What are cookies?
Cookies are small pieces of data, stored in text files, that are stored on your computer or other device when websites are loaded in a browser. They are widely used to “remember” you and your preferences, either for a single visit (through a “session cookie”) or for multiple repeat visits (using a “persistent cookie”). They ensure a consistent and efficient experience for visitors, and perform essential functions such as allowing users to register and remain logged in. Cookies may be set by the site that you are visiting (known as “first party cookies”), or by third parties, such as those who serve content or provide advertising or analytics services on the website (“third party cookies”).
Both websites and HTML emails may also contain other tracking technologies such as “web beacons” or “pixels.” These are typically small transparent images that provide us with statistics, for similar purposes as cookies. They are often used in conjunction with cookies, though they are not stored on your computer in the same way. As a result, if you disable cookies, web beacons may still load, but their functionality will be restricted.
Many of the cookies we use are only set if you are a registered WordPress.com user (so you don’t have to log in every time, for example), while others are set whenever you visit one of our websites, irrespective of whether you have an account.
For more information on the choices you have about the cookies we use, please see the Controlling Cookies section below.
Where we place cookies
We set cookies in a number of different locations across our services. These include:
- On our websites (including automattic.com, wordpress.com, vip.wordpress.com, jetpack.com, gravatar.com, intensedebate.com, vaultpress.com, and akismet.com).
- In the administrative dashboards of our websites, such as Calypso and wp-admin.
- On sites we host for our users.
- On sites that use our plugins (e.g. Jetpack).
Types of Cookie
The table below explains the types of cookies we use on our websites and why we use them.
|Category of cookies
||Why we use these cookies
||These cookies are essential for websites on our services to perform their basic functions. These include those required to allow registered users to authenticate and perform account related functions, as well as to save the contents of virtual “carts” on sites that have an ecommerce functionality.
||These cookies are used to store preferences set by users such as account name, language, and location.
||We use these cookies to help identify and prevent potential security risks.
|Analytics and Performance
||Performance cookies collect information on how users interact with our websites, including what pages are visited most, as well as other analytical data. We use these details to improve how our websites function and to understand how users interact with them.
||These cookies are used to display relevant advertising to visitors who use our services or visit websites we host or provide, as well as to understand and report on the efficacy of ads served on our websites. They track details such as the number of unique visitors, the number of times particular ads have been displayed, and the number of clicks the ads have received. They are also used to build user profiles, including showing you ads based on products you’ve viewed or acts you have taken on our (and other) websites. These are set by Automattic and trusted third party networks, and are generally persistent in nature.
|Third Party / Embedded Content
||Sites hosted on WordPress.com make use of different third party applications and services to enhance the experience of website visitors. These include social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter (through the use of sharing buttons), or embedded content from Youtube and Vimeo. As a result, cookies may be set by these third parties, and used by them to track your online activity. We have no direct control over the information that is collected by these cookies.
In addition to the cookies set on our own sites, we utilize cookies for our Site Stats feature. This tallies the unique numbers of visitors to a site, as well as the number from specific geographic locations. A visitor is counted when we see a user or browser for the first time in a given period.
Below are examples of the cookies set by us, with explanations of their purpose. Some of these cookies are set across our whole network, whereas some are specific to individual services (e.g. WordPress.com, Longreads, etc). Please note that this is not an exhaustive list, but rather aims to be representative. Information about cookies that may be set by third parties, such as our ads partners, is below.
In addition, people and companies that use our services to publish or host their own sites may place additional cookies. We provide more information on these cookies below.
||Tracks if a visitor has clicked an ad before.
||Counts and tracks pageviews on Longreads.com. Used to determine whether or not to show our Membership popup message.
||Reduces the display of ads for repeat visitors.
Please also see the section below on third party advertisements that you may see on our sites or sites that use our services.
