A cookie is a piece of data stored on the user's computer tied to information about the user. We use both session ID cookies and persistent cookies. For the session ID cookie, once users close the browser, the cookie simply terminates. A persistent cookie is a small text file stored on the user's hard drive for an extended period of time. Persistent cookies can be removed by following Internet browser help file directions.
By setting a cookie on our sites, users do not have to log in more than once, thereby saving time while on our sites. If users reject the cookie, they may not be able to login to certain areas of our sites.
Like most standard Web site servers we use log files. This includes Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, browser type, Internet service provider (ISP), referring/exit pages, platform type, date/time stamp and number of clicks to analyze trends, administer the site, track user's movement in the aggregate, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses, etc. are not linked to personally identifiable information.
We employ a software technology called transparent images, that helps us better manage content on our site by informing us what content is effective. We use extremely small, transparent images with a unique identifier, similar in function to cookies, that are used to track the online movements of Web users. The main difference between the two is that transparent images are invisible on the page and are very small, about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. In some instances, transparent images are tied to users' personally identifiable information. In particular, we use transparent images in our HTML-based e-mails to let us know which e-mails have been opened by the recipients. This allows us to gauge the effectiveness of certain communications. Users may opt out of these e-mails. Please see the opt out section.