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The context is a third-party analytics service, specifically Quantcast, but the inquiries are more general in nature. Please forgive and correct me if any of my assumptions are off, and thank you in advance for your help.

  1. I understand that cookies are based on a 'give and get' system where the first request sets the cookie on the user machine and the second request from the user sends the cookie-related data back to the machine. What might the implications be then for single page view sessions? For instance, can the server confirm receipt without a second request and would it be able to know if the machine was unique (e.g. relay information about presence of a previously-issued cookie)?

  2. Scenario: Assuming pages A,B, and C are all on the same domain, a cookie is set when a user visits page A. The user follows a link to page B but while the page is loading and before the get request is sent to the server, the user clicks on a link to page C. He allows page C to load completely and the get request is received. In that request/response for page C, does the server also receive information that the user had visited page B?

Thanks, Abel

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1 Answer 1

I'm not sure I completely understand this question, but I will attempt to explain how cookies work in the context of Quantcast and hopefully that will explain things

  1. When you include a Quantcast cookie into your site, you're actually including a small piece of Javascript that reads and writes that cookie. When a visitor gets to your page and the Javascript is run which reads/updates the cookie, and sends the information that Quantcast wants to the Quantcast server. This cookie is used similarly to Google Analytics cookies in that yes, it can identify a unique user, but it suffers from the same drawback in that if people have cookies disabled, or even just third-party cookies disabled, then they will not be tracked "properly".

  2. No, a user does not register as having visited page B. In order for a user to register as having visited a page that did not load completely, the portion of the page that tracks would have to have loaded. In your example the user clicks to page C before any of page B is loaded at all, which would mean the javascript that Quantcast uses to read those cookies will not have been loaded.

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