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by Ben Norman on 1st December 2011
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Hi. My name is Ben Norman and I’m the MD here at Koozai and today I’m going to be talking to you about the new cookie law that came into effect on the 26th of May, 2011. Now, in the UK, we’ve been given a year long extension, so for us it comes into play on the 26th of May, 2012, but it’s important to note that if you’re dealing with companies outside of the UK and doing business in these areas, then you need to make sure that you conform because they don’t have the extension that we do and you’re going to be expected to comply with this as of now. So if you’re dealing with countries and users outside of the UK, you need to make sure this is in place. Just because you’re based in the UK doesn’t make you exempt.
So the new cookie law is all about flipping things on its head. So instead of users having to opt out of cookies and things like that, they now have to opt in. So it turns everything on its head. It’s not very good for us because it makes things a lot more complicated, but it is what it is and we need to obviously make sure that we conform.
So the first part of that is performing an audit, and that is to decide what kind of cookies we’re collecting, the usage, and what they’re used for. So once we’ve got those, we need to assess the level of intrusiveness of those cookies, so what’s the level of data that they’re storing, if it’s just sort of menial kind of data or is it really in depth tracking of what they’re doing, where they’ve been. Obviously, one is a lot more intrusive than the other. Now certain things aren’t going to be subject to the cookie law. Really basic cookie kind of tracking, such as if you have an eCommerce site and all you’re doing is literally storing a cookie so that you know what they’ve put in their shopping basket so they can check out and complete the purchase, that’s different. That’s not going to come under this, and you’re not going to have to feed back on the usage of that, but that is really low level, basic stuff. Anything more than that, you are going to be bound by this and you are going to have to conform.
So you’ve assessed the level of intrusiveness, so that you work out how intrusive all of them are, if it’s basic or not and then get it all together. You then need to decide on the best solution for how you’re going to then present this information to your users. So we’re going to basically take one of the below. So we could go with pop-ups, so when a new user comes to your site, a little pop-up window, you’re going to inform people of the kind of cookies that you’re going to collect and why. They going to have a chance to opt in or opt out of those cookies. So they can make an informed decision.
You could use T’s and C’s, which is what people typically use now. In the T’s and C’s, you’ll have a big section on the kind of cookies that you’re storing and you give people a way that they can actually opt out. Well, this is sort of flipping it round. If they’re, say, registering for your website, they’ll have to register before they go on it, or it’s a service they’re signing up to, something like that, the T’s and C’s are right at the front. They have to agree to those cookies or you give them a chance to do that in that process.
You’ve got settings led. So with that, when someone comes to the website, they may have to set certain things. So they may have to set the text size or how different things are displayed. You could have the cookie data stuff in there so they have to deal with that at that time. You’ve also got feature led. So say someone’s watching a video and they need to go in, select the video, and hit “play.” At the same time, you could have them having to try and select whether they’re going to accept cookies or not. So there are the main kind of ways.
There are a couple of issues that come this with now. Obviously, you’ve got the functionality issues, say things like with analytics, it’s going to be biased data if not everybody is signing in. You’re still going to need to present it properly, and we’ve also got third party cookies, so any other software or tools that you’re using within your website, you’re going to need to inform people. If you are taking third party cookies and that data is then going somewhere else, you’re going to need to inform them what that is and what it’s being used for.
So yeah, that’s the new cookie law. Like I say, the 26th of May, 2011, it came across the rest of Europe, but obviously in the UK, we’ve got a year’s extension, but you need to act early because they’ve already said that they’re going to deal very differently with people if there are issues reported and people who get investigated. They’re going to deal very differently with people who they can see have clearly tried to
make an effort and conform and give people the information back rather than people who have not bothered at all. They’re going to come down a lot harder on them. So, yeah, hopefully if you look at this, you’re probably not going to get caught out as much as the people that don’t.
So I’m Ben Norman. Thanks for watching. For more information, check out the website or any of the social properties along the bottom. Have a great Christmas and wish you all the best for 2012. Thanks a lot.
Managing Director of Koozai, Ben Norman has extensive knowledge of search engine marketing. A regular writer on the subject, Ben’s first book, ‘Getting Noticed on Google’ has sold over 50,000 copies. Ben’s comprehensive knowledge is written in a straightforward and easily understandable way; be sure to read his sought after contributions on the future of Koozai.