

.

.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Big Brother and Cookies

IF YOU READ THIS PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU READ MARK'S COMMENTS

Okay so we all know that if we have cookies enabled on our computers (if we use certain websites, including internet banking with some banks, then they cannot be used properly if cookies are not enabled)  then everything that we do on certain websites is logged and our history of use with the website can be used by the website's owner.  Amazon use cookies all the time to send a daily suggestion email which, oddly, yesterday reminded me about something I looked at a very long time ago and did nothing about (and still haven't).  However Lands End have obviously got a new marketing team in place at least for the UK.  Their marketing has been changed quite markedly but the least subtle change manifested itself a few minutes ago when I received an email:
On your recent visit to our website we noticed that you didn’t make a purchase...& we’d like to tempt you to try!

It only takes a minute...
We know you lead a busy life - but your latest purchase is only a click away. Our friendly advisors are on hand to offer technical help with every aspect of the website or simply a little style advice should you need it.

We’re here if you need us:
Call us on: 0844 700 70 70
Or e-mail us at:customercontact@landsend.co.uk

Or if you‘ve got it covered, simply carry on shopping!
This morning I had received the usual daily sales email from the company and found the item it was pushing quite interesting.  I have no need of one but went to find out a bit more about it.  I didn't buy it.

17 comments:

  1. Hmm... I have an Amazon account, too, but I do not get a daily (or any other -ly) email from them with suggestions of what I could buy next. And the Land's End one is really rather pushy. Of course, I don't doubt that there are people out there who would probably buy if they had, say, more information about a certain product or didn't find the technical aspects of the online shopping process tiresome. But to everyone else, usually if they don't buy, it means either a) that they don't like/need/want it or b) that they don't have the money to buy it. So, trying to push them can only have a negative effect, I suppose.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Certainly, as you will gather from the post, I wasn't over-impressed by Lands End from a personal point of view although I appreciate their attempts to survive in the modern world. I can quite happily bin the email.

      Delete
    2. I don't get a daily Amazon email either, maybe you signed up for it? But when I log in there are suggestions based on what I already bought. Which I don't really mind.

      Delete
    3. I think perhaps I was a little premature in the comment above... (See my blog today.) ;)

      Delete
  2. I doubt either the Amazon or Lands End mailings are related to cookies. I would assume that if you are logged in (i.e. the only way they could tie your viewing to your e-mail address) then the tracking is done server side and not via the cookies. Cookies are useful for keeping you signed in between pages (i.e. they help maintain state because by default the internet is stateless). The problem though is that third party cookies can track you from one website to another and hence bombard you with relevant adverts based on a wider view of your browsing habits than could be gleaned from a single website.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Mark. I've put a note at the top of the post. I obviously misunderstood the import of cookies.

      Delete
    2. ...as in the somewhat strange stuff googlemail comes up with sometimes for adverts in the line above the inbox. I'm afraid I am a bit lax in blocking such things going on, I am too lazy to go through the hassle of activating all sorts of things again when I go to different websites and can't look at half of the stuff because of my security settings.

      Delete
    3. Well I guess the cookies are partially responsible for the tracking as they are used to help the website maintain the fact that you are logged in, and hence will allow them to tie page views to your account, but the cookie itself is unlikely to record your page views. The main problem with cookies aren't related to tracking you when you have already logged in but rather tracking you across multiple sites where you might not be logged in.

      If you want the full details then I'd suggest the Wikipedia page on cookies, it's very informative even if you skip the technical details and just focus on the sections on what cookies can be used for.

      Delete
    4. Thanks Mark. I have been getting Amazon emails for years and years (living on an Island I use them for just about everything I can't buy here). I don't mind them. I have a delete button! I've never signed up for Lands Ends (clothes) emails but I buy from them so they send emails and sometimes they are about sales and deals so that's ok. I could stop the Lands End ones but again I have a delete button (I've never looked to see if I can stop Amazon). It was really the whole new approach I was talking about. I also though (apparently at least in part erroneously) that it was a cookies issue.

      Delete
  3. I don't know what Lands End sell, but I think with most 'serious' companies there is usually somewhere you can tick a box whether you want emails/offers from them or not? If you've said yes to emails, you probably have no control of the way they choose to express themselves though ;) (I do agree that email feels a bit pushy!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Monica I replied to your comment in the last response - I just put it in the wrong place.

      Delete
  4. Well their statement they know you lead s busy life does make it sound like they've been following you around with a candid camera!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sometimes feels like that Monica.

      Delete
  5. I find that to be very pushy marketing from Lands End.
    I do receive emails from Amazon maybe about two weeks after I make a purchase, subtly coaxing me to buy what "others who bought your recently purchased items, also bought these....."
    I couldn't care less what others bought, although sometimes it can be educational, because I am then made` aware of all the other kinds of products out there.
    What I have found too, is that after checking my emails using an overseas server during my recent trip, I have started to receive a flood of US emails in my inbox....they are not even going into my spam folder....drat and double drat

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes Virginia we are being followed!

      Delete
  6. I'll definitely check out the Wiki page on cookies! Thank you!
    I, too, don't receive Amazon emails, although I buy from them.
    Interesting post, GB!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fascinating Lisa that you don't receive follow-ups. One can opt out but I have never done so and it wouldn't stop hem tracking me only stop them emailing me.

      Delete