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Executive Report - By Thomas Baekdal - March 2021

Let's talk about Google's 'cookie-less' future and why it's bad

There are plenty of people who have been writing and talking about Google's plans to end third-party cookies. In fact, they are just following a very long-term trend, one that first started with ad blockers, then other browsers like Firefox and Safari.

The writing on the wall is clear. The cookie is dead. We are out of cookies, and they are not coming back.

But what Google is planning to do is bad. I like the concept of it, but, as a media analyst, and a citizen, I absolutely hate every part of how it is put together.

So, let's talk about this, and what we need to do as publishers. Mind you, I'm not going to talk about the specifics of what Google is doing. Instead, I'm going to talk about the concept of it and how that reflects on publishers.

First of all, let's zoom way out and talk about the overall concept of things. To do this, I want to talk about "trust". What is trust?

Well, trust is when, if you tell someone something in confidence, you know they'll keep it between you, unless you agree to allow others to hear about it.

To give you a simple example. If you go to a physical store, you expect that this store will keep whatever you looked at and bought between you. In fact, you would be quite angry if this store started running around telling everyone else in your local community what you bought. Doing so would be disrespectful, and you would probably never buy anything from that store ever again.

This is how the world used to work. Before the internet, whenever you did something, this level of trust was standard and implied for any type of interaction we had.

Just think about this. How would you feel if physical shops started telling everyone else what you bought, when and how? This would not be acceptable.

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Baekdal is a magazine for media professionals, focusing on media analysis, trends, patterns, strategy, journalistic focus, and newsroom optimization. Since 2010, it has helped publishers in more than 40 countries, including big and small publishers like Condé Nast, Bonnier, Schibsted, NRC, and others, as well as companies like Google and Microsoft.

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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


—   thoughts   —


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A guide to using editorial analytics to define your newsroom


What do I mean when I talk about privacy and tracking?


Let's talk about Google's 'cookie-less' future and why it's bad


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Should media be tax exempt?