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ICO Cookie Monster Strikes Tomorrow

Friday, May 25th, 2012

May 25, 2012

On May 26, 2011, a new web privacy law came into effect in the United Kingdom (UK). The UK was first of the 27 European Union (EU) states to bring their laws in line with the directive intended to protect the privacy of individuals within the EU. With an understanding that there is work to be done and technical issues to resolve, the UK Government extended a one-year grace period for web sites to comply with the new regulations.

Well, the time as come! Effective tomorrow, the grace period is over and the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) will be authorized to impose fines of up to £500,000 — heavy!. In theory, all web sites that serve UK visitors would be subject to this legislation. In reality however, it will be very hard to pursue a case against companies with no legal presence in the EU.

While a few organizations may be looking to leverage web server locations as a scapegoat, it is the location of the legal entities that the enforcement agencies will be focused on– the web host locations won’t matter. There are many types of cookies and forms of consent, so the rules can get pretty complicated. So before you decide to cuddle with the cookie monster, consider that he can complicate your life and confine your business. For example, the legislation does not require consent for cookies to be used in situations defined as ‘strictly necessary’ — but what does that mean? As currently clarified, if a user has placed an order online, then it’s implied by the user’s initial request that permission be granted without further consent to interfere with the transaction. This is just one example of an exemption to the consent requirement, and there are likely to be many more as the battle continues. Very few precedents have been set, so it will be interesting to watch the progression in Europe — and to compare and contrast with the ‘Do Not Track’ agendas in the United States.

To further complicate the legislative implications, take a peek at the definition of “Consent” as noted in the Open letter on the UK implementation of Article 5(3) of the e-Privacy Directive on cookies: “Consent” is defined in the Data Protection Directive as “any freely given specific and informed indication of his wishes.” Note that there are no time constraints associated with this definition, and no specification that the consent must be “prior consent”. Therefore, it is possible that consent may be given after or during processing.

While a few of us may start to feel better about our online privacy, and I’d expect virtually none from the online marketing communities, this legislation has negative implications. The efforts required to acquire informed consent on the use of cookies are likely to be costly for web site owners and businesses. Non-compliant web site owners will have an advantage as well, because their users will not be faced with questions that interfere with their browsing and buying activities.

Is the EU agenda overkill? Why can’t we just rely on innovative solutions that work with our browsers, like Ghostery for instance, to give us better insight and control?

To learn more about online behavioral advertising using cookies, take a look at the video below from Christina Tsuei at The Wall Street Journal. This was created back in 2010, but still very relevant and helpful for understanding how cookies work.

Free Marketing Widget for Addressable Media

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

To add the free marketing widget to your web site or blog, just copy and paste the following code into the HTML document where you want it to appear:

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Installing the Mailing Lists Search Tool

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

To add the mailing lists search tool to your web site and provide your visitors with access to over 60,000 mailing lists, just copy and paste the following code into the HTML document where you want the search tool to appear:

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Top 100 Social Media Cheat Sheet for Business

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Social marketing is on the rise and it’s here to stay. Are you still trying to figure out how to leverage social media for your business? You can start by learning the language with definitions from the marketing glossary, and then use this cheat sheet as a reference for most commonly used tools.

A few months ago a cheat sheet was introduced as a tool to help marketers get organized with Web 2.0 and social media marketing. Many new services have emerged since then. Therefore, several of those respective web sites have been added to this page as a quick reference linking to 100 free social marketing resources and online directories.

Bookmark this page or add it to your favorite places for quick and easy access to several of the top services by category. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list, and some of these sites may not be the top choices internationally. However, it is a valuable resource for leveraging many of the top networks in the U.S., and can help you gain some international exposure as well.

Basic services must be free to qualify for inclusion on the top 100 list below. For your convenience, each title is linked directly to the respective site’s home page. I hope you will find this to be a helpful resource for your business. Feel free to connect with me (DeMartine) on LinkedIn if you would like to share other resources that are available online.

Linkedin Facebook Twitter Delicious Digg Reddit StumbleUpon

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Free Social Media Resources (Top 100)

Aggregation Tools (5):  Bloglines, FriendFeed, Lifestream.fm, Lijit, YouBundle

Blogs (7):  Blog.com, Blogger, Livejournal, Posterous, Tumblr, Typepad, WordPress

Blog Directories (10):  Blogapedia, Blogarama, BlogCatalog, Blogdirs, Blog Flux, BloghubBlog Listing, Blogtoplist, BritBlog, Technorati

Bookmarks (12):  Delicious, Digg, Diigo, FarkMixx, MyBlogLog, Newsvine, Propeller, Reddit, Slashdot, StumbleUponYahoo! Buzz

Comment Systems (2):  DISQUS, IntenseDebate

Free Directory Listings (25):  Akama, Bateekh, BizHWY, Cardboard, CrunchBase, DMOZ, EVliving, GetFreeListing, Google Local, IllumiRate, Jayde, Jigsaw, Librarians’ Internet Index, Little Web Directory, Manta, MerchantCircleNextMark, Simple DirectorySpoke, SuperPages, Tradevibes, TurnPike, WebBuyersGuide, Web World, Yahoo! Local

Marketing Trends (2):  Google Trends, Universe Trends

Name Checks (2):  Namechk, Usernamecheck

Post Documents (3):  eHow, Google Docs, Scribd

Post Presentations (3):  AuthorSTREAM, Myplick, Slideshare

Post Videos (2):  Vimeo, YouTube

Press Releases: (4):  i-Newswire, PR.com, PressReleasePoint, PRLog.org

Publish Articles (5):  ArticleDashboardArticles FACTORY, Ezinearticles, IdeaMarketers, Yahoo Articles Group

Social Networks (8):  Biznik, Crowdvine, Facebook, LinkedIn, Ning, NowPublic, Plaxo, Viadeo

Twitter Tools (5):  GraderPing, TweetDeck, TweetLater, Twitter

URL Shorteners (4):  bit.lydoiop, memurl, TinyURL

Wikis (3):  Pbwiki, Wetpaint, Wikipedia

Tip:  Since PageRank is important to your exposure on the Google search engine results page (SERP), you may want to check out the page rank for each of these services as well. That can be done for free online by using the PageRank Checker (higher = better).

Tip:  adding your blog to the directories can improve your search rankings and exposure; the same is true for your web site and your business. That’s the reason for including 35 directory listings (25 free directory listings + 10 blog directories) in the top 100. You only need to do it once, so take advantage of them.

Question:  Web 3.0 is to  ?   as Web 2.0 is to social media…

Your feedback is welcome!