Mozilla's controversial decision to automatically block all third-party cookies on its new version of Firefox — inciting outrage within the advertising world — is getting a little more drawn out and a little more dramatic.
The company just announced that it is postponing the feature for approximately six weeks.
(Cookies are the bits of tracking code that web sites and advertisers use to target users with ads.)
A recent update to Mozilla's blog, right under the section titled "Third-party cookies are blocked by default" (just like Apple Safari), reads:
This change has been postponed to collect and analyze data on the effect of blocking some third-party cookies. In the Beta and Release channels, the default preference will be kept to allow third-party cookies.
A spokesperson explained to AdExchanger, "We are ensuring proper measurement of its actual effects and will hold it in the Aurora testing build for at least one more six-week release cycle to allow for that."
While advertisers might rejoice at six more weeks of tracking, they shouldn't get their hopes up that Mozilla will change its mind during this postponement about its decision to block cookies by default as opposed to allow users to opt-in to blocking.
Even Jonathan Mayer, who designed the feature and says he could really care less if it hurts advertisers, is for the postponement. AdExchanger noted that Mayer explained on a Firefox discussion board that he would like to take the extra time "to improve our understanding of false positives (i.e. trusted third parties) and false negatives (e.g. untrusted first parties that are grandfathered in or that the user is temporarily redirected through).”
Although it seems likely that the online advertising world will attempt to convince Mozilla to alter its plans in the meantime. On April 29, the Digital Advertising Alliance made its case for keeping Do Not Track tech off by default, making it the consumer's choice rather than the browser's.
Mayer quickly dismissed the organization's argument (see tweet below), making compromise seem unlikely.