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Adsense, EU and Cookies

Google finally released their EU user consent policy, which every publisher has to comply with.

Edited: 2017-02-02 13:22

By. Jacob

Cookie Law

Google finally released their official policy on the EU Cookie law, or that is, i got an e-mail informing me about the technical changes that has to be implemented on sites using Adsense.

It is a shame that the authorities in EU are so narrow minded, choosing to ignore the rights of website owners over something as harmless as cookies.

Even though the law is discriminating, and invading our rights as website owners, we still have comply if we want to use Adsense. We need to find a solution that causes the least disruption to our users, and Adsense income.

For this, implied consent becomes important, because it allows us to display ads without first getting the users consent. The alternative is not feasible, as it would force us to flat out reject users who do not click the consent button.

The email I got from Google:

Dear Publisher,

We want to let you know about a new policy about obtaining EU end-users’ consent that reflects regulatory and best practice guidance. It clarifies your duty to obtain end-user consent when you use products like Google AdSense, DoubleClick for Publishers, and DoubleClick Ad Exchange.

Please review our new EU user consent policy as soon as possible. This requires that you obtain EU end users’ consent to the storing and accessing of cookies and other information, and to the data collection, sharing, and usage that takes place when you use Google products. It does not affect any provisions on data ownership in your contract.

Please ensure that you comply with this policy as soon as possible, and not later than 30th September 2015.

If your site or app does not have a compliant consent mechanism, you should implement one now. To make this process easier for you, we have compiled some helpful resources at cookiechoices.org.

This policy change is being made in response to best practice and regulatory requirements issued by the European data protection authorities. These requirements are reflected in changes recently made on Google’s own websites.

Thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation.

Regards,
The Google Policy Team

Asking for consent before placing cookies

I am very annoyed by all the popups we encounter when browsing the internet, so even from a users perspective, having popup messages asking for consent is not a good solution. For sites that I visit often, i do not really care. But if we do implement a cookie notification, it should have to be done in a location where it is noticed easily, but at the same time not annoying or disturbing the user – for this, the top of a website seems like the best place – and it is pretty much standard already.

Sites with high bounce rate may loose some revenue if consent is needed before showing ads, leaving implied consent as the only acceptable solution.

Who should fix the problem?

The most obvious solution would be for Google, and other companies to implement a consent mechanism on their part. For Google Adsense, this could mean that Adsense would automatically choose between a cookie-less units, and units using cookies, depending on whether the user gives their consent to use cookies.

Google / Alphabet has the resources to develop a solution, while a lot of site owners do not. Site owners also do not have anything to do with the technologies Google are using in their products, so we should not be burdened with unnecessary legal issues associated with such technologies.

Why i choose implied consent

Currently I am using implied consent, my reason for having chosen this approach include the below considerations.

  1. The consent requirement can prevent the Adsense crawler from detecting Adsense code on sites, and attempts to work around this could be conflicting with Googles Webmaster Quality Guidelines, the part about Cloaking.
  2. It is technically not realistic to stop all third party cookies from being sent, since you have to analyze the content of every page, and remove JavaScript, images, and other third party content.
  3. Sites with high bounce rates could lose income.

The mere task of keeping track of which third parties are storing cookies, is not a realistic option. Besides, the only scalable solution is implied consent. By implied consent I specifically mean that simply by visiting a site people automatically "agree" to the TOS of the site. It is the only way third party code can be included, without us worrying about which technologies are used – which is very important for Adsense.

If the EU wants to enforce the law, then they should work with browser developers and ad networks directly – not impose unfair laws on innocent site owners!

External links

  1. Google's EU user consent policy – Google
  2. Helping publishers with cookie consent – Cookiechoices.org