What are cookies?
Cookies are small text files that get put on your computer by websites when you visit them. They’re widely used in order to make websites work, or work more efficiently, as well as to provide information to the owners of the site.
The law requires that from 27th May 2011, websites must make viewers aware of the presence of cookies on their website, in order to give viewers a choice about whether want to continue or not. Does this mean that cookies are bad? Not at all, far from it, cookies are used to give viewers a much enhanced viewing experience whilst allowing the website owners to track certain aspects of how many people have looked at the site.
We use them to find out things like the number of visitors to various sections of our site, the time spent in each section and where people left the site, among other things. The data is collected anonymously and we only use it for site performance analysis and to let us make decision about how to improve the site over time.
We collect this data in a way which doesn’t identify anyone and we also don’t make any attempt to find out the identities of those visiting our website either. We also won’t associate any data gathered from the site with any personally identifying information from any source. Its unlikely we’ll want to collect personal information via the site but if we ever do want to, we’ll be up front about it and ask you as well as explaining what we’re going to do with it. There are two types of cookies, first and third party. The only first party one we use is:
Like just about everyone else, we use a service provided by Google called Analytics. They gather anonymous data of how people are using this site and then provide us with visitor statistics, details of page views etc. If you absolutely against this, you can opt-out of being tracked by Google Analytics altogether here. We’d obviously prefer if you didn’t as this information is really useful to us in being able to give you a better viewing experience but if you’re dead against it, you can do so.
The specific cookies used by Google Analytics are:
_utma – used to identify how many unique visitors the website has had.
_utmb – used to start a user session. Along with _utmc, tell us how long a user has been on our site.
_utmc – used to end a user session.
_utmz – Lets us know where a user came from e.g. From a search engine or from a link to our site from another.
There are hundreds of third party plug-ins available for websites these days and these are all used to give you a much more interactive and enjoyable viewing experience. These can be anything from Twitter and Facebook buttons to software that powers the blog. Unfortunately, most of these come with cookies but that’s the price of ‘free’ these days. These third party widgets are setting cookies as you surf this site and we have to hold our hands up, we don’t know exactly what they do with the information but we’re pretty confident that all they do is collect anonymous data as well, unless you’re logged into their service directly.
In many cases, these widgets are also using Google Analytics too so if you opt-out of Google Analyatics, as already mentioned, you’ll also be opting out of these cookies too.
In addition, privacy settings in most modern browsers allow you to blanket-block all third-party tracking cookies but its worth noting that depending on the third-party policies, the service/s they are providing might stop working.
While we’d love to be able to offer you the choice of a cookie-free version of our site, we’re a small company and simply don’t have the resources to provide and maintain one so unfortunately if you are really anti-cookie then there is no option except to not use our site. You’ll know this if you’ve hit the ‘deny’ button.
You can remove any cookies we have already put on your machine within your browser settings – pressing Ctrl+Shift+Delete may work in many cases.
We will be sorry to see you go though.