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Author Topic: Use of cookies on this website  (Read 9149 times)
grahame
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« on: June 02, 2012, 09:44:57 AM »

"Cookies" - values sent to your computer's browser by a web site and returned on subsequent requests you make to that website - have been with us for years.  Most sites (including ours) use them; there's little secret in that, and without them most sites simply won't function these days.  A change in the UK law requires us to have your consent to set cookies, and to be even more explicit about where they're used ...

We place cookies in your browser in the following circumstances:

1. When you log in to this forum as a registered user, we place a cookie in your browser. This allows us to take action such as:
* keep you logged in on subsequent pages
* assign posts you make to you
* allow you to read your own personal messages
* mark posts which you read as appropriate, so we can indicate posts that you have not yet seen
* allow you to gain rank through the time you spend here and the number of posts you make
This is not a complete list.  But please note that we do NOT pass on cookies or details to third parties, the exception being if we're legally required to.

2. We use Google Analytics on this site, so that we can track site usage overall, and analyse the results to learn more about the general profile of our visitors (but not any one visitor in particular), for the purpose of learning about trends, the relative importance of pages, about where our visitors come from, how long they stay, what technlogy they're using, and so on.  The purpose of learning about this data is to help us improve the service we offer, and to spot any changes in usage pattern and react accordingly.  Google Analytics places cookies in your browser for this purpose.

3. If you choose a non-default look and feel for this website, we place a further cookie in your browser so that our server is informed of your choice on each and every subsequent page.

By using our site, you agree to cookies (2) and (3). By registering as a member of the forum, you agree to (1) as well. I have made this more explicit this morning, to make certain that we comply with new legal requirements to get informed consent prior to placing cookies. If you are an established member and wish to discuss this change further, please send me an email; there's no change at all as to how the site operates.  There have never been any secrets about this as far as I'm concerned, but the law now requires us to take more visible steps to inform you and obtain your consent. See my blog article on the subject for more details.

Examples of the reports that we get from Google Analystics as a result of item (2):

Hourly access for the last week:


General stats for the last week:


Where our UK visitors have come from in the last week:

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bobm
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« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2012, 02:57:46 PM »

Been asked to explore Google Analytics for one of the customers I run a site for so this has prompted me to get on a d do it!  Just for information what is the "bounce rate"?

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grahame
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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2012, 03:03:33 PM »

Been asked to explore Google Analytics for one of the customers I run a site for so this has prompted me to get on a d do it!  Just for information what is the "bounce rate"?

The bounce rate is the percentage of people who just call up a single page, I think
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EBrown
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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2012, 03:06:23 PM »

Loosely, it's when a percentage of visitors that only look at one page on a website. They may follow a link to another site, have their session timed out, exit etc.

So the bounce rate is the number of people who only view one page compared to the total number of visitors. (Bounce rate = Visitors who leave only viewing that one page / Total Visitors to the page)
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Andrew1939 from West Oxon
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« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2012, 03:54:11 PM »

I have no objection to the use of cookies when they are used in a responsible manner. However some organisations, usually highly geared retailers, use cookies to plague you with adverts about a product you may have looked up once and then decided its not for you but you get your browser stuffed with repeat adverts - so annoying. I therefore when closing an internet session try to always remove cookies from my system. However I sometimes forget to do this.
So I am quite happy for the Coffee Shop to use cookies as you do not sell to me, other than railway news.
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richwarwicker
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« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2012, 07:21:30 PM »

Indeed, another rail based forum, I frequently use, is plagued with adverts, showing websites I have recently visited. It even managed to give me appropriate car insurance quotes recently after i had used Confused. I dont agree with my info being in such a use, as it feels like they know every move.
Out of curiosity with such ads. If someone has been looking at adult content, would they get adverts based on such?
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EBrown
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« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2012, 07:51:25 PM »

Out of curiosity with such ads. If someone has been looking at adult content, would they get adverts based on such?
The answer is generally no. Google adwords and advertising allows "Adult" advertising, however, it must meet some criteria, which is;
- Vetted by a Google employee
- Cannot contain images
- Marked "Approved (Adult)"

Anything that is marked "Approved Adult" can only be displayed if your Google search settings are on "Safe Search Off". For this reason, it is difficult for Google to know that you are an Adult (regardless of the material you viewed), so adverts of this nature are not displayed.

I would imagine other companies that offer an advertising service have similar safeguards.

Other websites, certainly those which are more morally questionable, I doubt have these safeguards.
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bignosemac
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« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2012, 12:30:04 AM »

There are ways and means of blocking banner, in page and pop up adverts. You can have a blanket advertising ban on all sites you visit or choose which sites you allow to advertise to you.

This is handy if you want to support a particular website, such as a forum you enjoy contributing to.

I block most advertising but do allow a few websites I visit to advertise to me. How well targeted these adverts are though is of some debate. I've just logged into one particular site, another rail based forum, and I'm being offered 50% off mineral based make-up....
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stebbo
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« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2012, 09:54:02 PM »

According to this, most of the site visitors come from outside the GW area. Odd....?
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grahame
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« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2012, 07:01:08 AM »

According to this, most of the site visitors come from outside the GW area. Odd....?

I suspect that the town scatter plot is misleading if that's what it appears to show. I've looked at less processed  data from the last week; of 5300 visits, 5100 were from the UK. Google Analysics splits the data by "City" and we had 460 represented; I have looked through the top ten, accounting for around a half of our traffic, and 9 out of 10 of the visits that accounted for / 8 out of 10 of the cities are served by FGW.

These stats contrast starkley with the busiest site that I run for my business, which has global reach. Of 34000 visits in a week from 4500 different cities, only one of the top ten cities was in the FGW area, and that accounted for just 500 visits.  By looking at this contrast as my 'control' case, I'm confident that our visitor profile is very strongly skewed in the direction I would expect.
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