Mmmh, Cookies

The EU loves the European Court of Justice ruling.
The users don't like it that way.

Like many other decisions of the European Court of Justice, this ruling on the use of website cookies takes several years – which does not mean that Internet use would be easier for users. Until now, there has been a cookie directive practiced in Germany that has supplemented the ePrivacy Directive 2002/58/EC since 2009.

In 2017, however, legal assistance was requested from the European level by the Federal Association of Consumer Organizations against the German lottery provider “Planet49”. That involved a competition in which personal data processed. A reference text (it was not marked as consent in advance) explained the processing of personal data for advertising purposes, another reference text (it was already marked as consent in advance) provided information about the web analysis services relating to user and surfing behavior. Now it had to be clarified whether the pre-checked box constituted a violation.

Most people don’t say yes.
Let us be brief: the EU Court ruling has far-reaching consequences for Germany. Cookies and similar tracking methods may no longer be used for online marketing without active consent, i.e., opt-in. The customer would first have to actively give his consent, i.e., agree to every cookie and tracking tool used on the site, on his initiative. Studies have shown (and we know it from practical experience) that users tend to be annoyed when they click away from all banners with a simple “No.” For online marketing, this means disaster!

Legal uncertainty
Of course, the online industry is working on various solutions. One possibility is to formulate, design the hint banners in such a way that users understand the meaning (and above all their advantage) of accepting cookies. After all, the focus is on optimizing the UX (user experience), e.g., by quickly logging in, filling in write fields, and automatically calling up already filled shopping baskets. Tests have shown that the design and placement of such banners influence the approval behavior. It is not yet clear whether such individual solutions are legally permissible at all.

The European Court of Justice ruling has far-reaching consequences for Germany – for online marketing this means disaster!

Nobody cares
However commendable the efforts of the European Court of Justice may be regarding the “informational integrity of the terminal device” and the security of personal data, the correct implementation of such rules makes the Internet (as we know it so far) virtually unusable. An exciting detail: As many users would not like to activate all cookie boxes in banners as consent, they would want to take advantage of the advantages of using cookies for surfing, e.g. in online shops. Or to put it another way, nobody wants to set a checkmark, everyone wants to start surfing immediately as before.

Automatic consents
There are practical online solutions that can be used directly via the leading browsers (Firefox and Chrome – the links can found at the bottom of this page). Add-ons can be used to set free browser extensions that make all “warnings” and hint banners disappear. As an online agency, we recommend that our corporate customers actively offer end consumers exactly such “workarounds”. Also, it is essential to communicate to users that cookies themselves are nothing bad or harmful – on the contrary: they are responsible for ensuring that users are treated like regular customers each time they visit the website or online shop. Ultimately, everyone wants such a preference.

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DeSight Studio GmbH | Wolfgang Zdimal

Journalist and professional copywriter Wolfgang Zdimal wrote this article on behalf of DeSight Studio GmbH and published by DeSight Studio GmbH. Wolfgang Zdimal, who manages his business from Vienna, Austria, has more than 20 years of professional experience and writes for the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, BAWAG P.S.K. Bank or just for DeSight Studio GmbH.