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UK websites drop an average of 14 cookies per page meaning users encounter anywhere from 112 to 140 trackers during an average session on a website, according to data from TRUSTe.

More than two-thirds of these trackers (68%) belong to third-party companies, making it difficult for websites to comply with the EU E-privacy Directive.

The survey, which looked at 50 top UK websites, found that 96% of sites had available privacy policies but 80% of those did not disclose how long the company retained user data.

According to TRUSTe's stats, the average web user will encounter anywhere from 112 to 140 trackers during their average session on a website.

Privacy policies were another issue. One step towards complying with the EU cookie law is to ensure that cookie and privacy policies are informing web users of the kinds of data that is stores and why. 

However, the average privacy policy is 2,229 words long, and just 16% provided a bullet list summarising key points. In addition, 80% of policies did not disclose the length of time that user data is held for. 

Econsultancy's privacy policy manages to beat that, coming in at almost 5,000 words, but we do provide clear information on the cookies we use and why. Also, clearer formatting can make a longer policy easier to scan and digest. 

The 68% of cookies which belong to third parties will present a problem for websites once the e-Privacy Directive can be enforced, and especially if a strict opt-in becomes necessary.

The Econsultancy / Toluna Quick survey on consumer attitudes to cookies found that, though 60% of respondents said they were happy to consent to cookies for basic info such as shopping cart consent, other cookies will be a hard sell. 

35% would consent to analytics cookies, at least if sold as 'improving the experience', but cookies for ads (21%) and those used to target ads on third party sites (17%) are less popular. 

What kinds of cookies would you be happy to consent to?

With time running out before the compliancy 'deadline' at the end of May, Econsultancy’s new best practice guide, The EU Cookie Law: A Guide to Compliance, is now available to download.

It looks into the legal changes as they affect online businesses in the UK, the potential threats to online business models and the steps that companies could be taking now to demonstrate compliance with the EU e-Privacy Directive.

David Moth

Published 18 April, 2012 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

1686 more posts from this author

Comments (1)

Mark Chapman

Mark Chapman, Director of Client Strategy + Services at White Hat Media

"UK websites drop an average of 14 cookies per page meaning users encounter anywhere from 112 to 140 trackers during an average session on a website..."


Isn't this just a storm in and around a coffee cup?

For some reason unknown to the rest of us, legislators have brought in a law with very little in the way of specifics.

There seems to be an air of paranoia about cookies, even the whole privacy thing. It is unclear what the cookie law is trying to protect us from. Vague 'consumer concerns' should not merit a law; how can such laws be enforceable... from a feeling? Where are the specifics?

Companies need to get money in at present, you and I working in digital need to get paid, and 99.99% of businesses are law-abiding and not doing anything illegal, yet we are faced with footing a bill legislators have no specifics about.

They need to be called to full account on this because this seems to be true, unnecessary bureaucracy borne out of the gravy train that is the EU.

These damn lawmakers just seem to have made a law because they are suspicious of us earning a living.

One issue that is odd is that the digital industry has not been given the opportunity to self-regulate. Everybody else does, e.g. the Press via PCC(!), so why not digital?

over 4 years ago

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