What are cookies?

Cookies are bits of information stored locally in your browser. There are three basic parts of a cookie: the name, the value and the attributes. Cookies were originally created as a way for websites to remember things about people that visit them, like what they’re putting in their shopping carts. Today, cookies are primarily used for tracking, and they play a big part in digital marketing.

There are two types of cookies: first party cookies and third party cookies. First party cookies are stored on your browser by the domain you’re currently visiting — it’s how websites know you’re logged in and viewing the site. Third party cookies are cookies that are stored from another domain that you’re not currently visiting. For example — Infomedia’s site has a Facebook pixel, so when you visit our site, you’ll also have a cookie stored from Facebook.

So why should we care about this? There’s a lot of debate about this topic and whether or not cookies are necessary. Most first party cookies are essential to how we interact with the web today, but some people are shifting away from the use of non-essential cookies that are mostly used for tracking. That’s why you’ll see a pop-up asking if you accept cookies when you visit certain websites — it’s the website’s way of complying with new regulations to make people aware of the cookies being stored on their computers.

About Carrie

Carrie Rollwagen is host of the Localist podcast and cofounder of Church Street Coffee & Books. Currently, she works as Vice President of Strategic Planning at Infomedia, a web development company in Birmingham, Alabama. Find the Localist at @thinklocalist on Instagram and follow Carrie at @crollwagen.

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