European Union Pulls The Trigger: Friction Forever!

Friction in AdvertisingIf reports are true, in a boon to advertising and technology companies in the rest of the world, The European Union appears to have effectively killed off any innovation for its native online advertising industry as the opt-in cookie law will be put into effect 18 months from now. More coverage from Tech Radar here. Read (or try to read) about the new law buried in an EU Council press release here (PDF).

EU site rep firms rejoice – there will be no innovation in (European) Mudville – your business model is safe as audience buying platforms will be only available elsewhere and the European internet user will be sentenced to the friction of untargeted advertising. And sure, sites can require users to opt-in in order to access any site’s content. But, that’s gonna be a lotta work. Subscription models here we come – European-style.

According to TechRadar’s Struan Robertson, you won’t even be able to use Google Analytics or WebTrends with the new law without permission. Here’s part of the language according to Pinsent Masons law firm website,

    “Member States shall ensure that the storing of information, or the gaining of access to information already stored, in the terminal equipment of a subscriber or user is only allowed on condition that the subscriber or user concerned has given his or her consent…”

What does this mean for non-European-based sites with European visitors? Not sure. But, it can’t be good. EU-based, holding company juggernauts such as Havas and Publicis can’t be pleased either as they push hard on their digital strategies.

No doubt we’ll be hearing more about this being a harbinger of things to come in the U.S. Hopefully, it will be a strong call to action, instead.

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  1. This should be a wakeup call for the industry and a call to action for us to collectively band together and be more proactive.

    Let us not forget that a little more than 6 months ago, the European Commission completed, the closest thing to what the Navy used to call a “shot across the bow”.

    Meglena Kuneva, the consumer affairs Commissioner, told a gathering of firms they are violating “basic consumer rights in terms of transparency, control and risk”, through data collection and behavioural targeting.

    “I want to send a warning signal today that we cannot afford foot dragging in this area,” she said.

    “If we fail to see an adequate response to consumers concerns on the issue of data collection and profiling, as a regulator, we will not shy away from our duties nor wait for a cataclysm to wake us up.”

    Clearly, the threat was telegraphed, the call to action was clear, and yet they continued with further enforcement, not self-regulating guidelines.

    Earlier this year, FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz stated that “From my perspective, the industry is pretty close to its last clear chance to demonstrate” that it can police itself”.

    Seems clear to me – something wicked this way comes.

  2. This is great. Free testing!! Can the FTC take advantage of this move and just see how this plays out over there?

    It would be like government run health care where we could watch how wrong it’s gone and then decide, wisely, not to do it. Oh… wait….

  3. “Before a catastrophe happens” (?!?) What catastrophe could they possibly be talking about? Seriously, what is the worst thing that could happen? There are far less Draconian ways to achieve nearly the same objective w/out demolishing their own industry — UNLESS — they are ceding it all to the Americans.

    To bad for the EU media & tech community.

  4. This will, I hope, just be another of those EU laws that gets quietly ignored by the member states. It is certainly something that the IAB should be lobbying hard on though.