SOURCE: Scout Analytics

Scout Analytics

April 14, 2010 09:01 ET

Scout Analytics™ Begins Tracking Visitor Awareness and Response to Adobe's Flash Cookies

Behavioral Analytics Company Identifies 7% of Flash Cookies Are Deleted

SEATTLE, WA--(Marketwire - April 14, 2010) -  Scout Analytics™, the leader in behavioral analytics for publishers, today released new research centered on Flash cookies, also known as Local Shared Objects (LSO), and their increasing deletion rates by users. Scout Analytics research revealed that currently seven percent of Flash cookies are deleted which is an indicator that visitors are becoming more aware of techniques to either block or delete the Flash cookies themselves. These findings come on the heels of research published by Scout Analytics in February, showing that standard HTTP cookies overstate user counts upwards of two to four times.

Similar to standard HTTP cookies, Flash cookies are data files stored by individual websites or domains on user hard disks for tracking purposes. According to a study from UC Berkley, more than half of the top websites worldwide now use Flash cookies to track and store user information. Scout Analytics is tracking over 600,000 devices globally, and is the first technology vendor to measure the block and deletion rates of Flash cookies. Scout Analytics' unique data collector, called a device signature, allows session data such as user name, network location and browser parameters to be triangulated and analyzed. Scout Analytics has been able to identify that Flash cookies-based reporting of devices also includes duplicates.

In most cases, duplicate device counting is the result of new cookies being issued after the original was deleted or blocked. At the current seven percent deletion rate, reports on Flash cookies overstate unique devices anywhere from 10-15 percent during a 30-day period and increases further based on the same device hitting a site repeatedly.

Scout Analytics is detecting a growing awareness of Flash cookies and is seeing an increase in their deletion rate. This deletion rate is up from three percent less than nine months ago. Consequently, Scout Analytics will continue tracking these statistics and provide updated results in the coming months.

"Despite the obvious privacy concerns associated with the use of Flash to reset deleted browser cookies, I more or less expected few consumers to actually be taking any action," said Eric T. Peterson, web analytics consultant and founder of Web Analytics Demystified. "Scout Analytics' finding that the rate of Flash LSO deletion has doubled in the past nine months and currently hovers around seven percent is surprising evidence that a segment of consumers are taking action to aggressively protect their identity online."

Scout Analytics also examined audience to device distribution to determine the additional reach each new Flash cookie corresponded to. Per the company's previous research on HTTP cookies, audience to device distribution on average continues to be in the range of one unique visitor to three unique devices.

"Publishers and ad networks alike have increased their use of Flash cookies exponentially, which for now provide an advantage over HTTP cookies. The question is, for how long?" said Matthew Shanahan, SVP of strategy for Scout Analytics. "Our findings indicate an early, but growing awareness of Flash cookies and how to manage them, making it only a matter of time before their error rate cannot be overlooked."

About Scout Analytics
Scout Analytics is the leader in behavioral analytics for publishers. Scout Analytics' unique SaaS offering delivers audience analytics and revenue optimization solutions for publishers with paid-content and ad-based business models. Scout Analytics is a venture-backed company headquartered in Issaquah, Washington. To learn more about Scout Analytics, visit or call 425.649.1100. Follow the Scout Analytics blog at

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    Kristina Molfino
    Kulesa Faul Inc. for Scout Analytics
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