Cookies: what they are and do with your data

Deepak Gupta January 16, 2022
Updated 2022/01/16 at 6:06 AM

Let’s talk about cookies, do not mean cookies, but text information in your browser. There are several different ones with different functions, but they are all similar. Some of them aren’t good at all either, which is why it’s important to have some basic knowledge about them.

What are cookies? The basics

Cookies originally served to simplify the use of the Internet. You can imagine them as tiny snippets of data that remember a certain piece of information. This makes it possible, for example, for you to be automatically logged in to websites without entering your access data. If they didn’t exist, surfing the web would often be more uncomfortable and slower.

But like everything in life, cookies have evolved, so companies are now using them for themselves as well. They are interesting for everyone with their own website because they recognize, among other things, whether you are visiting the site for the first time or if you do so regularly. With the help of many different cookies, it is also analyzed how long you were on which page and which topics appealed to you. In this way, the company can optimize its website if necessary, but also place personalized advertising.

It is important that the cookie on a website only remembers your behavior on this one page. For example, if you shop on ASOS, it will be saved which items of clothing appeal to you. If you then want to pay with PayPal and are redirected to their website, ASOS will not receive your information about your visit there. PayPal will ask you whether you want to accept or reject them.

That is why the settings are important

Since the large amount of user data is very valuable for companies, they try everything to ensure that their cookies are accepted. They cannot be completely rejected anyway, since some of them are technically necessary.

There are three types of cookies in total. “Session management cookies” are used to ensure that the website recognizes your browser and you are automatically logged in or your shopping cart from eight weeks ago is still there. So-called “personalization cookies” remember the settings you have stored on the website, such as your dress size.

However, you should be careful of the third type, the “tracking cookies”. If you keep seeing a particular advert, it’s their fault, as they’re often from external providers. This allows them to track and analyze you and your entire user behavior on all pages. Even if you come across buttons from Facebook or other social media platforms and click on them, tracking cookies are usually behind them.

Conclusion: Reject and block third-party cookies

In fact, you can block third-party cookies in the settings of your browser, for example Chrome. You should also take the time to decline cookies to protect your privacy. If you have an Android phone, you should primarily protect yourself from Google. If you’re wondering who has access to your data, take a look at Google Drive.

Sources: So Many Tabs, Online Marketing Practice

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