Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Cookies, the Pros and Cons.

The good and bad of cookies.

Cookies are “a piece of text that a Web server can store on a user's hard disk.”[1]The term is being used a lot in the media today. With a push for greater privacy the cookie has come under attack. Online advertisers are using cookies to assist them in tracking you online habits in order for them to more efficiently advertise to you. But before you say that you want to get rid of all cookies for good, there is some value in a cookie.

The good.

Cookies can be used by websites for a variety of good reasons. The main reason that cookies came into existence is to make the online experience better by allowing websites to know that you are using a specific computer and what your preferences are. Examples of the benefits are:

· Shopping carts

· Remaining logged in

· Store user preferences related to specific site

· Security - Verify that you are who you say you are (when you have to answer a security question the first time you log in to a website, but don’t have to after that)

The bad

Cookies have received a bad name for some of the following reasons. Some users may not view these as problem, but with internet security becoming a bigger concern more users are becoming cautious on the web.

· Creates a profile (perhaps temporary) with a company that you may not want t profile with.

· Third party cookies allow marketers to track you across multiple websites.

· There are some concerns involving cookie theft or hijacking.

Overall, cookies allow for a better online experience. The threat of the marketer viewing your activity does not outweigh the benefits of cookies. If you are one who is concerned with cookies you can disable cookies on your browser by following this Wiki [2]. I recommend disabling third party cookies if you want to reduce the "creepy" factor of advertisers. You can also see what cookies have been stored on your computer and delete them by searching online for your browser to find out where they are stored.

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