The aim of this policy is to inform you in a transparent manner, what cookies are, how we use them, and how you can control them.
1. What are cookies?
Modern websites can be hugely complicated and versatile entities, which are often designed to enhance the user experience by reacting and adjusting their responses to each individual user.
To do this, websites need to gather and remember certain information about the user.
This is done by creating small text files called cookies, which are stored locally on your own computer or device.
These cookies can help facilitate many different aspects of a website, making your internet experience smoother and more interactive. These can include remembering log in details for comments systems, saving your preferences for often visited sites, helping you navigate a site more efficiently, saving the contents of a shopping basket and ensuring online advertising and marketing is relevant to your interests and needs.
Some cookies also collect analytical data such as location and browsing patterns which is often used by digital publishers like us, to understand how websites are being used and improve the user experience.
In conjunction with cookies, some websites may also use small transparent images called web beacons, (also known as clear gifs or tracking pixels). These beacons do not carry any identifiable personal data and collect only limited information such as the page they are on and a timestamp. They are used mostly to track the effectiveness of a campaign, by counting visitors and so on. (Similar to visible visitor counters which were common on old websites).
1a. Types of cookie.
There are two types of cookie, these are:
- Persistent cookies: These cookies remain on a users device for a set period of time and are activated whenever a user visits the website that created that cookie.
- Session cookies: These cookies are temporary, and are only capable of operation during a single browser session. When a website is closed the cookie is deleted.
Cookies can also fall into one of the following four categories:
- Strictly necessary: These are cookies which are needed for a website to operate correctly. They can include cookies which deal with site navigation, user registration and logins, and shopping basket functions. Without these cookies being active, you would lose this type of basic site functionality.
- Performance: These are the cookies which provide us with website statistics and user interaction data. They can track things such as how long you stay on our website, visitor numbers, and how you found us. We use these cookies to understand how you are interacting with our website and to improve our services.
These cookies are usually placed by third party analytics providers who we use to perform these services for us, such as Google.
- Functionality: These cookies help with your user experience. This could be performing tasks such as not showing you messages intended for first time users if you have visited a site before, remembering your chosen profile settings or providing you with personalised functions.
- Targeted advertising: These cookies help us to only show you advertising which is relevant and of interest. They also help to track the effectiveness of advertising, can provide security when clicking through to advertisers and can stop an advert being shown to you too many times. They are usually placed by third party advertising networks with our permission.
These cookies help determine the most relevant adverts to show you in two very simply ways.
The first is ‘interest based advertising’, where the websites you have visited, the articles you have read and so on, are bundled together in an attempt to understand what subjects you are interested in, as well as to infer other basic demographic information about you.
The second is called ‘re-targeting’, and enables advertising based directly on your previously visited websites. It allows companies to show you advertising for their services if you have previously visited and left their sites.
It is important to note that whilst advertising providers who collect large amounts of data, such as Google and Facebook, may link your cookie data to your accounts with them if you remain logged in whilst visiting other websites, the cookies themselves only need to remember your browser, and can work perfectly well without identifying you personally.
It is also important to know that disabling advertising cookies will not prevent adverts from being served on our website, as this is a vital part of the funding of our business. It will simply mean you are shown less relevant advertising and may be shown adverts from the same advertisers too often.
- To track site performance and understand user behaviour: This is something that hopefully improves the website and your enjoyment of it over time. We are always striving to make our content enjoyable and our website easy and entertaining to use. The data we collect from cookies performing this task enables us to understand what is working and what isn’t working on our website, and thus, make it better.
- To remember login and comments settings: The website may allow users to create user accounts or leave comments on posts. The cookies tracking this, allow you to browse the website or leave comments on different posts without having to re-login on every page.
- To present you with targeted marketing: As a company, we do not believe users should have to pay to access journalist or other content on any website including our own. We do not believe media outlets should lock away their content behind paywalls. However, like any business, websites still cost money to run. We fund our business through a variety of methods, including advertising. These cookies simply try to ensure that any advertising you see on our website is relevant and of interest to you.
Please be aware that disabling advertising cookies will not stop you seeing adverts on our website. It will just mean the adverts will be generic and of less relevance to you.
- External affiliate tracking: Our website may also contain links to products, services and websites which we believe may be of interest to you. Sometimes we will be paid should you choose to purchase a product on the websites we recommend. These cookies track your journey from us to purchase and ensure we are paid the correct amount for the recommendation. Please note that any such commercial arrangements do not influence our editorial content in any way and we strictly control which websites and products we are affiliated with.
We believe all of the cookies we use serve a legitimate purpose in either helping us to provide a high quality service to our website users, or helping us understand the needs of our users. Your experience of this website could be adversely affected should you choose to disable cookies.
3. How can you control your cookies?
You can control your cookies in multiple ways. The most common being the setting within your preferred internet browser. You can erase cookies or prevent automatic acceptance. You can also block or reject all cookies.
Information on this for each browser is contained in the links at the bottom of this policy.
You may opt out of individual performance or advertising cookies on each service provider’s website, or in your account settings for providers such as Google.
You can also use the European Interactive Digital Advertising Alliance (EDAA) consumer advice website to opt out of cookies. This site will generate a list of all cookies currently on your device. The link is at the bottom of this policy.
Don’t forget, whilst it is your right to do so, we do not recommend the deactivation or blocking of cookies. These are not executable files or sophisticated software. They are mini text based databases used to give your browser a memory. Deactivating essential cookies may result in certain website functions not working for you, such as the comments system or e-commerce systems. Deactivating performance cookies makes it harder for us to develop and improve the website. Deactivating functionality cookies may result in a less personal internet experience, and deactivating advertising cookies simply means being shown advertising which may not be relevant to your interests.
Please note this section is for information purposes only, and we are not responsible for any inaccurate information linked to in this section.
Opt out and settings links for advertising and affiliate networks:
EDAA: Your online choices.
Last Updated 9th March 2019.