What are cookies in computers?
The cookies are small, often encrypted text files, located in browser directories. They are used by web developers to help users navigate their websites efficiently and perform certain functions. Due to their core role of enhancing/enabling usability or site processes, disabling cookies may prevent users from using certain websites.
Cookies are created when a user's browser loads a particular website. The website sends information to the browser which then creates a text file. Every time the user goes back to the same website, the browser retrieves and sends this file to the website's server. Computer Cookies are created not just by the website the user is browsing but also by other websites that run ads, widgets, or other elements on the page being loaded. These cookies regulate how the ads appear or how the widgets and other elements function on the page.
Why do websites use third-party ad serving companies?
Many websites rely on advertising to survive and to provide free content to visitors. Most site do not have the infrastructure or resources to manage and run the advertising on their web pages. Instead they turn to third-party ad serving companies to provide the server space, campaign delivery and reporting facilities that they need.
What Cookies Do to Your PCs
Cookies are NOT viruses. By themselves, cookies pose no risk since they do not contain virus in any form nor do they spy on your PC content to compromise security. Cookies use a plain text format that contain information your browser saves on one of this folders for some websites that do send out cookies.
They are not compiled pieces of code so they cannot be executed nor are they self-executing. Accordingly, they cannot make copies of themselves and spread to other networks to execute and replicate again. Since they cannot perform these functions, they fall outside the virus definition.
Third-party ad serving companies provide useful, cost-effective services to websites that cannot manage advertising campaigns in-house. Advertisers like cookies to be used in the delivery of campaigns because they enable the following to happen without any personal information being collected:
• Cookies limit the number of times that an advertisement is shown. This is particularly useful if pop-up ads are used, as cookies can ensure the same browser is not shown the same pop-up over and over again.
• Enable a sequence of advertisements to be shown in the correct order.
• Calculate how many unique web visitors have been shown an advertisement.
• Calculate how many unique people visited a site as a direct response to an advertisement.
Third-party ad serving cookies solve a lot of problems that normally arise in a situation where the website's visitor loads content from the website but the ads come from another site. Cookies help the ad serving website with the following:
• Cookies limit the number of times an ad is shown. This function comes in particularly handy when dealing with potentially annoying advertising forms like popup ads.
Cookies ensure that a popup only shows up once per visit.
• Some ads are more effective when shown in a particular order or sequence. By helping the website you're viewing remember the pages you've visited during your browsing session, cookies enable ads to show up in a particular order.
• Advertisers need to know how many times their ads were shown on publishers' websites. Cookies allow the third party ad serving website to collect this information.
• Cookies allow advertisers to keep track of how many people visited the advertisers' websites through a click or a response on the ads shown by third party ad serving companies on publishers' websites.
This feature helps both the ad serving company and the advertiser determine if a particular advertising campaign produced the desired results.