We use them to understand how people use our website, via software called Analytics. We use this as aggregated data, which means we are analysing trends, not for individual users. It is important to understand that the EU directive does not deem Analytics as strictly necessary for the functioning of any website, which is the reason we need to bring this to your attention.
In order to earn money through websites, we use advertising partners, and occasionally sell advertising space directly. Under most circumstances, we do not allow intrusive advertising on our website, like pop up windows. Instead, we choose to slot ads carefully into our site so that you can see them but they do not interfere with your ability to see our content.
Some (but not all) partners will drop cookies onto your computer in order to track clicks on those advertisements, in order to be able to work out what works for them in terms of generating leads and sales for advertisers, and to make sure we get paid for the business we generate on their behalf.