Microsoft plan irks e-marketers

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Microsoft Corp., Redmond, Wash., announced it would test a patch to it Internet Explorer software that would by default set off an alarm whenever consumers receive a cookie from third-party ad servers. Reaction came swiftly, with third-party ad servers and advertisers expressing concern that the patch could endanger the economic underpinning of the Web. They are saying that while they welcome Microsoft's recognition of the importance of privacy issues, they worry that any wide implementation of the solution could significantly affect both the ability of advertisers to target consumers and to measure the reach and frequency of Web ads. The Network Advertising Initiative, the coalition of third-party ad servers, warned about 'overbroad'' solutions that "undermine the Internet business model that allows Web sites to stay free. Netscape already offers similar functionality in its browser but by default allows cookies.

Copyright July 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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