Software, Tech News, Technology

News: ‘We Use Cookies to Do Cool Stuff’

Virgin Cookies News HeadingIn the most comprehensive disclosure on software cookies that we’ve seen yet, you can see exactly what cookies are used on and what they do, with the most exhaustive (dare we say ‘exhausting) guide. It came as quite a surprise when you take a look at the numbers: at minimum 54!

Once you get past the patronising opening copy, take a look at the main page which lists all the cookies:

Cookies are little files that all websites put onto your computer when you visit them, so they can remember stuff. This isn’t as bad as it sounds – they remember your information and help you see stuff online that’s relevant to you. We use cookies on to help us give you the best experience on our website. Our cookies have now been set in your browser, and by continuing to use our website you’ll be telling us you’re ok with that.

Virgin Media uses four different types of cookies:

  • Essential cookies – 30
  • Cookies for website info – 10
  • Cookies that save your settings – 14
  • Cookies for adverts – at least 5 different types, not ennumerated. I guess the sky’s the limit here.

According to Virgin, their website needs the essential cookies to make it work properly. They help you move around the website and do things you’ve specifically come to the website for, like putting things in your basket or eBilling. Thirty cookies!?! Essential?? Seriously??? Is this some kind of record.

The cookies for website info record anonymous information about visits and clicks on each web page, used to track what visitors do and the pages they look at. All ten of them.

The cookies that save your settings remember preferences, so you don’t have to do it all again each time you come back. Something actually helpful, although why they need 14 cookies for this…?

The cookies for adverts is for presenting adverts on-line that are ‘relevant’ – they ‘tell other websites if you’d be interested in their stuff.’ Really. There’s no limit to these

If you want more detail, you can read more about the Virgin Media cookies on the customer service site.

I like the closing statement “We’ll always keep this list as up to date as possible.” Yes – because legally you have to. I’m guessing that without the UK cookie law, you would never have known any of this. AJS

From the Virgin site (warning, here be dragons. Well, cookies…)

Essential cookies

Without these cookies, our website won’t work properly. They help you move around the secure areas of the website and do things you’ve specifically come to the website for, like shopping or eBilling.

What they do:

  • Remember things like products you put in your basket and information you enter in forms such as our checkout. Without these cookies, this information would be lost every time you go to a new page.
  • If you’re signed in to a secure area, like My Virgin Media, these cookies recognise that you have already signed in. Without them, you’d need to sign in each time you go to a new page.
  2. activationFlowType
  3. activestart
  4. BIGipServerems00750_pool
  5. CpeMacAddress
  6. egcbcacheid
  7. google_anayltics_test
  8. hp-v3
  9. hp-v3-links
  12. lang_coun_conf#<CONFIGURATION_ID>
  13. last-url
  14. legacyDomain
  16. pwp2auth
  17. S
  18. session-id
  19. session-signature
  21. TestCookie
  23. virginquickpaybrand
  24. virginquickpayscenario
  25. vmmytivouser
  26. VMXINF
  27. vod-login-url
  28. WalledGardenIP
  29. web_templates_personalization_cookie#1002#1
  30. web_templates_personalization_cookie#1029#1

We’ll always keep this list as up to date as possible.

Cookies for website info

These cookies collect anonymous information about how visitors use our website, like the most popular pages and any error pages you see. We use this aggregated information to improve our website – it never identifies individual users.

What they do:

  • Give us an overall picture of how people use our website by telling us things like the number of visitors to each page and what people do on the page, like which links they click on.

These are our cookies for website info:

  1. __utma
  2. __utmb
  3. __utmc
  4. __utmz
  5. maxymiser.mmid
  6. maxymiser.pd
  7. s_cc
  8. s_sq
  9. s_sv_sid
  10. s_vi

We’ll always keep this list as up to date as possible.

Cookies that save your settings

When you fill in a form with your name or other details, these cookies remember that, so you don’t have to type it in each time you come back. They also remember changes to text size and font and other things you can customise.

What they do:

  1. Remember any settings you’ve applied, such as layout, text size, preferences and colours
  2. Remember if we’ve already asked you if you want to fill in a survey so that we don’t keep asking you
  3. Allow us to offer you live chat sessions to offer you help or support
  4. They show you when you’re logged in to the website
  5. They can be used to share information with any partners who provide a service on our website. The information shared is only used to provide the service, product or function and not for any other purpose

These are our cookies that save your settings:

  1. authenticationVerifier
  3. direct-debit
  4. ecos
  5. GUID
  6. hasVisitedBefore
  8. memberVerifier3
  9. mmcore.tst
  10. passVerifierCookie
  11. recMessage
  12. sessionVerifier3
  14. TestCookie

We’ll always keep this list as up to date as possible.

Cookies for adverts

These cookies are used to show you adverts relevant to you and your interests. They are also used to limit the number of times you see an advert, as well as help measure the effectiveness of advertising campaigns. They are usually placed by advertising networks, with Virgin Media’s permission. They remember that you have visited a website and this information is shared with other organisations such as advertisers.

What they do:

  1. These cookies collect information about your browsing habits to make advertising relevant to you and your interests.

These are our cookies for adverts:

The information below shows which companies provide cookies and explains what they do.

  1. Doubleclick ad-serving cookies. Doubleclick manages our ad serving. They drop cookies to ensure the same adverts are not shown too many times.
  2. Audience Science cookies. These cookies help us to understand things you are interested in. You can see their Privacy Policy here.
  3. Inskin Media provide cool content you might be interested in around video. You can see their Privacy Policy here.
  4. Rubicon Project: an online advertising technology company, who use cookies (from which you cannot be identified) to show you ads which may be of interest to you. Read more about Rubicon Project here.
  5. We work with the following companies who provide creative, including Mediamind, Flashtalking, Atlas, and Eyewonder.

About Allan J. Smithie

Allan J. Smithie is a journalist and commentator based in Dubai.


3 thoughts on “News: ‘We Use Cookies to Do Cool Stuff’

  1. Reblogged this on txwikinger's blog.

    Posted by txwikinger | June 17, 2012, 1:47 am
  2. 54 cookies! WTF?!? Thanks! :)

    Posted by Trianon | June 17, 2012, 2:39 am
  3. You see that list of cookies? WTF! ps decent web site.

    Posted by Coutee | July 12, 2012, 12:49 am

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