Cookie Rules

New Cookie Rules For Websites From May 2012

1.The Background– websites and email marketing are regulated in part by the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations. These were amended in 2009 with significant changes coming into effect in May 2011 but with a year’s delay on any sanctions being enforced for non-compliance.

The changes affect the way your business can use cookies and other tracking technology in both emails and on websites to collect user data.

Web owners will be liable to enforcement notices and a fine of up to £500,000 for non compliance from May 2012.

2.What Are Cookies? – there are different types but basically a cookie is a small file, typically of letters and numbers, downloaded on to a device when the user accesses certain websites. Cookies may then be sent back to the originating website on each subsequent visit. Cookies are useful because they allow a website to recognise a user’s device and track what the user does, although the legislation also covers the use of other technical means of doing the same job.

3.Does Your Business Use Them? – probably ‘Yes’ – especially if, for example, your site uses tracking systems like Google Analytics, or if you use a bulk email management service that monitors ‘opens’ via a cookie or similar. Also if your site recognises past visitors; uses a third party company’s service who may track users themselves (for example advertising), or, if you have an ecommerce site, you may use ‘session’ cookies to track purchases.

4.What Is New? – If you use cookies, you must now tell people that the cookies are there; explain what the cookies are doing, and obtain their valid and well informed consent to store a cookie on their device.

There are exceptions where cookies are ‘essential’ to your site operation, for example cookies used (a) to remember the goods a user wishes to buy when they proceed to the checkout or add goods to their shopping basket (b) for security purposes, or (c) to help pages to load quickly or to load balance across multiple servers.

But cookies used for tracking, counting email opens, recognising past visitors and advertising are ‘caught’.

5.What Do You Need to Consider? – you need to (a) check what type of cookies / user tagging you use and how you use them (b) decide if you are informing users adequately and if you need consent, and (c) where you need consent, decide how to best obtain consent.

6.OK, What Actions Do we Need to take? – the key actions are to make sure your cookie information is clearly and prominently available on your site, and not ‘buried’ in a Privacy Page. You may want to add a new header link mentioning cookie use.

You should add cookie use consent to any directly relevant existing sign up, e.g. for a newsletter where you will use it to monitor opens (e.g. Check this box to sign up to our weekly newsletter. By signing up you allow us to use Open Tracking to monitor and improve your email experience.) (b) to open (or login to) an account where you use a cookie for easy recognition of returning visitors, or (c) when the visitor is to click on a button requesting a third party service.

Use pop up boxes, message bars or ‘splash’ pages to gain consent prior to use – at least on the first visit. (You don’t have to repeat this every time, but you may need a new cookie to recognise visitors who have given consent!)

Why Your Affiliate Marketing Business Loves Cookies

Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting and selling another company’s products or service. Becoming a successful affiliate marketer means understanding cookies. But this has nothing to do with the favorite sweet treat! It’s how your affiliate marketing business ensures you get paid for any sales you generate.

What is A Cookie?

An HTTP “cookie” is a type of message that is given to a web browser by a web server. This is used to identify users and web surfers, customize online experiences and track information. Cookie technology works for numerous things. For instance, it works when your computer “remembers” your password when you log in to one of your online accounts.

How Do Cookies Work for Affiliate Marketers?

Cookies are an affiliate marketer’s best friend. When you promote a product as an affiliate, the product owner will allocate you a unique affiliate URL or affiliate link.

When someone clicks on your affiliate link, a cookie is placed in their browser. This means that their computer stores the information that says you are the person that directed the visitor to that website. If that person makes a purchase, the affiliate company can track that sale back to you and pay you your commission.

Not All Cookies Are Created Equal

From the first time someone clicks on one of your affiliate links, you can earn commissions for the designated cookie length.Different affiliate programs have different lifespans for their cookies.

For example, if you promote products as an Amazon affiliate, your cookie will only be valid for 24 hours. That means that the website visitor needs to buy within 24 hours if that sale is to be credited to you.

This is why you should choose your affiliate companies very carefully. Some affiliate marketing models allow for 30, 60, 90 day or even 1 year cookie duration. Some offer lifetime cookies!

Marketing Affiliate Programs

When somebody buys something from a website that you, as an affiliate, have directed them to, the cookie shares your affiliate ID. The product owner then knows that you are the affiliate and that any commission from that sale should be paid to you. Obviously, it’s extremely important that you use the correct affiliate ID on all your links to ensure you get your commissions.

The one issue to be mindful about with cookies is that if a potential customer uses a different computer to search again to buy the product, your affiliate ID will not be saved on that machine. It’s not a major problem though as most people use the same computer, laptop or tablet to buy products and services online.

Become a Successful Entrepreneur – Build Your Own Cookie Business From Scratch

Let’s get one thing straight. Cookies are great! Everyone from the smallest child to the oldest adult can always appreciate a good cookie. They are made at home, bought at the store or bakery, given as gifts and party favors in nearly every situation imaginable. A stake in the cookie market can be very lucrative, as well as rewarding for you and your wallet.

So if you are looking for a great business opportunity, why not try your hand at selling cookies. Your business may sell the kinds of cookies that you can normally only get from your grandma. Or perhaps yours will be the business to sell the most flavors, or the biggest cookies, or even the smallest. There are literally thousands and thousands of styles and combinations for business ideas that can make you very successful. What about a cookie delivery business where fresh baked homemade cookies arrive at customer’s doors in thirty minutes or less? You could even just go with a basic sugar cookie recipe, but cut them out into all different shapes, sizes and decorations to go with every holiday or occasion.

Personalized cookies are also a fabulous gift, and can also be used to commemorate dates like weddings and anniversaries. In the cookie business, it is easy to see that such cheap ingredients such as flour, sugar, eggs, and other flavorings can easily be turned into a product that is not only eye catching and tasty, but also one that can bring in a fabulous stream of income for years and years to come.