What does that mean?
There are networks of companies who create cookies on your machine and use these to track your behaviour across multiple websites.
And in English?
You will see ad based content on one site based on your activity on another and you won’t even know it happened.
Who invented it?
Netscape invented cookies to allow state to be maintained between HTTP transactions. However Microsoft filed for a patent in 2000 which was granted in 2006. So it’s been around for many years. It’s typically used to authenticate or identify a registered user of a website without requiring them to sign in again, provide a personalised view of the site or track pages visited and use this data for marketing purposes ( that is refereed to as cookie sniffing)
What does it mean for my business (what are the marketing implications)?
It’s very likely you’re already using the technology, but are likely not part of a network of companies who share the gathered information. But, be careful as storing cookies on a users machine opens privacy issues. So speak with you IT team/tracking vendor to get more information before going for world domination through a proliferation of cookies.
What do I need to do about it?
I you want to opt out of tracking cookies from some of the larger players follow the little advertised link (surprise, surprise) http://www.networkadvertising.org/managing/opt_out.asp
How or where do I find out more?
Speak to an expert or get talking to the players on the list found in the above link.
Is it a paradigm shift or just another TLA?
Its nothing new cookies where invented partly for marketing purposes. But, lets face it cookie sniffing and trading sounds better.