Can you Eliminate Annoying Cookie Banners from your Site?

David Fischer
Can you Eliminate Annoying Cookie Banners from your Site?
Photo by Gianluca Gerardi on Unsplash

Even before the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect in 2018 with its cookie consent policy, internet users have had unavoidable pop-up messages thrust onto their screens on every page urging them to "accept all" cookies.

Leaving aside for a moment how that has conditioned people to discard their privacy with a single click, the experience is challenging on laptops. On mobile, it can be especially painful with the cookie banner often occupying the majority of the smartphone's screen.

A cookie banner on the Financial Times taking up about half the screen

A cookie banner on the Financial Times taking up about half the screen

The EU's GDPR requires that web sites get consent from visitors before setting any non-essential cookies. "Non-Essential Cookies" are those that are not strictly required for your site to function. For example, a cookie to keep you logged in may be essential but an analytics cookie from a third-party would not be. California's Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) requires only that visitors be notified of the use of cookies if they are used for the purpose of collecting personal information; consent is not required.

The answer is simple in theory, but can be difficult depending on how your site works. If you don't collect personal information or allow third parties to collect personal information and you only set essential cookies, you will not need to set a cookie banner.

For most sites, the cookies that trigger the laws and violate user privacy are advertising cookies and website analytics. Until recently these have been difficult to do without. Advertising is a proven business model for high traffic websites and analytics are critical to understanding your site and users. However, the internet has responded to users demand for increased privacy by providing privacy-aware services.

When it comes to analytics, the internet has seen a host of alternatives to industry giant Google Analytics come to market. They include Cloudflare, Fathom, Plausible and more. These either don't set cookies at all or can easily be configured not to.

Finding a solution for internet advertising that doesn't trigger cookie banners or violate user privacy has been a larger challenge. Some ad tech companies are working hard to keep tracking and targeting users without cookies. This may meet the letter of the law, but definitely violates its intent.

This is one of the many reasons we built EthicalAds. Our vision for advertising is that ads can work well without tracking users. Instead of setting advertising cookies and learning from users' browsing history, we focus by advertising only to developers and target ads based on content alone. And this approach works!

If you're tired of seeing a cookie banner on your site, join EthicalAds and ditch those annoying banners!

Thanks to Greg Muscarella for the inspiration and feedback on this post.

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