News Courtesy of Fastcompany.comm:
A typical web page can have many dozens of cookies (even hundreds, in some cases), which track your behavior for everyone from advertisers to developers–a practice also known as design optimization. When Europe’s sweeping privacy regulations (called GDPR) took effect in May, it was unclear just how much the new rules would affect this completely ubiquitous fact of life on the internet, but a report from the Reuters Institute gives us an early look: Among news sites–which tend to use the most cookies, since they’re dependent on ad dollars–cookies are down by 22%.
I’ve definitely noticed more cookie notification bars these days while browsing various websites. On the one hand, I understand the caution that webmasters must have for maintaining compliance. On the other, it’s getting a little annoying dealing with these additional obstructions. Yes, I realize my personal information might be collected and stored. Usually, this information is strictly behavioral or geographical in nature. Where Am I located? What links have I clicked on? That sort of thing. I really don’t care what is done with that information.
The cookie notification bar is just one additional nuisance that must be interacted with to wholly navigate a website. When you add push notifications, email subscription pop-ups, and chatbots on top of that it gets to be a bit much. Is it really necessary to inform visitors that you’re obtaining certain information for in-house use only? The GDPR law expects that your website is as transparent as possible. Even if you’re using this information solely for your own benefit. Such as tracking behavior with Google Analytics.
I Don’t Live in Europe, So I’m Not Worrying About GDPR
Well.. those of you who think that way might want to re-evaluate your audience and affiliations. Yes, Joe plumber in Arkansas shouldn’t sweat over his website being GDPR-compliant. But what about websites in the U.S. with ties in Europe?
American-based Amazon affiliate websites, for instance, should think long and hard about implementing a GDPR policy. Since Amazon has 9 different stores across the globe which anyone can be an affiliate for, it could be dangerous to ignore GDPR. Amazon UK could decide that you’re in violation of their terms of service for not respecting GDPR. Maybe they ban your UK affiliate account? Then who’s to say any other Amazon affiliate stores won’t ban your other accounts. Sort of like a domino effect.
No one really knows what type of enforcement lies ahead for GDPR, but it would be foolish to at least not look at the risks. As much as a pain in the ass it might be to set up GDPR compliance on your website, if you have a decent amount of international traffic, it’s probably best to deal with it sooner rather than later.
GDPR Plugins for WordPress
Luckily the WordPress community is on top of GDPR. One search in the plugin directory and you can see many different options. How you decide to handle the issue is up to you. Do you risk annoying non-European visitors of your website? What about using geo-targeting to only show notices TO European visitors?
Several free and premium plugins are available to assist you in those decisions. For precisiondigital-llc.com I won’t be implementing any sort of GDPR. Yes, I get international traffic but my business is targeting domestic clients only. My affiliate website on the other hand.. Once it starts to get a good amount of traffic, I will look at all options for balancing GDPR and the user experience.