“Zombie Cookies” Dead Once And For All?

One of the things I love about the online world is how a whole host of words now exist that had absolutely no meaning 10 years ago. “Flash drive”, “Google”, and “tweet” are all now part of everyday use. And if I had more time, I’m sure I could list dozens more. And so that brings us to “zombie cookies.” No, they are not a Halloween treat. They are tracking cookies created by a company called Quantcast which remain on a user’s browser even after the cookie is otherwise deleted. They can’t die – hence they are “zombies.” Quantcast had a developed a pretty impressive client list who used the zombie cookies, including ESPN, HULU and MTV. And how does one eliminate a zombie? I know a wooden stake takes care of a vampire and water gets the Wicked Witch of the West. But apparently it takes a class action lawyer to kill a zombie. As part of a class action settlement just recently announced, Quantcast will take steps to disable the cookies, and will give more than $1 million to fund privacy groups chosen by the plaintiffs. On the down side, the class members, who include basically anyone who uses the Internet, will not receive any cash. On the upside, the lawyers will take home 25% of the settlement. Apparently there is money to be made killing zombies.