Not everyone likes cookies

Published: 02/10/2023 By Elliott Rowland - COO

You might be thinking to yourself, who doesn’t like cookies? The delicious chocolate chip infused biscuit is surely impossible to resist?

Cookies aren’t just an irresistible snack, but a term used in the website world to describe a small file of data that a web server generates and sends to a browser.

This might sound complicated, but in essence a cookie simply enables the browser to remember who you are what you’ve done on a website. This helps deliver personalized website content such as a welcome messages, remember your login details to an account so you don’t have to continually type our your email address, or deliver personalised adverts based on your previous shopping habits.

They can also be used for the purposes of analytics to provide the website owner with important information about the user behavior on their site.

Whilst extremely useful, cookies are increasingly under the microscope. Whilst in theory they can be innocent enough, they can vary immensely in what they do, and legislators are increasingly putting the power back in the hands of the website user to give greater visibility in how their online behavior is being tracked.

Company’s now have a raft of legislative hoops to jump through, from GDPR compliance to the less well known PECR (Privacy & Electronic Communications Regulations), it can be hard to keep track of what you need to do to remain compliant.

Increasingly, companies are subject to scrupulous data protection claims from individuals claiming their data rights have been breached when visiting the company’s website and “cookies” were used without their consent. These claims are usually accompanied by a request for compensation in the hope a company will simply pay up to avoid the threat of a potentially more damaging claim.
 
This claims can seem even more threatening when one doesn’t feel entirely up to speed with what is required in an increasingly complicated and confusing landscape. So how can you avoid such claims and ensure compliance?

What can you do?

  • Ensure your website has a cookie notice pop up. This might seem like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many websites don’t have one or have inadvertently turned it off

  • Customise the wording of your cookie notice pop up to ensure it outlines how you use cookies and makes sure it links to your full cookie policy online. With a Webdadi website, your VIA software allows you to customise the wording of your cookie notice pop up to tailor it towards your business

  • Know what cookies you’re using on your website and publicise them in your cookie policy online. Webdadi will provide you with a default cookie policy which covers the cookies our platform uses by default, but if you are installing third part apps, analytics, or are using third party marketing companies, make sure you are adding whatever cookies they are using to your publicised cookie policy page, or give them access to VIA so they can add them for you. You can see how to edit the cookie policy page of your website using your VIA software here. Different companies use different cookies, so there's no way Webdadi can publish a "catch all" policy on behalf of all of our clients. It's important you understanding what you're adding to your website and what implications it has for your cookie policy. Third parties should be taking responsibility and letting you know in advance the ramifications of their products/services

  • A key theme of the website legislation is to ensure customers explicitly opt in/accept the use of cookies and can customise the use of cookies when browsing a website. You should ensure you have the Enable Advanced Cookie Notification turned on in your website config. To do this:

    • Simply login to VIA
    • In the left hand menu go to Settings > Configuration
    • Then select Website > Notifications > General and tick the Enable Advance Cookie Notification field

If you want to find out more information, the following links are useful:

A Guide to PECR

A Guide to your Cookie Law Rights