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Amazon Launches Online Ad Partnership as Google Eliminates Tracking Cookies

Targeted ads, retail ads

Amazon has teamed with British publishing giant Reach to obtain targeted customer ad data.

The partnership, the subject of a Monday (Feb. 5) report by the Financial Times (FT), is happening as the media world is trying to deal with Google’s decision to eliminate tracking “cookies” from its browser.

Amazon and Reach’s agreement is one of the first of its kind in Europe, and is aimed at making up for the loss of cookies that help collect information about users by tracking their activity on websites to help target advertising. Financial terms for the arrangement were not disclosed.

Google said recently that it had begun removing cookies on its Chrome browser, following a similar move by Apple to block them on its Safari browser. The goal is to have all third-party cookies removed by the end of the year.

However, as Amazon and Reach were announcing their partnership, the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) voiced concerns that could potentially delay Google’s phase-out of third-party cookies. 

The CMA’s latest report on Google’s Privacy Sandbox noted that the tech giant has complied with commitments but spotlights several unresolved issues that need addressing before the removal of third-party cookies from Chrome.

The CMA has outlined a series of requests for Google ahead of the third-party cookie elimination, though the regulator said this does not mean Google can’t proceed with its changes.

James Rosewell, co-founder of Movement for an Open Web, characterized the report as a “major slap on the wrist for Google,”  

“Underneath the diplomatic language lie at least 39 areas of significant regulatory concern that Google will need to address before third-party cookies can be removed,” he added.

In the meantime, Amazon and Reach are working together on sharing “contextual” first-party data. For example, the partnership would allow advertisers to know what articles people are looking at, with the U.S. tech giant using the information to sell more targeted advertising on the British publisher’s sites. 

The two companies said the deal comes “as the advertising world tackles deprecation of third-party cookies, a long-anticipated industry milestone that Google kick-started in early January.”