Analytics and Performance
||Used in log of Polldaddy survey data to aid in debugging customer problems
||Used for “AB testing” of new features.
||Identifies which user signup flow was shown to the user.
|tk_ni / tk_ai / tk_qs
||Gathers information for our own, first party analytics tool about how our services are used. A collection of internal metrics for user activity, used to improve user experience.
||Remembers the ID of the affiliate that referred the current user to WordPress.com
|utma / utmb / utmc / utmt / utmz / ga / gat / gid
||Google Analytics. Gathers information that helps us understand how visitors interact with our websites, which allow us to create a better experience for our visitors. Our users may also implement Google Analytics on their own websites.
||Authentication for Longreads.com Member accounts. Only active when logged in, on *.longreads.com domains.
||Stores whether a user has chosen to view the mobile version of a website.
||Used to track the language a user has selected to view popular blogs in.
||Defines the currency displayed in WordPress.com landing pages.
||Records last used folder in Polldaddy dashboard so it can be reopened upon user’s next visit.
||Login cookie used to identify Polldaddy user.
||Checks whether or not the current visitor is a logged in WordPress.com user.
||Persists a user’s wp-admin configuration.
||Tracks whether or not a user has already performed an action.
||Python/Ajax security cookie used on accounts.longreads.com.
||Used in order to determine whether or not the cookie banner should be shown. Set immediately on page load and retained for 6 hours to remember the visitor’s country.
||Remembers the state of visitor acceptance to the cookie banner. Only set when the visitor clicks Accept.
||Set when the user is logged in using two factor authentication.
||Checks if cookies are enabled to provide appropriate user experience.
To find out more on how to manage and delete cookies, visit aboutcookies.org. For more details on your choices regarding use of your web browsing activity for interest-based advertising visit youronlinechoices.eu (EU based) or optout.aboutads.info (US based). On a mobile device, you may also be to adjust your settings to limit ad tracking.
You can opt out of Google Analytics by installing Google’s opt-out browser add-on.
Our Internal Analytics Tool
In order to better understand how our services are used, we monitor certain user activities that take place within our products, including page views and clicks on any links used when managing a site via our dashboards.
We call each one of these actions an “event.” Analytics events are attached to your WordPress.com account and are handled via a first party system that Automattic owns and maintains. In general, we record the following data for each event: IP address, WordPress.com user ID and username, WordPress.com-connected site ID (for sites not hosted on WordPress.com), user agent, referring URL, timestamp of event, browser language, and country code.
You may opt out of our analytics program through your user settings. By doing so, you won’t share information with our analytics tool about events or actions that happen after the opt-out, while logged in to your WordPress.com account. Note that opting out does not disable the functionality of the actions we track – for example, if you publish a post, we will still have record of that (don’t worry!), but for an event or action after you opt out, we will not have other data associated with that action or event in the analytics tool.
Consent for Advertising Cookies on Our Sites
You may see a “cookie banner” on our websites and dashboards. If you are visiting one of our users’ sites from the EU, then we do not set, or allow our ad partners to set, cookies that are used to show you targeted ads before you click to accept. When you consent in this manner, we and our advertising partners may set advertising cookies on the site you are visiting and on other of our websites, dashboards, and services. We’ll display the banner to you periodically, just in case you change your mind.
Consent and Choices for Advertisements on Our Users’ Sites Through Our Ads Program
You may see a “cookie banner” on our users’ websites, particularly if you are in the European Union. If so, then our ad program does not set, or allow our ad partners to set, cookies that are used to show you targeted ads before you accept. When you consent in this manner, we and our advertising partners may set third party advertising cookies on our network in order to show you personalized ads. We’ll display the banner to you periodically, just in case you change your mind.
* Please note this consent feature will start on May 24, 2018.
We set a cookie to help us understand how visitors engage with websites that participate in our ad program. Visitors may opt out of our use of this information by visiting this link (the opt-out will be processed immediately with no confirmation step). When you opt out, we replace the unique value for that cookie with an opt-out value. The opt-out works across all websites in our ads program. If you have opted out by accident, or wish to opt back in, you may do so by visiting this link. Please note that this option is browser specific, and so if you use a different device or browser or clear your cookies, then you will need to repeat the process.