There’s been quite some cookie talk lately on this blog and one reason why is that I have as CEO of my little startup been looking for a cookie consent banner which costs nothing for my website.
So why only now. Well, I did only have essential cookies on my website until recently which didn’t require cookie consent. I had inserted a banner and notice. However, I started adding YouTube videos and Chat, which came packaged with an analytics engine, Zoho SalesIQ.
So when one of my Linkedin Connections was kind enough to point this out, I responded without thinking, that only essential cookies are used…… I was feeling just a bit little stupid when I realised that I’d been so deep in getting my business out to market, that I’d actually missed the privacy thing, which is not good, after all my business is about GDPR compliance!
So I was on a mission, install a cookie consent banner with a preference centre on my website, catch was that I had not budget for this. I am after all a small business, and all these small costs add up to something more. And not all small business have funding for extra overheads. I wanted to find something which I could recommend to my customers/partners, many are SMBs, so they have (1) a free option, and (2) paying option.
Criteria for SMB as I see it is:
- There must be a free option
- It must work on all websites, e.g. even OneSpace, Wix, one.com
- It must be easy to setup without too much technical know-how.
Most cookie banner solutions cost money, and you can expect to pay circa €9 per month. However, there are some free ones out there, with restrictions such as a single domain. But this is good enough for most of my customers.
On a technical level it needs to work on all types of websites, e.g. mine is hosted on one.com, and some which I came across and tested didn’t work because they required that I install code in the Header html, and I don’t have access to this. I can only insert code within the page/footer).
Now, I still say there is no excuse for how the Guardian’s banner was configured, they have money to pay techie to do this work, but for a small business, setting up a cookie consent banner is not reasonable. If 2 days work is required to find/test and install one. That is why I have written this blogpost. If you’re an SMB you don’t need to waste time looking. Carry on reading for an alternative to Termly later on….
It doesn’t stop here. I then checked this blog to look at cookies. This blog was originally setup by myself in 2007, and cookies weren’t a big thing then. Even since, I haven’t given a thought to my musings on this blog, and that a cookie consent banner is necessary, because I wanted to believe that Article 2 applied, household exception. However, now we are many Authors, and unfortunately WordPress downloads over 80 cookies! Even though this is a personal blog, now for many, we needed to fix this -now that I’m on a cookie kill drive, and starting to hate these little blighters!
Now if your business website is using WordPress you must upgrade to Business to get the Plugin for free, and this should be easy to install, although I haven’t tried yet, because this is a personal blog, and I don’t intend to upgrade at a monthly subscription of €35 just to get my hands on a cookie consent banner. I checked some other cookie banner options. I received a tip on Metomic from a privacy Connection, and I liked it, wish I’d found before. But when it scanned this virtualshadows blog it reported there were no cookies, which is a lie. It could be that it is a not on its own domain. But Metomic looks easy to use, is free, and could be worth testing as an alternative to Termly. I may even replace Termly with Metomic, but it does require some code in the website Header, not sure if this is required or optional.
As it looks now, unless I find a free cookie banner, this blog will be migrated to another platform. Criteria, it must be free of cost, and free of cookies.
My takeaway from the last 3 days…. is that the cookie consent banner has pulled me -a single-man resource in my business- from product development and from revenue generating activities. GDPR has in practice blocked innovation and growth. I became angry and frustrated, not only by the activity, but at the thought that every small business out there which requires a cookie consent banner will find it just too difficult to fix, and they don’t have budget to pay someone else to do this as the larger organisations have.