Cookies are small pieces of data, stored in text files, that are stored on your computer or other device when websites are loaded in a browser. They are widely used to “remember” you and your preferences, either for a single visit (through a “session cookie”) or for multiple repeat visits (using a “persistent cookie”). They ensure a consistent and efficient experience for visitors, and perform essential functions such as allowing users to register and remain logged in. Cookies may be set by the site that you are visiting (known as “first party cookies”), or by third parties, such as those who serve content or provide advertising or analytics services on the website (“third party cookies”).
Both websites and HTML emails may also contain other tracking technologies such as “web beacons” or “pixels.” These are typically small transparent images that provide us with statistics, for similar purposes as cookies. They are often used in conjunction with cookies, though they are not stored on your computer in the same way. As a result, if you disable cookies, web beacons may still load, but their functionality will be restricted.
Many of the cookies we use are only set if you are a registered WordPress.com user (so you don’t have to log in every time, for example), while others are set whenever you visit one of our websites, irrespective of whether you have an account.
We use the following categories of cookies:
- Strictly Necessary Cookies. These are cookies that are required for the operation of our Site. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our websites, use a shopping cart or make use of e-billing services.
- Performance and Functionality Cookies. These are used to recognize you when you return to our Site. This enables us to personalize our content for you and remember your preferences (for example, your choice of language or region), but are non-essential to the performance of the Site.
- Analytical or Customization Cookies. These cookies collect information about how users access and move through the Site. We use this information in either aggregate form to help us to improve the way our Site works, or to personalize our Site to your interests.
- Advertising Cookies. These cookies are used to make the advertising displayed on the Site more relevant to you. These cookies prevent ads reappearing and ensure that ads are properly displayed. Certain third party cookies may track users over different websites are will provide ads relevant to your interests.
- Social Media Cookies. These cookies allow us to integrate social media functions into our Site and may also be used for advertising purposes.