SGIS updates & advice

Know your cookies

From 26 May 2012 the EU is introducing a new law that will affect websites that use non-essential cookies. The law states that these sites must inform their visitors publicly and get their agreement to allow cookies to be used before they can continue browsing. Non-essential cookies are considered to be cookies that aren’t needed to make the website function.

Not sure what cookies are? Find out here en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTTP_cookie

Examples of Non-essential
Cookies that track visitor numbers and movements
Advertising cookies
Cookies that recognise a user to offer a tailored advert/message

Examples of essential cookies
Cookies that remember goods in a shopping basket
Cookies that improve a website’s loading speed
Cookies relating to security

Who does this effect

Most websites will use cookies, in fact a massive 92% of websites do. If you use Google Analytics this drops cookies in order to record a visitor’s movements, so if you use Google Analytics you’ll be effected. The law also applies to individuals as well as businesses so even if you run a small blog you need to consider this.

If you’re not sure if your site is using cookies this site can scan your webpage and gives a report of your cookie status – www.cookiecert.com

What do you need to do

The law isn’t very clear and many businesses are struggling to find a single solution as one size doesn’t fit all. Also restricting cookies can cause massive problems to how websites monitor and track sales across sites – if you use affiliate marketing you’re likely to see a reduction in sales if cookies are restricted. However there are a few add-ons available that implement a fairly unintrusive cookie message. It’s also worth adding a cookie privacy policy (or update your existing policy) so it’s clear to visitors what you’re recording and why.

Some add-ons that are available for free are;
cookieq.com
civicuk.com – also available as a WordPress plugin
eu cookie directive/ – WordPress plugin

If you want to find out more about this law please see the ICC’s UK Cookie Guide

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