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Privacy/Cookie Policy

Note: this privacy and cookie policy is still a work in progress!

Last updated: January 19, 2020


If you give me information about yourself, usually an email address and a name, I will NOT use the information I collect through subscriptions or the contact form for anything except to send emails to you. I will NOT share these addresses with anyone else. Frankly, that’s a scummy thing to do, and I’m not like that!

I use Ezoic for ad placements on my site. Their privacy policy is here.

I use MailChimp to store the addresses that I collect, so your information is on their site, which is also required to be GDPR compliant. Their privacy policy is here.  If you wish to have your name removed from my list, click the “unsubscribe” link on the next email you get from Rachel’s Ruminations.

Cookie Policy

Rachel Heller (“I”, “me”, or “my”) uses cookies on Rachel’s Ruminations (the “Service”). By using the Service, you consent to the use of cookies.

My Cookie Policy explains what cookies are, how I use cookies, how third-parties I may partner with may use cookies on the Service, your choices regarding cookies and further information about cookies.

What are cookies?

Cookies are small pieces of text sent by your web browser by a website you visit. A cookie file is stored in your web browser and allows the Service or a third-party to recognize you and make your next visit easier and the Service more useful to you. If you’re on the internet at all, you’ve got cookies on your computer, and on-line life would not be so easy without them!

How Rachel’s Ruminations uses cookies

When you use and access the Service, I may place a number of cookie files in your web browser.

I use cookies for the following purposes: to enable certain functions of the Service, to provide analytics, to store your preferences, to enable advertisements delivery, including behavioral advertising.

[On a side note, does it bother you like it bothers me that they use the word “cookie” for this? It besmirches the character of one of the true joys in life!]

1. Technical or Essential cookies

These are cookies that are necessary to operate the Service. For example, a cookie detects if you are a hacker trying to crash the site so that it can block you. These types of cookies are legal without your permission and you cannot opt out of them.

Rachel’s Ruminations contains the following:

wordpress_test_cookie: This cookie is used on sites built with WordPress.  It tests whether or not the browser has cookies enabled. (Yes, you need a cookie to show whether you accept cookies!) It does not stay on your browser when your session is over.

__cfduid: This cookie is used by Cloudflare, a content network, to identify trusted web traffic. It stays on your browser for a year if you don’t actively delete it.

__smVID: Sumo provides this cookie, and it is necessary for the sign-up function on the website. Stays on your browser for a month.

A note about Sumo: I use Sumo for the little pop-up you get sometimes asking you to sign up for my newsletter and, in theory, it knows if you’ve already signed up and won’t show you the pop-up anymore. That requires cookies. If you sign up, the address gets stored on MailChimp’s website. MailChimp’s privacy policy is here.

bkng: This is necessary for booking.com to work on the website. Stays on your browser for five years.

2. Targeting/marketing cookies

These cookies all help you share my posts [Please share my posts!] or help you follow me on social media [Please follow me!]. They also allow the company involved to collect user data to target advertising, etc. They are not necessary to use the Service.

csrftoken: This cookie, owned by Instagram, helps prevent Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) attacks. (I have no idea what that means, but it sounds nasty!) Stays on your browser for one year.

GPS: YouTube is a Google owned platform for hosting and sharing videos. YouTube collects user data through videos embedded in websites, which is aggregated with profile data from other Google services in order to display targeted advertising to web visitors across a broad range of their own and other websites. GPS registers a unique ID on mobile devices to enable tracking based on geographical GPS location. Stays on your browser for a day.

IDE: Owned by Google DoubleClick, it is used to register and report the website user’s actions after viewing or clicking on one of the advertiser’s ads. The point is to measure the ad’s efficacy and to offer targeted ads to the user. Stays on your browser for a year.

mid: Another Instagram cookie, mid is used to identify the visitor to, for example, allow the visitor to log in to a website through their Instagram account. Stays on your browser for ten years.

PREF: This is a common Google cookie, used across several of their services. It registers a unique ID that is used by Google to keep statistics of how the visitor uses YouTube videos across different websites. Stays on your browser for eight months.

r/collect: This cookie sends data to Google Analytics about the visitor’s device and behavior. It tracks the visitor across devices and marketing channels. Only stays on your browser for the duration of your session.

rur: Yet another Instagram cookie, this one ensures visitor browsing security by preventing cross-site request forgery. It’s essential for the security of the website and visitor. Only lasts for the duration of your browser session.

test_cookie: This one is used to check if the user’s browser supports cookies. Stays on your browser for a day.

VISITOR_INFO1_LIFE: Another YouTube cookie, this one is used to estimate the user’s bandwidth on pages with integrated YouTube videos. Stays on your browser for 179 days.

YSC: This one, also by YouTube, registers a unique ID to keep statistics on what videos from YouTube the user has seen. Only stays on your browser for the length of your session.

yt-remote-cast-installed / yt-remote-connected-devices / yt-remote-device-id / yt-remote-fast-check-period / yt-remote-session-app /yt-remote-session-name: These cookies store the user’s video player preferences using embedded YouTube video. All only stay on your browser for the session, except for yt-remote-connected-devices and yt-remote-device-id, which both stay permanently on your browser.

__smSessionId: This cookie from Sumo.com is necessary for the sign-up function to work on the website. Stays on your browser for a day.

3. Analytics cookies

These help me to know more about you, but not in a creepy stalkerish kind of way! I can, for example, use Google Analytics to analyse who comes to the Service: where in the world my readers live, what pages they visit most often, how long they stay on average, etc. This is all aggregated data, so it won’t tell me anything about you individually. Look at my media kit and you’ll see some of that aggregated data.

Rachel’s Ruminations contains the following:

__smToken: A cookie to show whether a user has logged in or not. It stays on your browser for a year.

__ga and __gid: These cookies register a unique ID that is used to generate statistical data on how the visitor uses the website. __ga stays on your browser for two years, while __gid only stays for a day.

__gat: This cookie name is associated with Google Analytics, and it is used to throttle the request rate – limiting the collection of data on high traffic sites. Stays on your browser for a day.

uvc: From addtoany.com, which provides the social sharing features on Rachel’s Ruminations, this cookie updates the counter for the social sharing features. Stays on your browser for a day.

4. Other cookies

I’m not sure how to categorize these, and neither did the site I used, OneTrust, to generate this list of cookies. So it’s just “other.”

InLinkz is the site that allows me to take part in the Travel Photo Thursday blog post share.

__smScrollBoxShown: This is somehow related to Sumo and stays on the browser for 30 years.

_pxhd: This is from booking.com and stays on your browser for a year.

cookielawinfo-checkbox-necessary and cookielawinfo-checkbox-non-necessary: I assume that these have something to do with the popup banner asking for cookie permissions. Both of these only stay on your browser for a day.

What are your choices regarding cookies?

Here’s a tip: if you’d like to delete cookies across all the websites you visit, or instruct your web browser to delete or refuse cookies, you can set your browser to do so. Visit the help pages of your web browser to find out how. It’ll make everything you do online more difficult, though, because sites won’t remember when you visited last and you’ll have to keep entering information over and over. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Here’s another tip: if you want to visit a particular website anonymously, but not to delete all cookies for all websites, use incognito mode. In Google chrome, you can get there by pressing shift+control+n. 

Please note, however, that if you delete cookies or refuse to accept them, you might not be able to use all of the features the Service offers, you may not be able to store your preferences, and some of the pages might not display properly.

Where can you find more information about cookies?

You can learn more about cookies at the following third-party websites: