Are cookies as sweet as they sound?

To be honest, I never really understood what cookies were until I took an Internet Marketing class. I had always heard of them, usually grouped in with cache and history, but I was not sure exactly what they did. Upon hearing that they could be used to track activity, I was a little scared. Privacy seems to be a big issue in today’s technology-driven world, but I wanted to find out for myself whether cookies should be feared or accepted.

After researching, I have found that cookies bring a lot of convenience into my internet use. One benefit I experience is that cookies store usernames and passwords. This prevents Facebook from requiring me to login every time I click on a link, and Google Chrome remembering my login information so I do not have to type it. [1]

Most cookies do not identify you personally, just data that would be useful for marketing analysis, like browsing activity.[2] The cookie would then be used to bring you more targeted ads based on what you searched the day before.[3]

In my experience, cookies used for advertising can be bothersome. There have been a few times where I was on a website, and an array of shoes popped up that were similar to some I was looking at the day before. At first I found it off-putting and felt my privacy had been invaded, but in reality, it is just companies trying to make more sales. One annoying thing I am dealing with right now are targeted ads popping up on YouTube. For a project in my Internet Marketing class, I researched a web hosting company and frequently visited their site throughout a few days in order to get information. Almost two months later, an ad for their website pops up on almost every YouTube video I watch. And I did not and do not want to use their product, I was just researching!

Although cookies can be obnoxious and violate a small portion of privacy, they can ultimately make the Internet easier to use.

[1] http://www.tomsguide.com/us/-tracking-cookie-definition,news-17506.html

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

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