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Google now enforces EU cookie consent policy

     
2:34 pm on Jan 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Alas (or at last), it's time. Just received the following e-mail:
Dear Publisher,

We recently launched the European Union (EU) user consent policy, which requires that you obtain EU end users’ consent to the storing and accessing of cookies and other information including: data collection, sharing, and usage that takes place when you use Google advertising products. This policy applies to publishers monetizing with Google AdSense, AdMob, DoubleClick for Publishers, and DoubleClick Ad Exchange.

We have reviewed the sites that you monetize and found that one or more of them doesn’t comply with this policy. These can be found in the file attached to this email. If your site does not have a valid consent mechanism, you should implement one now. Failing to comply with this policy is a breach of your contract with Google and may result in disabling of your account(s) if it is not resolved by 3/28/2017. Please also note that, while we have not reviewed any apps that you may monetize with our products at this time, our user consent policy applies to apps too.

Resources to make this process easier for you can be found on cookiechoices.org.

Please keep us up to date with the changes you are making to comply with this policy by filling out this form [support.google.com].

Sincerely,

The Google Publisher Policy Team

Not annoying my visitors with a cookie warning since they first introduced this policy was well worth the slap on the wrist, but it looks like I have no choice but to dust off that Javascript snippet.
2:47 pm on Jan 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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This is something EU sites should have been complying since some times to remain into the Adsense program.

Now, I wonder how they evaluate if your site is conform to the EU requirements, because as I mentioned once, the text of the law says you have to receive the consent of the visitor BEFORE writing a cookie. Some big sites are doing it, by displaying a message box, before continuing to load the page, but for example the cookiechoices.org site only provides code which displays a banner. But no matter if you agree or not, a cookie related to adsene (twitter, etc...) has already been written...
3:04 pm on Jan 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@Dimitri if I am not mistaken if you click decline you are redirect away from the site.

@robzilla, I am taking your strategy. With only a few visits a day from Europe I think it will be a while before I get slapped on the wrist. At this point I am hoping that the policy will be tossed out or changed before I get hit.
3:06 pm on Jan 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Yes, when you click decline, you are leaving the site, BUT, cookies have already been written into your computer, by the Adsense banner (for example), or by Google Analytic.
3:37 pm on Jan 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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A simple banner on first pageview is likely to suffice for Google. I won't go any further unless they explicitly reject that method.
7:43 pm on Jan 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I thought this whole idea had died a natural death.
9:02 pm on Jan 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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No, it's still a requirement, IanCP, it has not gone away, and is unlikely to do so.
Not just the publisher, but Google may be in default if you do not comply.
10:13 pm on Jan 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I wonder if compliance with this law could be considered by Google as a quality ranking signal? Something positive for SEO?
11:14 am on Jan 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Please refresh my memory on this.

Is this requirement only for those sites in the EU? Or are all sites (example: USA) required to use a cookie consent policy just in case a EU user comes by?
12:09 pm on Jan 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

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"In theory", ALL sites have to display the cookie consent message to ALL EU visitors.

Now, I don't know if Google requests it only for EU sites.
12:19 pm on Jan 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Ironic... I don't use cookies at my site. The only one using them is Adsense. So once again (think PageSpeed) it is Google itself failing the very same policy they force us to comply with.
10:35 am on Jan 30, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I am in EU.

@robzilla : just received the same e-mail than you at the same date (26 of January) and same deadline for two of my websites (heavy traffic/earnings on both).

Already implemented a solution. And I have also filled out the form mentionned in the Google email in order to notice them. I don't know if we have to expect an answer after using this special form ?

If someone gets an answer after using this form, then I would be delighted to have information.
10:47 am on Jan 30, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I received the same mail as robzilla, implemented a solution and this morning i received a confirmation message from google that my sites are compliant with the adsense policy.
10:59 am on Jan 30, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Ha ha... with all the talk here, I wrote up one of my own & stuck it up this morning proactively.

Hope it doesn't scare away traffic in the US. We aren't used to that level of regulation.
11:14 am on Jan 30, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@keyplyr i use the MaxMind ip country database to just show the message to EU users.
11:17 am on Jan 30, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@keyplyr : you don't have to display it to all your visitors. There are all kind of tools to identify the country of origin of visitors.

edit: oops, bhukkel was faster :-)
11:21 am on Jan 30, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Thanks bhukkel & Dimitri

I considered several alternatives to selectively display the notice, but opted to keep it fast & simple.

