The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) have recently (26 th May) a mandate which dictating that website operators with the EU gain explicit consent from their visitors before using cookies to track their interaction with the site.
Cookies are, at their most basic, a short line of text placed on to your computer when you access specific sites. The text file is then used to help the browser remember details about the visitor such as what items are held in the basket or whether this is a first time visit or a returning customer.
Forcing visitors to consent to these cookies is designed to make the internet safer. However, many argue this will come at the expense of functionality. It is currently unclear what form displaying consent will come in, it may simply be an opt-in box.
Simon Crisp, Director of shopsafe.co.uk has voiced his concern about this directive, “This is going to add a regulatory and cost burden to digital economy at a time when we don’t need it” Crisp felt that further cookie regulations may add further complications to online shopping which users, new to online retail, would be put off by.
Further issues have been raised by those online experts who use these tracking methods to prove return on investment for their campaigns. Matthew Barker, managing partner of Hit Riddle was keen to mention that without being able to measure the performance of selected ads internet marketers may begin to struggle proving the efficacy of their campaigns.