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My hit counter uses tracking cookies
by eric nakao

My hit counter (StatCounter), attaches a tracking cookie to your computer when you visit my websites or blog.

On September 24, 2006, I asked StatCounter through their User Forum's Help section about their tracking cookies. Here is their reply:

"The cookie that is set on the visitor's computer simply stores the date and time of the last visit to a website using the particular StatCounter project number through the StatCounter code, and how many times this has been logged so far.
You don't have to tell people what the cookie contains, they can see that themselves if they want to look.
If you want to tell people what information is being collected by the tracking code that you use on your website, then refer to the log (Recent Pageloads): It's basically: time of hit, page url that was hit, referrer url, IP address of visitor, OS, browser, screen resolution. These are collected through normal means, it's all information available to all websites either from the server side detection tools, or from JavaScript. The cookie information used is the timestamp of the previous visit from that same visitor's computer if the cookie is available, the number of times prior hits were logged, and the cookie is updated with the new timestamp and hit count is increments. Standard cookie usage.
The IP address logged is further used to look up the ISP and the geo information (city, region, country). Again all publicly available information on the internet.
The StatCounter cookie is a low-risk threat cookie. The only thing preventing it from being a no-risk cookie is that it's a third-party cookie. This means it's a cookie that is set by the StatCounter site (considered third-party site) through a script used on a different site (i.e. your site, which is the first-party site, what the visitor actually visits). Had your site been the one to set this very same cookie, then it would be a no-risk first-party cookie."

StatCounter also said that "MySpace have banned StatCounter so you can no longer use the tracking code there."

The best information I found on tracking cookies, in general, (assuming it's true), was from a posting by Dunbar Puppy on Yahoo! Answers which said "tracking cookies can range from sweet and innocent, to the spawn of satan: if you visit seedy sites (porn, free music, free give aways, etc.) you are more likely to get the bad kind (those that 'phone home' to another site that starts sending you spam, pop-up garbage, etc.) one good idea for use in ALL browsers is to disable 3rd party cookies. BROWSER OPEN, ON THE TOP LINE GO TO 'TOOLS'>INTERNET OPTIONS>PRIVACY>ADVANCED: HERE YOU SHOULD CHECKMARK THE LINES 'ALLOW SESSION COOKIES' & 'ACCEPT FIRST PARTY COOKIES': UNDER 3RD PARTY COOKIES, CHECK 'BLOCK.' "

I have re-set my own browser according to these instructions. It reduced the tracking cookies being attached to my computer from six in the week previous to two in the week following.

A site I visited (PC Advisor) said that "StatCounter is a perfectly reputable organisation, and I certainly haven't heard of them using spyware. If they did, the word would soon get about, and they would have no business. They make their money from the advertisers."

I found out about StatCounter from Blogger which had a list of recommended hit counters. I found StatCounter to give the best information and to be the most reliable.

You can see the information that StatCounter provides to me by clicking the "View My Stats" link on the bottom of any page of my websites or blog. Be sure and logout after you finish viewing my stats if you want to deactivate a cookie.

And now, the entertainment portion of our program . . .
 



Murder Peanuts


posted: sunday, october 1, 2006, 2:35 PM ET
update: saturday, march 3, 2007, 1:16 AM ET

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