More About Cookies What is a cookie? A cookie is usually a small file containing some text, deposited on your computer while visiting a website. The purpose is to store information that can be accessed either while you are visiting, or the next time you visit, to identify that you are still browsing the site, or have visited before. The objective is to help the site deliver content to you, through knowing where you have already been and what you have already seen, and in some circumstances to record your preferences. The main aim (perfectly legitimate in the vast majority of cases throughout the Internet) is to improve your experience when visiting the site. Certain cookies, e.g. "Session" cookies, are essential when undertaking certain actions e.g. browsing and adding items to an online shopping basket. These are also the means by which the site knows you are logged-in as you move around the site. They should be automatically deleted when you close your browser. "Persistent" cookies are designed to be available for the next time you visit. Options as to whether cookies are to be accepted or whether cookies already accepted should be deleted are usually available within your internet browser settings. Cookies used by the BFHG Website While you are visiting the website, if you used your browser's facility for seeing what cookies are being used, you will see something along the following lines: Name Content Host Path Send For Expires 4620a2ce349c82e8ac1bd7...etc 4jlm2vg...etc www.badham.org / Any type of connection At end of session _ga GA1.3.153637...etc www.badham.org / Any type of connection 29/01/16 11:07 _gat 1 www.badham.org / Any type of connection 29/01/14 11:37 The first of these is the 'session' cookie that enables the site to confirm your device is still visiting the site. This is set on first arrival and by providing a unique id (hence the long reference!) tells the site 'who you are' without actually identifying you (so (more accurately, what device you're using). This is how the site knows you are the same person as you move around. Once logged-in, it also knows your device is being used by a legitimate member and can therefore serve up the member-restricted content. After logging in, an extra cookie is set: Name Content Host Path Send For Expires jbcookies yes www.badham.org / Any type of connection Fri 02 Dec 2016 14:33:20 GMT 4620a2ce349c82e8ac1bd7...etc 4jlm2vg...etc www.badham.org / Any type of connection At end of session _ga GA1.3.153637...etc www.badham.org / Any type of connection 29/01/16 11:07 _gat 1 www.badham.org / Any type of connection 29/01/14 11:37 The new (first-placed) cookie is the cookie set by the 'banner' once the “Continue” button is pressed. This then prevents the banner from appearing on other pages on the site. It does nothing more than that. More About Google Analytics Most websites that are interested in understanding their visitors and improving the 'experience' they get and services they receive use Google Analytics. And yes, let's be honest, that also helps many of them make more money! Analytics is however an invaluable tool, which is why it is used by most websites. In many senses it is no different to the shop worker who observes you while you visit their shop – what are you most interested in, what 'route' do you take around the store. This even extends to the “how far have you come today?” pleasantry at the checkout, as an IP address linked to your Internet/Broadband service provider giving your approximate/regional location can also be used. These business 'luxuries' are not inherently available to website owners, but by holding a record of pages most visited and how they are reached/navigated website owners have the next best thing. This also helps explain why Analytics uses “persistent” cookies, and in the case of the _utma cookie they persist up to two years (unless of course they are deleted by the user). Many people return to a site over a period of weeks or months (or may not return at all). The frequency of activity is very informative, especially when combined with some information about their interests, demonstrated by the content they access. Analytics also enables the website owner to set up “Campaigns” with goals and interim targets, recording activity and in the case of an online store, sales and cashflow. Of necessity, these must operate over time, and visitors who return to the site are an important aspect. Although BFHG are not interested in most of the 'commercial' features available, we are interested in the basic knowledge that can be obtained. It's important to understand that none of this activity identifies actual individuals.