Feeds

90% of visitors declined ICO website's opt-out cookie

Oh sir... it's only wafer thin... Just the one, sir...

Boost IT visibility and business value

As we know, no one is on time in implementing the EU's cookies directive. Well, two countries managed to get their laws in place in time, the other 25 didn't bother.

The UK has given everyone a year to comply, a year longer than we're supposed to have. Not fixing your website doesn't seem to be an option, given the £500,000 fines that can possibly be levied.

All of which is something of a problem. Anyone running a website knows that when someone visits that site you want to know where they're from. Not, particularly, because website masters are nosy bastards, but because the advertisers you rely upon to pay for the website want to know. No know, no cash.

But the way we know is by the cookies, and now we have to allow people to opt out from those cookies when they visit the site. There's only one site I know of which currently complies with the law: the Information Commissioner's site. Get there and you'll see this:

The ICO would like to use cookies to store information on your computer, to improve our website. One of the cookies we use is essential for parts of the site to operate and has already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but parts of the site will not work. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy notice.

I accept cookies from this site. [tickbox]

OK, so far, so bletheringly stupid, but hardly the end of the world. Which is what makes looking at it from the other side so interesting. Intrepid researcher Vicky Brock filed a FOI request and found that, umm, recorded traffic fell by 90 per cent.

At least that's what happened with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) when it implemented the new law with existing technology. Over 90 per cent of site visitors declined to accept a Google Analytics cookie, thereby disappearing from their analytics.

We all know that most websites don't collect all the information we'd like to from visitors – and the advertisers know this too. But if this is replicated across the web, then it's rather a serious kick in the teeth for the idea of an advertising-supported web.

Lord Lever pointed out that he knew that half his advertising was wasted, just not which half. Cookies and click-throughs and all that are supposed to help out in the brave new digital world. But if we're in future only going to get 10 per cent of the information we currently do: well, how much are advertisers going to want to spend on blasting ads who knows where? ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.