Starting on May 25, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into full affect. I am, by far, not an expert on this upcoming regulation. But, the implications are already being felt within the affiliate industry. (Take a look at how this will affect the tracking service I use: an angry blog post.)
I actually agree with most of the provisions laid out in the rules – it will certainly help protect consumer data (considering the recent Facebook privacy debacle).
On the other hand, it’s a double edged sword. Businesses and indivuduals can be fined out of business if not compliant – and it will happen.
What Is The GDPR?
Essentially, the GDPR is a European Union regulation which places specific legal obligations on companies and individuals who collect any personal information on European residents. This also obligates international persons and organizations conducting business in Europe or with any European citizen.
Here are some of the highlights:
- Marketing messages that contain details explaining future use of personal information must be clearly stated.
- The requirement that users opt in to any future use of their data; opt-out will no longer be permitted as a default.
- The permanent erasure of personal information must be completed upon request of any indivudual.
- No more third party cookies. People cannot be tracked across multiple sites.
- IP adresses must be anonymized.
What does this mean for affiliates?
- No more single opt-in. Double opt-ins are required by law.
- You must at all times clearly state what you are doing with a person’s information or email.
- If contacted, you must remove all details of a person profile and/or hand over all information back to them.
- No more retargeting!
- No more IP tracking!
But I’m not in the EU – this doesn’t affect me
Since most of us are marketing worldwide…how are we to know if a European resident visits our website or landing page? Compliance with these rules cannot come after the fact.
Remember…these regulations carry international obligations.
If you are an affiliate in the US who sells a product or signs up someone who is in the EU, you are bound to comply.
I’ve already noticed many email automation companies changing their terms and conditions. Many are no longer accepting network marketing and affiliate businesses (check out my post about Mailchimp and take a good look at the terms of service).
Basically, if you look closely, you’ll realize that this will radically change how we market online.
I’m curious if anyone else has encountered or heard about this yet?
How will it affect your business?
And how will you adapt?
I look forward to hearing your thoughts and opinions on the matter.