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
"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
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 . . .