Amazon has disabled Google’s contentious cookieless tracking and targeting technology.
According to website code analyzed by Digiday and three technology experts who assisted Digiday in reviewing the code, most of Amazon’s properties, including Amazon.com, WholeFoods.com, and Zappos.com, are preventing Google’s tracking system FLoC ( Federated Learning of Cohorts) from gathering valuable data that show the products people research in Amazon’s vast e-commerce domain.
Amazon, however, has refused to comment on this story.
Because Google’s system collects data about people’s web activities to inform how it classifies them, Amazon’s indiscernible action is a major blow to Google’s plan to guide the future of digitalized ad tracking after the collapse of cookies.
Amazon’s this move could also give it an advantage in inflating its own efforts to sell advertising across the open web.
Amanda Martin, the Vice-President of enterprise partnerships at Goodway Group, said-
“This move is in direct correlation with Google’s attempt to provide an alternative to the third-party cookie.”
Martin also referred to Amazon’s decision to block FLoC on most of its sites as just another example of the chess moves that Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon are making as data privacy demands push the demolition of the cornerstone of data tracking throughout the internet: the third-party cookie.
Last week, Digiday saw as Amazon updated code to its digital assets to prevent FLoC from monitoring visitors using Google’s Chrome browser, with the assistance of three technologists.
Up until 10th June, WholeFoods.com and Woot.com did not include any code to bar FLoC, but since that day, the sits added a code telling Google’s system not to include activities of their visitors to inform cohorts or assign IDs.
However, there is one limitation with FLoC blocking on Whole Foods pages. While the other Amazon-owned domains described here that block FLoC use Google’s suggested technique of sending a response header from HTML pages, Whole Foods uses an opt-out header from Amazon analytics queries.
One of the technologists said that the distinction is significant because Amazon’s approach for most sites employs the technique recommended by Google, which is 100% effective. So, according to the technologist, the approach used to block FLoC on Whole Foods Pages could be an intentional move by Amazon.
At this point, we can ask – why exactly is Amazon blocking FLoC?
Here are some reasons –
- To Protect Its Own Intellectual Property
Amazon may be wanting to block FLoC to preserve its data that shows people’s behavior in the products they research, review, and buy online. Amazon is celebrating its Prime Days today, i.e., the 21st and on the 22nd of June and it expects its site to be filled with shoppers.
This is why this seems like the ideal time to mark boundaries and prevent Google from accessing its valuable data. Amazon is just looking out for the best strategies to protects its shopper data from Google and ad tech firms alike.
- For Competitive Reasons
Amazon aspires to capture a larger share of the ad capital that Google controls by selling digital advertisements outside of Amazon sites. As Amazon’s demand-side platform business grows, the company intends to release an identifier for monitoring and analyzing advertisements sold through the DSP and by publishers via Amazon’s publisher services division.
An Amazon-focused agency executive, during a conversation with Digiday, said-
“ Why give Google an inch?”
FLoC is meant to safeguard people’s privacy, according to Google, because it utilizes machine learning to categorize them based on the web pages they have visited rather than tracking them individually. The technology is now in its initial stages and it collects data on which websites, content, and items users are interested in.
By blocking FLoC, Amazon will not be able to grasp the clues that FLoc IDs provide that give companies access to people’s behavior online.
- Neha Shah
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