Cookies that are stored on your computer are commonly referred to as a tracking cookie. The purpose is to assist various internet websites and publishers to achieve various tracking needs. It can be used to assist people in using websites and their inherent functions.
Cookies can enhance your experience. If you choose to disable their use in your browser altogether, you may find some websites will either not allow you access, or may diminish your viewing abilities. Cookies help enhance user experience on many websites. They also track your movements.
The cookies that have been stored on your computer can be found in the browser directory. Among the list of their uses are the ability to store your site preferences. For example if you visit a website and get a ‘popup’ and choose to close it, the “cookie” is dropped to your browser so it remembers not to open the popup again while you are on the site. These cookies can be programmed for timing as well. It may set a date on your browser to not open the popup for another day, or 10 days, or whatever the setting is. Thus ensuring you get a ‘popup’ only once in so many visits.
Login Credential Cookies
Another very common use is for when you store access or login information for a website. When your browser asks you if you want to store the information and you say “yes”, you are accepting cookies from that site.
When you visit a website the cookies are created by automatically sending information to your browser that is then converted to a text file. Each time you return to that site your browser will retrieve the previously stored information (the cookie) and function accordingly. Cookies are used to authenticate the user. When you need to login to a secure website it will store information that will be unique to you and your computer.
Session cookies store your page activity. For example; if you are taking an online course, your cookies will be able to indicate to you which pages you have read and which ones you have not.
Cookies are also useful in other areas like ‘shopping carts’ so you can store things you may be interested in and come back and buy them after you have had a chance to look around. You may have noticed that even after you leave a store and return, the items are still in your checkout cart.
Other cookies are ‘persistent’ and used for sites that allow self-selected modifications (like colour and layout) to the site to match your personal preferences.
The cookies used for tracking by affiliate companies will track a click (what web-page) and if the person buys. If there is a purchase or a conversion resulting in compensation, you are tagged with the commission. These cookies usually have a “life” meaning they will time-out after the programmed amount of time. For example Amazon cookies are good for only 24 hours whereas Bluehost affiliate cookies are good for 30 days. These cookies can also be first in or last in, meaning if your prospect is tagged with your cookie first, a first-in cookie will ensure you get the commission regardless of how many other peoples links they click. A last-in is where they need to have clicked on your cookied link immediately prior to purchase to be credited with the sale.
It is important to understand that cookies are not a virus. A virus is a piece of code that is executed. Some viruses will download and store on your computer and self-execute at a later date, even multiplying itself so it can spread throughout other networks. A cookie is just a plain text file and has no ability to do any ‘executing’ at all. However