Chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, sugar, peanut butter, gingerbread, white chocolate macadamia nut, Nilla Wafers and Oreos. Everyone loves cookies – except the ones on your PC, smartphone or tablet.

These computer cookies are inherently harmless. Cookies are text files that help display the full range of features offered by most contemporary websites. These features include hassle-free automatic logins and authentication, shopping carts, third party ad serving, ad management, preference setting, language setting, among many others.

Most websites plant cookies and deal with user information on a purely opt-out basis. By default, websites are free to load their cookies onto your computer. Fans of the opt-out cookie model claim it provides a smooth Web experience and you receive content targeted to your interests.  Critics say that the increasing abilities of third-party ad tracking cookies which follow users from one network site to another are becoming too intrusive and you have a right to privacy.

Firefox joined Safari this year by patching its Mozilla browser to automatically allow cookies from sites users actively visit but block those from third-party sites that haven’t been visited by the user.

Cookie-based advertising is effective but considering these browser changes, the recent NSA scandal, legislative and privacy advocate group pressure, typically only 30-40% of all cookies are valid for advertisers anyway.  That leaves 60-70% of available inventory on the table.

Solution?  Switch them from cookie-based advertising to IP Zone targeting.

IP Zone targeting is an audience identification platform that maps nearly 100% of online traffic into qualified, target-ready audiences, while protecting user privacy. The platform maintains the highest standards of online privacy and complies with “Do Not Track”.  There is no application or usage of cookies or tracking pixels.  There is no communication, linkage, or access to personally identifiable information – making IP Audience Zones 100% privacy-friendly.

This approach uses “Audience Zones,” with 16 million+ target-ready zones (average of 3-10 households per cluster). So really, since cookies only are reaching 30% of the desired audience, marketers will likely achieve 3 times the coverage of any cookie dependent alternative.

Here’s some more food for thought… a cookie for thought, perhaps? Another unique use of IP Zone targeting is paired alongside social media channels. With the right technology, targeted prospects that see an IP Zone targeted ad can actually be given the opportunity to share the offer/promotion with friends and family members by posting it on their preferred social media site or by emailing the offer directly to their personal contacts.  This technology is especially appealing when paired with the proven effectiveness of direct mail. Prospects are typically provided a special incentive for sharing the offer.  Friends and family members will also receive an additional benefit by sharing the offer through their preferred social media channels.

While there are many difficulties trusting computer-based cookies at least we can trust the snack-based ones. Or can we???

This week CNN reported that a high school math teacher in upstate New York tasked his students to find out just how much “stuf” is in each type of Oreo — original, Double and Mega Stuf.  “The results: shocking, if you can say such a thing about a cookie revelation. Double Stuf? Not really. Try 1.86 times the stuf of a regular Oreo. Mega Stuf? Try again. How about 2.68 times the stuf. “

I guess I will have to eat 2.68 times as many.

Rick Berman is SourceLink’s Director of Business Development. Rick has over 20 years of experience selling direct marketing strategy, CRM/data modeling and analytics and marketing automation solutions.  Rick enjoys running , skiing and reading but not at the same time. Rick denies it but it’s a fact that he learns about the latest technology from his teenage daughter and son. You can reach Rick via email at