WHAT IS A COOKIE?
Updated: Dec 27, 2019
Cookies are small documents with information. These documents get saved on your computer after visiting websites.
Information these cookies contain can be what kind of links on the website you’ve clicked on, what language you prefer to read the website in, or what items you put in your shopping cart if it’s a web-shop.
With these cookies saved on your computer, websites can access these files the next time you enter the website, and the items you put in your shopping cart is saved. It can remember the language you chose, and so on. What’s getting saved in these cookies are chosen by the website owners, and each cookie document is only relevant to that one specific website. Each website has its own cookie document. Analyzing these documents can be very useful, since you get a lot of information about your visitors.
More and more information is being saved into cookies these days, as businesses have understood the importance of user information. In the “old days of cookies”, only a small amount of data was gathered. Today, websites are saving so much information about its users, that they actually exceed the cookie space limit. They now have to save the cookie information as small codes, that can be identified in their own systems. This makes it possible to gather almost unlimited quantities of information, as the cookie is more like an identifier than a information-document.
Since a cookie-document only can be read by the website it came from, you would think that limits the capabilities of cookies. That’s actually not the case, since website that runs adds, are connected to other websites, which again have its own cookie-document. This is called “third-party-cookies” and can be very effective when advertising. If I’ve searched on green sweatpants on google, and visited clothing shops online and searched for green sweatpants, I may get an advertisement for green sweatpants when I’m entering an online newspaper. The online newspaper itself doesn’t know this information about me, but the websites I’ve left my “green sweatpants traces” do. Since this newspaper are running an ad, they are connected to this other website that knows my information, and can provide the relevant ad for me, even if I’m not on that website anymore.