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More than 40% of internet users refuse to accept cookies if asked to opt in when visiting a website, according to new data from QuBit.

However 99.9% give consent if they are simply notified that a site uses cookies. The data was compiled from more than 500,000 user interactions through QuBit’s Cookie Consent tool.

Since the new EU e-Privacy Directive came into force a few weeks ago, notification appears to be the most common method of complying with the law.

Rather than using pop-ups to explicitly ask users for their consent, retailers such as John Lewis, M&S and Amazon have simply made links to their cookie policy more prominent.

When the law was first published it was thought this approach would not be compliant, but the Information Commissioners Office has told us that it will be taking a lenient approach so it’s unlikely these sites will be forced to do anything different.

QuBit’s tool also has a third setting which assumes users are willing to accept cookies unless they opt out – in this case 99.7% of users gave consent.

Therefore, if the ICO eventually says notification isn’t enough, this data indicates that sites can still achieve nearly 100% permission from users by assuming implicit consent from all site visitors.

This is similar to the actions taken by the BBC and Channel 4, both of which assume users will give their consent as agreeing to cookies is the only option presented on their homepages.

Overall, the levels of consent achieved in the first few weeks since the cookie law came into force are encouraging and should allay the fears of those who thought users would opt out in droves.

However, it also shows that explicitly asking users for their consent could potentially lead to a high number of people refusing to accept cookies.

David Moth

Published 15 June, 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

1680 more posts from this author

Comments (8)

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Ed Hockey

Ed Hockey, Global Search & Performance Media Manager at Unilever

Just read an article about the launch of the Facebook ad exchange and something jumped out at me;

'Facebook will place cookies on users’ browsers, which partner sites will use to identify members of the social network, Ta explained. Facebook will not offer a way for users to block these interactions; that will be the responsibility of the third-party partners.'

I wonder if the ICO will be chasing up Facebook to make sure that they are compliant.....?

about 4 years ago

David Moth

David Moth, Editor & Head of Social at EconsultancyStaff

@Ed, I think I'm right in saying that Facebook is based in Ireland, so falls outside the ICO's jurisdiction. But that doesn't mean the Irish authorities shouldn't be chasing them up about it.

about 4 years ago

Ed Hockey

Ed Hockey, Global Search & Performance Media Manager at Unilever

Is that the same for Google as well? I think their European HQ is Dublin as well, as is Microsoft's? I'm not trying to dob anyone in, I would just like to see the response/slap down that the ICO got when they tried to enforce this on Google, FB & MSN!

about 4 years ago

David Moth

David Moth, Editor & Head of Social at EconsultancyStaff

Even if the ICO did take enforcement action (which they won't), the big players could easily swallow the fines and carry on as normal. I think the ICO is more hoping that the stigma of being 'outed' will force companies to comply.

about 4 years ago

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Steve Clarke, Basel eBusiness Solutions

David/Ed Hi,

FYI, the requirements were implemented into Irish Law with effect from 1 July 2011 and the ICO do have a Northern Ireleand Office based in Belfast, so it's in their powers to follow this up.

about 4 years ago

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Ed Lamb

If that's what QuBit's research says then that must be the case but anecdotally I don't know anyone who does anything other than hit the little cross in the top right (without reading the text properly) to get rid of the annoying cookie message that blocks your immediate use of the site you've gone too.

about 4 years ago

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Markus Jalmerot

Sites such as Nominet keep showing only one option: "allow cookies". Still, you have to press the button to accept. I can imagine it's not very efficient and would suggest doing like BBC instead.

about 4 years ago

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Ade

@EdHockey Do you have a link to that article about the Facebook launch? Could you post it please? Thanks!

about 4 years ago

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