What are cookies?
A “cookie” is a small text file containing a string of alphanumeric characters. There are two types of cookies: a persistent cookie and a session cookie. A persistent cookie gets entered by your Web browser into the cookie folder on your computer’s hard drive. A persistent cookie remains in that cookie folder, which is maintained and governed by your Web browser, after you close your browser program. A session cookie is temporary and disappears after you close your browser. DoubleClick’s ad-serving and paid search listing (“DART Search”) products utilize the same cookie: the DART cookie. The DART cookie is a persistent cookie and consists of the name of the domain that set the cookie (“ad.doubleclick.net”), the lifetime of the cookie, and a “value.” DoubleClick’s DART technology generates a unique series of characters for the “value” portion of the cookie.
What is the DoubleClick cookie doing on my computer?
If you have a DoubleClick cookie in your Cookies folder, it is most likely a DART cookie. The DoubleClick DART cookie helps marketers learn how well their Internet advertising campaigns or paid search listings perform. Many marketers and Internet websites use DoubleClick’s DART technology to deliver and serve their advertisements or manage their paid search listings. DoubleClick’s DART products set or recognize a unique, persistent cookie when an ad is displayed or a paid listing is selected. The information that the DART cookie helps to give marketers includes the number of unique users their advertisements were displayed to, how many users clicked on their Internet ads or paid listings, and which ads or paid listings they clicked on.
Why does your cookie keep coming back after I delete it?
When you visit any website or search engine on which DoubleClick’s DART technology is used, our servers will check to see if you already have a DART cookie. If the servers do not receive a DART cookie, the servers will try to set a cookie in response to your browser’s “request” to view that Web page. If you do not want a DART cookie with a unique value, you can obtain a DoubleClick DART “opt out” cookie. Alternatively, you can adjust your Internet browser’s settings for handling cookies. This is explained in the next question.
How can I adjust my cookie settings to accept or decline cookies?
To eliminate cookies you may have currently accepted, and to deny or limit cookies in the future, please follow one of these procedures:
IMPORTANT: IF YOU DELETE YOUR OPT-OUT COOKIE, YOU WILL NEED TO OPT-OUT AGAIN. IF YOUR BROWSER BLOCKS ALL OR THIRD-PARTY COOKIES, YOU WILL BLOCK THE SETTING OF OPT-OUT COOKIES.
- If you are using Internet Explorer 6.0, go to the Tools menu, then to Internet Options, then to the Privacy tab. This version of Internet Explorer is the first to use P3P to distinguish between types of cookies. P3P uses standardized privacy statements made by the cookie issuer to manage your acceptance of cookies. Under the “Privacy” tab, click on the “Advanced” button. Select “Override automatic cookie handling” and choose whether you want to accept, block or be prompted for “First-party” and “Third-party Cookies.” If you want to block all cookies coming from DoubleClick’s doubleclick.net domain, go to the “Web Sites” section under the “Privacy” tab and click the “Edit” button. In the “Address of Web site” field, enter “doubleclick.net,” select “Block,” click OK (menu will disappear); click OK again and you will be back to the browser.
- If you are using Netscape 6.0+, go to “Edit” in the menu bar, click on “Preferences,” click on “Advanced,” and select the “Cookies” field. Now check either the box that says, “Warn me before accepting a cookie” or “Disable cookies.” Click on “OK.” Now go to your “Start” button, click on “Find,” click on “Files and Folders,” type “cookies.txt” into the search box that appears, and click “Find Now.” When the search results appear, drag all files listed, into the “Recycle Bin.” Now shut down and restart your Netscape. Depending on your earlier choice you will either be prompted by new cookie sets or no cookies will be set or received.
- If you are using Mozilla or Safari, please go to their websites to find out how to disable cookies in those programs.
What are Web beacons?
