Cookie Law Definitions

When browsing the internet, it’s highly likely that you’ve encountered countless pop-up windows or banners that state the use of cookies and a request for the end-user to allow cookies. This is because of the privacy protection regulations implemented in recent years (i.e. the EU cookie law-2009 ePrivacy Directive and the GDPR), for the purpose of protecting individuals. These recorded consents serve to protect the marketers and companies from legal ramifications.

Cookie consents must accurately depict the type of cookie being used. Failure to properly convey the purpose of tracking cookies could get a company in hot water. While some cookies are necessary for a website to work properly, most are intended to create a user-friendly experience that will make them want to revisit the site again and again. Here’s a look at how you should and shouldn’t handle cookies.

Different Types of Cookies

Not all cookies are created equal.

First Party Cookies

The cookies that are enabled on a website are strictly controlled by the website owner. These are referred to as “First Party Cookies.” The data collected in this cookie format is confined to that particular website and stores user data including browsing, purchasing history, as well as log-in information, making it convenient for the user to easily access their account with said website. This cookie consent is usually in the form of “remember me.”

Then, there are “Third Party Cookies” which are implemented by one or more advertising entities in hopes of increasing traffic to a website based on a user’s browsing history between different websites. Third party cookies are often in the form of ads, tags, or sales page.

Third Party Cookies

A website owner has no control over “third party cookies.” Instead, they are created by services like Google or Facebook Ads. A common example of third-party cookies is noticing an increase of ads relative to a topic you browsed a few days earlier. Basically, you left a crumb trail for advertising networks so they target you with more ads on the subject matter.

Whereas first party cookies never stray out of the boundaries of a specific website, third party cookies track your online activity in hopes of grabbing your interest in what they’re pushing. Third party cookies can be cleared by changing browser preferences to delete the history of sites you’ve visited. 

Cookie Law Compliance

Whether you are interested in creating first party cookies for your own website or hope to increase traffic based on third party cookies, it’s crucial that you follow the proper guidelines.

  • Understand the purpose of cookies prior to setting them up on your website.
  • Include a banner or pop-up that explains to your users how you use the information gathered by cookies.
  • Obtain and record each and every user consent form for your protection.
  • Give users options, such as “Allow All”, “Decline” or “Allow Necessary”

Following cookie laws and best practices positions your eCommerce business as a trustworthy site, helps you rank higher on search engines, and eliminates the possibility of protective software tagging your site as high-risk.

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