Cookies are tiny text files that can be placed on your computer or mobile device that uniquely (but anonymously) identify your browser or device. They are unable to search your computer in any way, cannot introduce viruses to your computer and contain no personal identifying information about you (basically they are nothing to be afraid of).
Cookies are used by sites or services when they want to know if your computer or device has visited that site or service before. These cookies on your computer or device can then be used to help remember your preferences (such as language), help you navigate between pages efficiently, and generally improve your browsing experience.
Cookies can also be used for online advertising – by aggregating the very basic information cookies gather, informed guesses can be made about your demographic and ads targeted to you thusly. Or more simply – if you go to a site about watches, it may drop a cookie on your computer, so the next sites you go to will then contain ads about watches.
There are generally four categories of cookies: “Strictly Necessary,” “Performance,” “Functionality,” and “Targeting.”
Here is some information about each cookie category:
Strictly Necessary Cookies. These cookies are essential, as they enable you to move around the website and use its features. For example – the cookie to say you have/have not allowed cookies to be used on this site.
Performance Cookies. These cookies collect information about how you have used our website, for example Google Analytics, which is used to track basic user behavior on this site so we can try and improve our users experience.
Targeting Cookies. Our advertising partners or other third party partners may use these types of cookies to deliver advertising that is relevant to your interests. These cookies can remember that your device has visited a site or service, and may also be able to track your device’s browsing activity on other sites or services other than the website you are visiting. This information may be shared with organizations outside that of the website you are visiting, such as advertisers and/or advertising networks to deliver the advertising, and to help measure the effectiveness of an advertising campaign, or other business partners for the purpose of providing aggregate Service usage statistics and aggregate Service testing.
Functionality Cookies. These cookies allow sites/services to remember how you’re logged in, when you logged in or out, and possibly anything you’ve done on a site while logged in. The information these cookies collect may be anonymous, and they are not used to track your browsing activity on other sites or services.
The amount of time a cookie stays on your device is variable: the majority of cookies expire after the end of your browsing session– others persist for longer. In online advertising you can generally expect most advertising cookies to last about one month at most (although again it varies).
First-party cookies are cookies that belong to the website, third-party cookies are cookies that another party places on your device through our site. Third-party cookies may be placed on your device by someone providing a service for Serengeo, for example to help us understand how our service is being used. Third-party cookies may also be placed on your device by our business partners so that they can use them to advertise products and services to you elsewhere on the Internet.
Most web browsers allow some control of most cookies through the browser settings. To find out more about cookies, including how to see what cookies have been set and how to manage and delete them, visit www.aboutcookies.org or www.allaboutcookies.org.
There is also type of cookie called a “Flash Cookie” which is not covered by the above – to delete these go here: http://www.adobe.com/support/documentation/en/flashplayer/help/settings_manager07.html.