Cookie and Tracking Technologies Policy How Which? uses cookies and what they are.

What are cookies and how do we use them?

This policy is split into four sections:

1. What are cookies and tracking technologies?
2. The cookies and tracking technologies we use now and how to delete them
3. Our classification of cookies
4. Our main technology partners

1. What are cookies and tracking technologies?

Where we talk about cookies on our websites, we mean cookies and web beacons.

What is a cookie?

A cookie is a text file containing a small amount of data which is downloaded to your computer when you visit one of our websites or see one of our adverts elsewhere on the internet.  The vast majority of websites use cookies and tracking technologies.  Cookies are useful because they help us arrange the content and layout of our websites and recognise those computers that have been to our websites before. They allow us to remember your preference settings and play an important role in helping us to enhance the usability and performance of our websites and your experience using them.  Some cookies are also essential to enable you to move around our website and use its features. They also help us to identify which of our articles are the most popular and the types of journey visitors have to our websites.

A list of all the cookies that we, our advertising network and technology partners use can be found in our cookie list.

What is a Flash cookie?  

This is a type of cookie which is collected via Adobe Flash media player – a piece of software which you probably have on your computer to help you watch online videos and listen to podcasts.  We do not use Flash cookies at the moment.

Have a look at Adobe's website if you want to control Flash cookies on your computer. If you use the Firefox browser you can also get an add-on to detect and delete Flash cookies.

What is a web beacon?

Web beacons are usually tiny transparent images that help website owners track the activity of users on certain web pages. They can also send the website owner (for example, us or our technology partners) information in cookies such as whether an email with a web beacon in it has been opened. We use web beacons together with cookies to help us understand how you interact with our websites and the emails we send you; to help us improve your browsing experience; to ensure that content is relevant to you; and to better manage our website and email content.

2. The cookies and tracking technologies we use now and how to delete them

When you access our websites you will receive a message advising you that we have placed some cookies on your computer.  This was necessary in order to display the website page to you.  If you continue to use our websites, further cookies will be placed on your computer to maximise your experience on our websites and to help us understand how we can improve them.

If you don’t want us to place cookies on your computer then there are a number of ways you can opt out - setting your browser either to reject all cookies, to only allow “trusted” sites to set them, or to accept only those cookies from those websites which you are currently on.

Please remember – if you do delete all your cookies, some features of our websites, such as remembering your login details, will not work and your experience on our websites may be affected.

We like the website www.aboutcookies.org which is run by the law firm Pinsent Masons. Not only does it have the recipe for ‘the world’s finest cookies’, it also gives you detailed step by step guidance on how to control and delete cookies depending on your browser type. You can then adjust your browser settings to your preferred level of protection.

We have also included links to the privacy and cookie policies of our technology partners in our our cookie list so that you can control the cookies they place more easily.

3. Our classification of cookies

We have reviewed all the cookies we use and have divided them into four categories:

Strictly Necessary
Performance
Functionality
Advertising or tracking

Strictly Necessary

These cookies are essential to enable you to move around the websites and use its features, such as accessing secure areas of the websites.  Without these cookies, our websites won’t work properly.

Performance

These cookies collect information about how you use our websites, for instance, which pages you go to most often and if you get error messages from those pages.  We only use these cookies to improve how our websites work.

Functionality

These cookies allow us to remember the choices you make (such as your user name) and provide enhanced, more personal features.  These cookies can also be used to remember changes you have made to text size, fonts and other parts of our web pages that you can customise.  They may also be used to provide services you have requested such as watching a video or commenting on a blog.  

Advertising or Tracking Cookies

We do not accept advertising from any other organisation on our websites.  We do however advertise our own products and services on our websites and you may see adverts for us elsewhere on the internet.  The cookies we use to present you with adverts may be based on the content you visit the most on our websites, so we can let you know about what we think you will be interested in.  The cookies show us where you saw the advert; help us measure the effectiveness of our advertising campaigns; and limit the number of times you see an advert.  We also use cookies to tailor the content of our weekly members' newsletter and the emails we send you so that the content is more relevant to you.  As a Which? member you can also visit your My Account section of our website and chose the content you would like to receive in your newsletters.  We also include links to social networks like Facebook who may subsequently use information about your visit to target advertising to you on their websites.

4. Our main technology partners

We work with the following companies in maintaining and improving our website. A brief description of what they do is found below. We ensure that any company which works with us and collects personal data complies with strict data protection standards. If you have any more questions, please do contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

Add This | Privacy Policy

Add This provides the social networking widget found in many of our pages. This widget gives you the tools to bookmark our websites, blog, share, tweet and email our content to a friend.

AdTech | Privacy Policy

Adtech serve some of the internal Which? promotional banners.  We do not take advertising from third parties, so on our site you will only find Which?'s own services advertised.

DC Storm | Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy

DC Storm provides us with our web analytics data - this means detailed information on the performance of our site, such as how many visits have been made to each page.

Google & Google Analytics | Privacy Policy

We use Google Analytics Premium, a web analytics service provided by Google Ireland Limited (“Google”).  Google Analytics Premium uses cookies to help analyse how users use our websites. The information generated by the cookies about your use of our websites and your current IP-address will be transmitted by your browser to and will be stored by Google on servers in the United States and other countries. Google will use this information on our behalf for the purpose of evaluating your use of the website, compiling reports on website activity and providing other services relating to website activity and internet usage to us. The IP address collected through Google Analytics will not be associated with any other data held by Google. You may refuse the use of cookies by selecting the appropriate settings on your browser. You may also stop the transmission of information generated by the cookies about your use of the website and of your IP address to Google, by downloading and installing the Google Analytics Opt-out Browser Add-on available here http://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout.  

In addition, we use Google's remarketing technology to advertise online.  In doing so, Google will place or read a unique ad-serving cookie on your computer and will use non-personal information about your browser and your activity on our sites to serve ads on their content network.  Please click here for more information about remarketing or to opt-out of the Google remarketing cookie.

Omniture | Privacy Policy

Omniture provides us with our web analytics data - this means detailed information on the performance of our site, such as how many visits have been made to each page.

Optimost | Privacy Policy

Optimost enables us to test variations of our website pages or elements within the pages. These tests will usually result in improvements to the website and your experience.

Pluck | Privacy Policy

Pluck provides the software which allows users to interact with our websites - such as our product review commenting feature. They help manage the software on our behalf so they can tell us related statistics - like how many people have left comments on a certain product.

SLI Systems | Privacy Policy

SLI provide the software for the ‘search’ function on our site. When you visit the search box at the top of our site and put in your search term, they will manage this process. They provide us with all search related data - such as what the most popular search terms are.

Yahoo Analytics | Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy

We use Yahoo Analytics to better understand how our customers navigate to and through our websites, how long customers spend visiting our content items and how often they return to visit our websites. Yahoo Analytics also helps us track the effectiveness of the money we spend on our digital marketing campaigns.