Your anonymity is assured when visiting any of the above web sites, unless you choose to reveal your identity to me e.g. by making contact with me.
None of my web sites in themselves directly add any "persistent" cookies to your browser (unless you log in, where applicable.) However such cookies may be added to your browser in certain circumstances when browsing my sites (see 4. below) by trusted third parties.
3.Internal statistics gathering
I do of course track visitors progress through each of my sites, logging every page request in a back-end database, as do practically all web sites. I achieve this without resorting to any persistent cookies for any of my web sites. Instead I use a "session state" cookie (which most web sites cannot function without, including my sites, and which expire 20 minutes after you leave the site) combined with an innovative technique which keeps a log of your IP address and browser "User Agent" to re-identify you on successive visits to my site without needing to place any persistent cookies in your browser. I also record your browser's "Referer" parameter when it's supplied, to determine how you ended up visiting my site, e.g. via a search engine or an advert that I'm running.
You should be aware that most browsers provide this information by default to all web sites they interact with. It does not in itself allow me to identify who you are, but it does usually permit me to find out your general location (nearest town), your operating system and your browser software. This information is useful to me for statistical purposes, and also enables me to tailor your experience while browsing my sites - for example by showing you advertisements that are relevant to the page you are viewing and the country you live in. It does not in any way threaten your personal privacy. (An analogy: when you go into a shop several times over a long period, the shopkeeper may recognise you and behave accordingly but he may never know your name, your address, where you've just come from, your date of birth or anything else about you - unless you choose to disclose that to him.)
If you fill in my contact details request form then the email address you enter will be logged in my database alongside your trace of page requests, but I do not share any email addresses or any other type of information with any 3rd party.
If you click on an affiliated link or advertisement that takes you to an external web site, you will generally be given a cookie by that site in order to allow me to claim a commission should you make a purchase from them. Such cookies are purely for that purpose and I am only affiliated with highly respected companies who operate through one of a group of tracking agencies, all of whom uphold customer privacy as paramount. Should you wish to remove these cookies after visiting an affiliated web site that is of course your right, but please be aware that they are not in fact affecting your privacy and moreover that they represent an aspect of my livelihood. Such cookies may appear as 'threats' in your anti-spyware software but the term 'threat' is completely incorrect; anti-spyware software makers tend to use alarmist tactics to sell their software, and the classification of tracking cookies as a threat to your privacy is one such underhand tactic. These cookies may appear under the names 'cj.com', 'zanox.com' and 'tradedoubler.com' which are the tracking agencies I use to handle the relationship with my sponsors, and/or the names of actual sponsor's web sites where commission tracking is handled directly by them.
4.a.Google Advertising and the DoubleClick DART cookie
All my websites may at times display contextual advertising provided by Google AdSense, usually in the form of the text-only small ads that you will find very familiar. Google provide this type advertising across the web, on sites covering every conceivable topic. It is the same as the advertising appearing in the right-hand column of a Google search, Google Mail account etc amongst many other Google and non-Google websites. These adverts provide a source of revenue for the website owner while offering the visitor relevant commercial links to complement the content on the website being viewed.
As of April 2009, Google' strategy in the placement of their adverts takes on a new level of sophistication which they call 'Interest-Based Advertising'. This uses information that they gather from across their network of advertising spaces, i.e. from a large percentage of the websites you may have visited, to deduce information about the interests you may have in a specific topic - and then serve advertising accordingly.
PLEASE NOT THAT MY WEBSITES ARE NOT AT THIS TIME INCLUDED IN THE PILOT OF THIS SCHEME BUT THAT THEY MAY BE INCLUDED AT A FUTURE DATE.
Your geographic location is already used to help Google's systems automatically decide from which country to show you their page-related adverts. With this new strategy Google will also be using your past browsing history to refine their automated decision. They are able to do this because every website you visit that uses Google advertising attempts to write a cookie in your browser, called the DoubleClick DART cookie. Over time this cookie acts as your personal ID badge - even though it doesn't store any specific personal information about you, it allows Google to identify you as being the same user that visited site A last week, and site B the week before, and so on.
If you wish to opt out of this type of advertising from Google across the entire internet you can disable cookies in your browser, but be aware that this could affect the operation of some websites. Alternatively Google provide an opt-out option for their specific cookie (see below). Again be aware that using this option could limit the usefulness of certain websites since they will no longer be able to serve you targeted advertising content and hence may become less relevant to the topic you visited them for in the first place. Here is what Google say about the cookie:
- Google's use of the DART cookie enables it to serve ads to website visitors based on their visit to the current and previous sites on the Internet.
- Users may opt out of the use of the DART cookie by visiting:
To summarise: Most of my websites use third-party advertising companies to serve ads when you visit them. These companies may use statistical & historical information (but not including your name, address, email address, telephone number or any other personally identifiable information) about your visits to websites across the internet in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you.
5.External statistics services
In addition to the statistics collected in my own database I use Google Analytics & GoStats, two highly respected 3rd party tracking services which record separately every page you visit on my site. I'm not certain whether or not they add any cookies to your browser but they shouldn't need to. I do not read any cookies lodged in your browser by other sites, nor communicate with other sites you may have visited, nor share any of my collected statistics with other sites.
6.Acceptance of this policy
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