Web beacons are small strings of HTML code that are placed in a Web page. They are sometimes called “clear GIFs” (Graphics Interchange Format) or “pixel tags.” Web beacons are most often used in conjunction with cookies. DoubleClick uses Web beacons in connection with its products and services, including ad serving and paid search listings (“DART Search”). Because a Web beacon is only 1 pixel high by 1 pixel wide, it appears invisible on your computer screen. If Web beacons were made larger (e.g., 100 pixels high by 100 pixels wide), it would take much longer for your Web page to load and would clutter up the page that you have requested.
In 2002, working with a broad spectrum of companies, including other technology companies, seal providers and websites, DoubleClick helped draft “Best Practice” guidelines for disclosing the use of Web beacons. Please click here to see these guidelines – and a list of the companies that participated in developing them.
“Personally identifiable information” is any information that can identify or locate a particular person, including but not limited to name, address, telephone number, email address, social security number, bank account number or credit card number.
What is “non personally identifiable information” (“non-PII”)?
“Non-personally identifiable information” is information that cannot identify a particular person. This type of information includes a user’s Internet Service Provider, a computer’s operating system and browser type, and a unique DoubleClick DART cookie ID.
DoubleClick’s ad-serving and search products utilize non-PII. Some of our clients may associate PII that you have given them (for example, a customer number, if you have registered at or purchased from their websites), with their advertising campaigns. Although this customer number may be passed from the client to DoubleClick’s ad servers during the ad delivery process, DoubleClick cannot recognize this information as PII and cannot link it to any person.
To DoubleClick, “sensitive information” categorically includes but is not limited to data related to an individual's health or medical condition, sexual behavior or orientation, or detailed personal finances, information that appears to relate to children under the age of 13 at the time of data collection; and PII otherwise protected under federal or state law (for example, cable subscriber information or video rental records). DoubleClick does not use any “sensitive information” to target Internet advertisements.
In order to support their content without charging visitors, websites sell advertising space on their Web pages. Companies like DoubleClick provide technology for the websites and advertisers to use to display ads on the websites. DoubleClick’s ad servers work at the direction – and on behalf – of our clients.
When you visit a website, your computer’s Internet browser transmits a “request” to that website’s server, “asking” that server to send you the Web page that you are seeking. Most Web pages contain components that are pulled from different sources. For example, a Web page at a news site may get its weather section from one provider, its sports results from a different source, and advertisements from other servers.
If the website is using DoubleClick’s technology to display ads on its site, the Web page will contain coding that directs your browser to fill the ad space on the Web page with content from one of DoubleClick’s ad servers. DoubleClick’s clients select the format, content, and location of the ads, as well as the criteria for controlling which ads to show and when to show them. DoubleClick’s ad-serving technology uses a cookie to help clients determine what ads to display. When a “call” is received by DoubleClick’s ad servers, the server checks to see if the “calling” browser has sent a cookie with the request for advertising. If the server doesn’t “see” either a unique DoubleClick cookie or an opt-out cookie, after “testing” to see whether the browser will accept cookies, the server sets a unique DoubleClick ad cookie. If the browser already has a unique DoubleClick ad cookie, the server “recognizes” the cookie and uses the unique ID for targeting and reporting purposes as specified by the DoubleClick client. If the browser has an opt-out DoubleClick cookie, the server uses only the non-cookie related information that is automatically transmitted in the Internet environment (e.g., browser type, Internet service provider, and information about the general content of the site or page displayed on your browser) to determine which ad to show. Sometimes Web beacons are used in conjunction with the DART cookie when clients want more versatile targeting or reporting capabilities.
How does an ad-serving client use DoubleClick’s technology to target or select which ad to deliver?
Our clients store their ads on DoubleClick’s ad servers. When you visit a Web page on which a client is using DoubleClick technology to deliver ads, coding that the website publisher placed in the Web page tells your computer’s browser to send a request for an ad to the DoubleClick ad server. When the DoubleClick ad server receives a request, it will select an ad based on the criteria that the client has chosen together with any information logged against the unique cookie id.
