That’s what cookies do. Nearly everything else you hear about them is b.s. and hysteria. They are extremely small text files that give marketers basic information make your web surfing experience better.
I use Human Click/Live Person which allows us to chat with customers real time and gives us the above basic stats. It tells me what ip address people are on, city, state, urls, time on site. This is all info a marketer NEEDS to know to better serve their customers.
On a lot of my sites I have Google Analytics on them. This again tells time on site, url’s visited, sometimes actions. I also use pixels from Facebook that allow me to serve retargeting ads.
I try to track as many actions on a site as I can like links clicked, opt ins, etc.
We share info with 3rd parties like Live Person, Google Analytics, and so forth. We’re always testing different programs that track different stuff. I use Adtrackz and budurl to track clicks on links, actions and sales.
Also, we take credit card orders on our site. We maintain databases with your order information in secure areas.
You’re probably right to be concerned about privacy. The programs we use are innocuous and made to help us serve you products you WANT to buy. And to help us buy ads that work, so we are here tomorrow to serve you.