If I do see a drop in page loads after a month when my caching starts to drop off, I may reevaluate.
12:24 pm on Jan 30, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Another inconvenient of the cookie consent message, is the space it's eating on mobile devices!
11:20 pm on Jan 30, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Here's some additional background. We're talking about a EU directive which isn't "law" but a legal act that requires EU member states to pass laws having a specific outcome. This can result in completely different legal implementions. What's even more confusing is that the law of some countries still doesn't conform to the directive and maybe never will. The cookie directive is pretty clear on some things: Users must opt in before certain types of cookies are set. But Germany, for example, did not change their law after the EU directive was enacted. In Germany, it's still completely legal to set cookies first and give users a way to opt out. This is in clear violation of the EU directive but, paradoxically, German lawmakers and even the EU Commission claim that Germany's current laws are compliant.

My personal interpretation is that lawmakers fully know that the EU directive is too restrictive, especially considering that it doesn't actually help consumers. There are talks about simplifying the directive which is expected to happen in 2018.

I also suspect that Google enforces the cookie policy only in countries with strict cookie laws like France or the UK. Can everyone who got this email tell which country they're from? As a German publisher, I really hope that AdSense won't force me to make changes that aren't legally required in my country.
12:03 am on Jan 31, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Can everyone who got this email tell which country they're from?
Yes, and has anyone outside the EU received this email from Google?
10:53 am on Feb 1, 2017 (gmt 0)

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We have received your appeal of our notice of non-compliance with the European Union (EU) user consent policy. While we were pleased to see that you now display a cookie notice, our reviewers felt that it was lacking sufficient information.

Great, except I did not appeal and am not displaying a cookie notice. What a mess.
11:28 am on Feb 1, 2017 (gmt 0)

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That's not good, and as you say, a mess. Quite clearly, from what you've said they haven't visited your site, they are looking at some other site. I'd be concerned about that as they might be cutting you off in error.
11:29 am on Feb 1, 2017 (gmt 0)

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What country robzilla?
12:30 pm on Feb 1, 2017 (gmt 0)

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they are looking at some other site

It looks that way, but they attach a violating_sites.txt file to these e-mails, and it does include (only) my site.

What country robzilla?

The Netherlands.

the text of the law says you have to receive the consent of the visitor BEFORE writing a cookie.

Strictly speaking, that's true. You would not be allowed to load AdSense ads until the user has accepted cookies. I don't think Google is going to adhere to those standards though; a simple notice will likely do. I will probably only show it on the first pageview, too.

Unfortunately, I will need to implement geotargeting and it's going to take some time to find out what implementation will have the smallest effect on performance.
1:35 pm on Feb 1, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Personally, I implemented the cookie consent thing, as soon as the EU created the directive, and I didn't notice any performance impact on visitors. People are not minding it, or even paying attention. If did my own consent system, where I disable Adsense if people refuse the cookies. If you don't want to bother, you can simply go with the solution provided by : [cookieconsent.insites.com...] . Google even recommends this site.
10:00 pm on Feb 6, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Did anybody get a confirmation from Google, that their cookie message is ok?

The default on cookieconsent.insites.com shows 3 things:

* "This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website."
* A link to an info page on how to disable cookies in various browsers
* A "Got it!" button that removes the message

I wonder if it is sufficient to show this type of message to visitors from the EU. If so, I would wrap it all up in a single script that I load from CloudFront. Since CloudFront has GEO targeting by default, I could simply return an empty script for non-EU visitors.
10:24 pm on Feb 6, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Google "recommends" it, and list it as resources for webmasters, but at the same time, Google is not taking "risks", by saying "should", "could", "might", etc... like that Google protects its ass, in case the EU goes after them. Otherwise, Google would provide a ready-to-use code themselves.
5:50 am on Feb 8, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Well Google does list several links to resources that do supply code to implement a cookie notice, and they did install a cookie notice plugin to Blogger & Blogspot accounts.
9:50 pm on Feb 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I received the same mail as robzilla, implemented a solution and this morning i received a confirmation message from google that my sites are compliant with the adsense policy.

How long did that take? It's been about a week since I implemented it and submitted the form, but no word yet.
12:24 pm on Feb 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@robzilla It took two days before i got the response from Google.
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