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Cookie Policy

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Cookie Policy

We use cookies on our site for traffic data purposes, our shopping basket, social media (such as Facebook, Twitter etc.) and for live chat. Because cookies are used throughout our site, if you choose to disable them you will not be able use certain parts of our site.

A cookie is a small text file implanted by an online provider (for example, a website operator or an online advertising network) on the hard disks of visitors to the site (often without their knowledge). Cookies collect information about internet users, such as their names, addresses, e-mail details, passwords and user preferences. While cookies and the information they transmit may not identify a living individual on their own, they may be able to do so in combination with other information held by the online provider or a third party.

Different types of cookies

There is a general distinction between session cookies and persistent cookies and between first-party cookies and third-party cookies.

Session cookies

Session cookies are cookies that expire at the end of a browser session, that is when the user exits the browser. They allow websites operators to link the actions of users during a single browser session to allow them to use the website most efficiently. For example, session cookies enable a website to remember that a user has placed items in an online shopping basket. As these cookies are not usually stored beyond the browser session, they are usually considered less privacy intrusive.

Persistent cookies

In contrast to session cookies, persistent cookies are stored on the user's equipment between browsing sessions. They therefore enable the website to "recognise" the user on his return, to remember the user's preferences and to tailor services to them. The may also be used to track the user's browsing activity across different websites and to build up a detailed profile of his browsing behaviour for targeting advertising. For this reason, persistent cookies are generally considered to be more privacy-intrusive than session cookies.

First-party cookies

First-party cookies are planted by the website which a user visits itself. This involves assigning a unique identity to the user by setting the cookie to either the user's browser and/or his hard drive with a view to tracking the user's journey on the website. First-party cookies are commonly used by website operators for session management, personalisation and recognition purposes where the information transmitted by the cookie is later combined with the personal information the internet user has supplied to the provider in the course of a sale or other contact. In these cases, a user's cookie is retrieved each time he visits the site which planted it, making it unnecessary to re-enter registration data on each visit, and enabling the user to benefit from features such as Amazon's 1-click shopping and the ability to store items in an electronic shopping basket between visits. Although cookies provide internet users with some benefits, they also enable online providers to build profiles of individual users, their online behaviour and their interests. The website may then make specific recommendations to the user on goods and services depending on the information collected in this way. For example, the books, CDs, DVDs and other products that are displayed to a user on the home page of online retailer Amazon will largely be determined by the user's previous purchases and their on-site browsing habits. The user profiles created in this way are also commercially valuable, and online providers often sell the information collected in this way to third parties for the purpose of marketing. Users can block first-party cookies by adjusting their browser settings. However, in some cases this may lead to a loss of functionality of the site visited.

Third-party cookies

Third-party cookies are cookies planted by parties other than the owner of the website a user visits. In practice, many website owners will reserve visual space on its website in return for a fee paid by an advertising network provider. The renting out of website space for the purposes of behavioural advertising is an increasingly essential part of many website operators' monetisation strategies.

The advertising network provider will normally use the spaces it rents on different websites to:

Plant a cookie on the user's browser or hard drive when he first visits a website that is part of its advertising network.

Recognise any former visitor who returns to that website by the cookie previously planted on his equipment.

Recognise any user who has already visited any other website that is a partner of the advertising network by the cookie planted on his equipment by the first website he visited.

Serve a particular advertisement to the user in real-time based on his interests (as identified in the profile created for him based on his journey across different partner websites).

As with first-party cookies, users are able to block third-party cookies through their browser settings.

Cookies are NOT viruses

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