This has been annoying me for a while now. How is it that a rule comes out that prevents website owners from using tracking cookies to market to their customers, where offline shops/supermarkets that have been doing this for years can continue to do just that? How can there be a ruling that prevents people from collecting data in order to better market to them online, but not offline?

I know that they can be deeply irritating when a website owner does not use cookies properly, or abuses the settings, ultimately hammering the user with untargetted advertising; so I don’t wholly disagree with some sort of ruling here. Where I do get annoyed is the double standards; in a supermarket you are being watched constantly. Every movement, every aisle, every shelf and product you place in your trolley they are watching you, and have been watching you for years. There are 2 reasons they are watching you, 1. security, Fair enough. 2. marketing, which is also fair enough offline, but apparently not now acceptable online?

As the new cookie legislation draws closer, website owners, agencies and government bodies are scrambling to work out what it is they need to do to comply with the new rules. What makes this difficult is no one really knows what that is.

In a nutshell, you have to tell users arriving on your site that your site will place Cookies on their browser. The type of cookie varies and the function of them also varies significantly. My frustration is in direct regard to the marketing cookies. These are cookies that are placed on a users’ browser which facilitate the website owners online marketing activities, generally through re-marketing. If used responsibly and effectively, it can add real value to the user, providing them with relevant and timely offers.  This is wholly similar to supermarkets providing you with chewing gum and magazines at the check out. What do people think?

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