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EU cookie law is bad for the web says 82% of digital marketers

14th March 2012 Print

82% of digital marketers think the EU cookie law is ‘bad’ for the web according a recent poll undertaken by Econsultancy, publisher of digital marketing and e-commerce best practice and insight.

Econsultancy asked more than 700 marketers for their opinions on the EU e-Privacy Directive, and to find out what preparations have been made for the May 26 deadline for compliance. The Directive makes it compulsory for web users to consent for a website to use or store cookies.

Just 18% of respondents think the directive is a positive development for the web. One respondent said: “While I'm all for protecting privacy, the bit of this directive that applies to cookies has been ill thought out and even more badly applied, by someone who doesn't understand the technology. Rather than try and analyse what cookies are actually intrusive, they've just 'banned' the lot! The lack of advice or guidance from the EU or Government has made things worse”.

Another respondent wrote: “There's total confusion on how to apply it and what it should be applied. There are a few nice implementations, nothing which everyone agrees on which means a disjointed user experience from site to site”.

57% of respondents have read the e-Privacy Directive, while 67% say they are aware of the 26 May UK deadline. The guidance from the ICO has left marketers unsure of how to tackle the change and was described by one respondent as "fluffy at best and sometimes contradictory”.

54% of respondents said their companies have carried out a cookie audit in preparation for the deadline.

Respondents voiced a lack of consumer awareness of what cookies are and what they mean around the EU Cookie law. Only 7% think that users will understand what cookies are.

Econsultancy CEO Ashley Friedlein said “We created this poll to gauge industry sentiment and understanding of the EU cookie law. A surprisingly high percentage of respondents know about the Directive, have read it, read the ICO guidance and done a cookie audit. Despite this, almost everyone thinks it lacks focus and web users don't care about cookies and won't understand the changes. The feeling is there is not enough clarity on what cookies are 'strictly necessary' and much less clarity on *how to implement* consent/opt-in.”

The full EU e-Privacy Directive survey report is available for free at:

Econsultancy is currently helping a number of European companies navigate the road to compliance. Contact us if you'd like some help.