For example, a client’s website may attract an audience of mainly men, aged between 18 and 45, who are interested in sports, fashion and electronic gadgets. The client will therefore approach sports, fashion and electronic gadget retailers to see if they would like to advertise on the site. Those retailers will provide the client with ads, which the client will store on the DoubleClick ad servers. The client will assign those ads specific codes, such as sports = 1, fashion = 2, and electronic gadgets = 3. On the pages where the website publisher wants to show all three categories of ads, the website will install an ad tag that contains all three codes. On pages of the website that the client thinks attracts only men interested in sports, an ad tag that contains only the code for sports, code 1, may be installed.
DoubleClick does not tell clients which criteria to select or which advertisements to target against those criteria. Clients choose the categories they wish to attach to the advertising that they have contracted to show, what code(s) they wish to attach to those categories, and which code(s) they wish to include in each of their ad request tags. In their contracts with DoubleClick, DoubleClick’s ad-serving clients promise not to use information that DoubleClick could recognize as either “sensitive” or “personally identifiable” to target ads.
What information is collected by a client using DoubleClick’s ad serving technology?
Each time one of DoubleClick's ad servers receives a request for an ad or for a Web beacon, information about the request received and the ad or Web beacon served – for example, the date, the time, the website to which the ad or image was delivered, the cookie ID to which the ad was shown, the operating system which the browser was using – will be recorded.
Does DoubleClick itself do anything with this ad-serving information?
No. The information that is recorded on the DoubleClick servers by our clients’ use of our technology belongs to our clients. Although that information may be logged on a DoubleClick server, DoubleClick's relationship with the client is that of an agent or processor. Consequently, DoubleClick does not own that information and cannot, therefore, use that information for its own business purposes or in any way not authorized by the relevant client. DoubleClick clients do, however, give us permission to use statistical or aggregate information derived from their use of the technology – e.g., statistics about the number of ads served through the technology per month or analyses about, for example, what time of day is the best time to target certain types of ads.
Does DoubleClick sell the ad serving information to other companies?
No. The data that DoubleClick’s servers record during ad serving belong to DoubleClick’s clients, and DoubleClick cannot and does not sell that information to other companies. DoubleClick can, however, use its aggregate analyses about the effectiveness of ad campaigns to help clients develop more efficient and successful campaigns.
A pop-up is basically the opening of a new window in your browser.
DoubleClick provides its ad-serving clients with a means of choosing and reporting on ads. It is the website owners or the advertisers with whom they contract that make the decisions about the format of the ads. The advertisers choose whether they want to have banner ads or pop ups delivered, and they use our technology to make it happen. The website owners and advertisers choose the size and frequency of pop-up ads. DoubleClick has no control over which ad format website publishers or their advertisers choose.
Generally, there are a couple of different ways that you might receive pop up advertising:
- The site you are currently visiting has sold an advertising opportunity to a marketer and that marketer has chosen to create an advertisement that opens a new browser window. This is a form of “traditional” Internet advertising.
- You have some kind of ad-delivery software installed (intentionally or unintentionally, knowingly or unknowingly) on your computer. This type of software often comes bundled with freeware such as P2P (Peer-to-Peer) music sharing applications. It may track the sites you visit and scan their contents looking for triggers that match criteria identified by advertisers that purchased space from the software manufacturer. The software program will then display advertisements on your monitor.
What is spyware?
This term has been applied to a very broad range of technologies and activities -- from the mere setting of a cookie to the surreptitious installation of key-logging software on consumers’ computers. There are many anti-spyware programs on the market and they each have their own definition of “spyware”. For example, some programs identify cookies as “spyware”, while others do not. Some software programs that monitor the websites that consumers visit in order to deliver context-based advertisements have been categorized as “adware.” Many of these adware programs are responsible for the pop-up advertisements that you see.
DoubleClick does not consider its products either “spyware” or “adware.” We believe that consumers should be provided meaningful notice and choice with respect to information collected and used about them.