W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > November 2001

Re: Is it OK to require per-session cookies?

From: Vix <vixcc@yahoo.com>
Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2001 18:32:58 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <20011128023258.12705.qmail@web21101.mail.yahoo.com>
To: (wrong string) ørgensen" <jonasj@jonasj.dk>, www-html@w3.org
--- Jonas Jørgensen <jonasj@jonasj.dk> wrote:
> Hi.
> 
> A quick question: Do you think it's acceptable to for e-commerce sites
> to require per-session cookies? It is so much easier to track users with
> a session cookie than to put the session id in every link and form...
> 
> /Jonas
> 

To make things short, you will have to take the following into consideration:
- Some people hate cookies
- Some people understand cookies and can use them in a safe way
- Some people don't even know what cookies are!

As a designer, I think that the best thing to do is to try to do your best to avoid using them.
URL re-writing helps such cases and sessions can be saved server-side.

Yet, if you think that using cookies helps save you a LOT of work while keeping your visitors to a
maximum, try having the following:

- Use secure-encrypted cookies
- Have a "Cookies Required" link available and clear with full reasons why cookies are used.
- Add a privacy section describing what you will use the cookie for and how your visitors can make
their cookie usage safe (by allowing the browser to send it back to its original server, for
example)

If you had to use cookies, use them in a proper way.
I know a lot of websites that do, and I know a lot of websites that don't.
Baseline, it is a decision that needs to be taken while calculating costs and benefits for each
available decision. 

The most important factor is the answer to the question: 
What if cookies were turned off?!

I hope this helps...

Best regards,

Vix!


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Received on Tuesday, 27 November 2001 21:33:01 GMT

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