AT&T Drops Perma-Cookies After Internet Backlash

Reports came out earlier last week, confirming that Verizon Wireless were actively adding perma-cookies. AT&T were also looking into adding perma-cookies to its own mobile phones, in the next year.

However – after the report hit the Web – the Internet unsurprisingly went against AT&T for the plans. It looks like the Internet annoyance was enough for AT&T to remove any plans to add perma-cookies.

For those unaware, perma-cookies sit and monitor all web traffic from a user’s device, and use this to display relevant ads. Similar to Google in approach, Verizon Wireless and AT&T looked to layer ads on top of Google’s own advertisements, or potentially replace them.

Google’s ads have become commonplace on the Internet. The search engine is the largest by far, YouTube is the largest video service and Gmail offers text ads, alongside Google’s other popular services.

However, adding another layer of advertisements has not gone well in the past. Free VPNs are an obvious example, where most who offer ads in the browser get panned by users.

Verizon Wireless has not mentioned if they will stop working on perma-cookies. This might mean Verizon is preparing to take on Google in the ad business, although we are pretty sure neither Safari or Chrome will allow third party overlay ads.

This means Verizon either needs to get confirmation from Google – which we doubt will happen – or force Google’s hand. They did block Google Wallet from being used on their service, enforcing users to use SoftCard instead.

Perma-cookies are bad for business when it comes to the end user experience. Having all your data collected by another organization is bad enough, but having two times the ads on a mobile browser is just overkill.

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