Wednesday, 02 January, 2002

faqs.org and Amazon Honor System

I've mentioned faqs.org before (see April 14, 2001) as the best place to find Internet RFCs, standards documents, FAQs, and other types of documentation.  I noticed today that the site is in danger of being taken down because they've lost their funding.  Whoever was paying the bandwidth charges has apparently pulled the plug, so the faqs.org folks are asking for contributions.  Things are tough all over, I guess.

I'll make a contribution, simply because faqs.org is one of the most useful free sites around.  Although the information contained there is available in other places, faqs.org is the most comprehensive and best organized that I've found.  I sure hope they make it.

What threw me for a loop, though, was that when I went to the site there was a banner that said "Hi Jim, support FAQS.org today!".  It's an amazon.com "honor system" banner, complete with alink that describes how my personal information got displayed on that web page, and assuring me that no personal information was transmitted to the people at faqs.org.  Yes, you caught me.  I order enough books from Amazon that I'm set up for one-click ordering.

This is the first time I've noticed web tracking software in operation, even though I've known about it for quite some time.  I'm not worried about Amazon keeping tabs on me and reporting my Web surfing habits to others, but I sometimes wonder if there are others out there keeping track and not telling me about it.  And if there are, what's it mean to me?  Food for thought.  Maybe it's time to turn off the cookies.