Dave Thorpe
Head of Business Growth

What Are Cookies?

Cookies.

Dictionary definition of a Cookie

ˈkʊki/

noun

plural noun: cookies

  1. a sweet biscuit.
  2. Informal –a person of a specified kind. “she’s a tough cookie”

 

Oxford has not caught up about what “Cookies” is used to define yet but let me help you.

 

Cookies are text files which you can read using any notebook or word based program. They contain two pieces of information: a site name and unique user ID.

 

When you visit a site that uses cookies for the first time, a cookie is downloaded onto your PC. The next time you visit that site, your PC checks to see if it has a cookie that is relevant (that is, one containing the site name) and sends the information contained in that cookie back to the site.

The site then ’knows’ that you have been there before, and in some cases, tailors what pops up on screen to take account of that fact. This can mean your browsing experience better and more suited to your needs.

The good:

Cookies can do various things and some do more than others. From recording pages visited to things you’ve added to your “basket” it can record different levels of your activity to be recalled the next time to visit. Not everyone uses them to their full advantage but they can often to be used to streamline your browsing experience and help you out.

The bad:

Some people do not like the idea of stored information as it can also be used to show you exclusive deals (direct selling) or mean you can be added to marketing lists. They do not gather anything personal but many people still feel as if it is a little invasive and are against it which is for each person to decide themselves.

Law:

When cookies began to appear people believed (as they still may) that it was intrusive and their own computer was being used without their knowledge to gather information on them.

Most websites use cookies in someway and most people do not notice their presence. However since 2012 by law the user is informed about the use of cookies and can opt out of their use. This is ignored by the majority who do not mind/care about them being used.

To reassure you these details have always been shared during your browsing time you just were not informed so it doesn’t mean anything has changed and our advice is do not worry about them. They are almost always used to help your browsing experience and the use of cookies is regulated so you have nothing to fear.