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Visitor Cookies & the EU Privacy Directive


Anthony Reid:
Visitor Cookies & the EU Privacy Directive

On this page you will find information about the EU directive and essentially what cookies may be set when you visit Fertility Friends website.

If you wish to read other information about privacy on our website then please read our Privacy Policy

This directive is more commonly called the 'cookie law' and comes into force for UK based websites on the 26th May 2012.

It is designed to help users gain a better understanding into how websites use cookies to track their behavior.

On most websites there are two types of cookies - essential and non essential. Essential cookies are those where the cookie is "strictly necessary" for the provision of a service "explicitly requested" by the user – so for example login/member cookies that are used to manage users personal preferences during the users login period, another example would be shopping cart cookies, which can also be used without the need for consent as these are an integral part of a website’s functionality.

Non essential cookie examples are potentially those used for Analytics(counting visitors etc) or those utilised by Advertising companies during ad placement on the web pages the user views.

The EU directives concern with these cookies are that 3rd Party advertisers can track users online behaviour - with the primary purpose of marketing (using targeted advertising).

Banner Advertising, that you see on Fertility Friends is not behavioral.

In the interest of our users We have configured our advertising system to prevent the following:

1) Visitation information from Fertility Friends will not be used by google to help create interest categories.
2) Google Adsense Advertisers are not allowed to use their audience information to deliver more relevant ads to Fertility Friends.
3) Google Adsense Advertisers not allowed to collect data from Fertility Friends for the purpose of subsequent targeting.

Despite the above settings, Google still needs to use temporary cookies to manage the affiliate network process.
If you would prefer to opt out of these temporary cookies - you can, and You will still see the same number of ads as before, and Google may still show relevant ads based on the content of a web page, or other non-personal information. For example, Google can determine the content of the site and may automatically show ads related to IVF/pregnancy to all visitors without using a cookie.

You can opt out of these cookies, however, as mentioned before we have prevented the behavioural tracking of adsense cookies on fertility friends already for you. To opt out you can download the Chrome/IE/firefox browser plugin here

Essential Fertility Friends cookies

As mentioned before - we do not need to disclose some of our cookies because they are essential, however, for good measure we are detailing them here:

SMFCookie704 - Forum member cookie. Its sole purpose is security and enables the user to stay logged in throughout the website. It contans the user id, an encrypted password, and an encryption key.

cpg131_data - integration cookie - this enables the user to have single sign on into our gallery system.

PHPSESSID - this cookie is essential for the online login forms to operate and is set upon your arrival. This cookie is deleted when you close your browser.

Non Essential cookies

Our website contains some affiliate marketing links, which means we get paid commission on sales of those products or services we write about. Our editorial content is not influenced by advertisers or affiliate partnerships. We use a 3rd Party to enable these affiliate partnerships.

You can read their Privacy Policy and find more information on the cookies they use - and opt out if you chose to do so.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is used on FertilityFriends and uses cookies to define user sessions, as well as to provide a number of key features in the Google Analytics reports.

Google Analytics sets or updates cookies to collect data required for our marketing analysis. Additionally, Google Analytics mainly uses first-party cookies. This means that all cookies set by Google Analytics for FertilityFriends.co.uk sends data only to the servers for Fertility Friends. This effectively makes Google Analytics cookies the personal property of FertilityFriends.co.uk, and the data cannot be altered or retrieved by any service on another domain/website.

We use the reports to determine the popular and unpopular areas of our website, and also to determine the impact of external marketing campaigns

__utma - This cookie is typically written to the browser upon the first visit to the site from that web browser. If the cookie has been deleted by the browser operator, and the browser subsequently visits your site, a new __utma cookie is written with a different unique ID. In most cases, this cookie is used to determine unique visitors to the site and it is updated with each page view. Additionally, this cookie is provided with a unique ID that Google Analytics uses to ensure both the validity and accessibility of the cookie as an extra security measure.

__utmb -This cookie is used to establish and continue a user session with your site. When a user views a page on your site, the Google Analytics code attempts to update this cookie. If it does not find the cookie, a new one is written and a new session is established. Each time a user visits a different page on your site, this cookie is updated to expire in 30 minutes, thus continuing a single session for as long as user activity continues within 30-minute intervals. This cookie expires when a user pauses on a page on your site for longer than 30 minutes.

__utmz - This cookie stores the type of referral used by the visitor to reach the site, whether via a direct method, a referring link, a website search, or a campaign such as an ad or an email link. It is used to calculate search engine traffic, ad campaigns and page navigation within FertilityFriends.co.uk. The cookie is updated with each page view to the site.   

Hopefully this has given you a better idea of how cookies are used on Fertility Friends.

Please fee free to ask questions on this thread.

*Last Edited 3rd of January to reflect the Google Analytic Cookie changes.

Tony, Many thanks for explaining those things in a way that its understandable for non IT people.


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