Rational or not, fear is dramatically changing consumer behavior. Take a look at
these statistics from Jupiter:
Fifty-eight percent of online consumers have
installed, updated, or operated anti-spyware software over the past 12
Fifty-six percent have deleted the temporary files stored in their
Forty-nine percent have deleted their browsers'
Forty-one percent now use a firewall.
Soooo what they are saying is that consumer behavior is "dramatically" changing because almost half of consumers have (COMPLETELY NECESSARY, but we'll get to that in a minute) anti-spyware software. And their evidence of a change here is? Change requires 2 data points, the original one and the new one, and I'm only seeing one. I tried to access Jupiter's data, but this blog makes me no money, so I'm not buying it. But here is the report that it is from if anyone has a subscription and wants to send it to me.
My point is that though it is interesting that so many individuals are now deleting cookies and using firewalls etc, it does not evidence a change in behavior since we do not know how common this practice was say 6 months ago. In fact we might know, but it isn't in this article, Therefore, who ever wrote this should be smaked around a little. (Hey Business 2.0 Hire me!)
Now, to the other main point of the article, which is in my rough summation "Poor corporations can't collect data on consumers because consumers think that their innocent cookies are evil." Now this guy apparently has never had to do a full system reload because of one little malignant file downloaded from a website. Apparently the man has never been foiled in his attempt to read his e-mail by countless numbers of popups caused by allowing websites to put whatever they want onto his computer. And Apparently he has never had multiple system crashes while trying to run Microsoft word because of all of the CRAP that these companies are putting on his machine. (Nor has he had to hide his naughty surfing habits from his Mommy Girlfriend, or Boss.)
While I agree that one cookie is harmless, 500 cookies take up space. This is not a fear issue, it is self defense, I payed for that 40 g hard drive and not so I could keep track of other people's information or get them ad revenue. The statistics described above are the kinds of steps PC users have to go through in order to avoid catastrophic system failure once every three months. Fear is not the problem, other people's crap on my PC is the problem.
Dear Corporations that just want to serve their customers better, Find a new data collection method and quit putting your stuff on my computer. I don't have the disk space to keep track of YOUR data for you. Sorry, but between you and the other 50 companies that want to know everything about me I've run out of room for my porn.