It’s cookie time! How are UK companies dealing with the new law?

Article written by Claudiu Murariu

First let me say this: I don’t believe the cookie law can do a single thing to stop abuse of cookies but will just make websites frustrating to deal with.

While we are not under the new law jurisdiction (yet!), we will oblige to it. We are just going to wait a little to see how UK companies are dealing with it.

The law came in effect as of today, so I did a tour of major UK websites to see the methods they implemented to deal with the notorious cookie law.

BBC is my favorite

The law is meant to educate people about cookies and tracking technologies. BBC does just that: it tries to educate its users about the use of cookies on their website. The message is posted on top of the screen, in high contrast, so it’s hard to miss.

My favorite sentence in their implementation: “If you continue without changing your settings, we’ll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the BBC website.” In other words, if you don’t care, we don’t care.

What I love about BBC is that they went a step further. For those users who do care about their privacy they have created a dedicated privacy page, in plain language, where they can learn details about all the cookies and they can control which ones are setup and which not.

Virgin asks you to choose

The Virgin implementation goes in the middle of the page with one red and one green button, hard to miss. Of course, the green button says: Yes please (allow cookies). A little bit ironic, but at least they have the No thanks button very clear (even if red).

What I love about their implementation is this: “We will use a cookie to remember your preference (so that we don’t bother you with this question next time you visit).” Ironic all the way.

The best part is that, if you choose to not do anything about it and continue navigating, the following cookie gets set into your browser: vcpref: maybe. :)

FT takes the bold move

You either accept their cookies or don’t visit the Financial Times website. Of course, you can also choose to disable cookies in your browser and they show the way.

The only thing I hate about this implementation, though I think it’s right, is that it impacts user experience. I go to to read the latest on the crisis and you make me read this pointless text. I want the news.

The Guardian, they hate the law just as much as I do

It’s just they hate if for the different reasons. They have more than 100 cookies setup on the first page view of their website, from more than 10 different domains and I am pretty sure each one of them is valuable to them. No wonder their implementation (if you can’t spot it from the first try, we don’t blame you):

Their implementation is not what ICO probably had in mind. A small line at the top of the screen that is quite abstract to people who don’t understand cookies. If I’ll go tell my mum that it refers to the way the staff of The Guardian eats cookies, my mum will have no problem believing me (in fact she will have troubles believing me as she is almost as tech savvy as I am).

The big corporations

I’ve checked the implementations of Intel, Samsung or Apple and there is no sign of cookie policy anywhere on their home pages. I’m really curious what and how they will deal with the law.

As for us, we are inspired by the BBC implementation. Offering you, our users, the best experience ever is way more important than lecturing you about abstract things of which we really care to be ethical about.

What is you take on the whole deal, now that the law is here to stay?

For a different view on the matter, check out this article  by Graham Charlton.

It's cookie time! How are UK companies dealing with the new law? by

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  • Gilbert Hill

    Hi, great post with some really thoughtful comments. Interesting to see Virgin Media’s take on it; weren’t they one of the companies warned by the ICO last month? One thing is for sure, we are going to see a steady evolution in sophistication of solutions, both at the high and consumer-end.

  • Wolf Software

    We have created a complete suite of solutions to assist people in gaining consent from their users in various ways, opt in, opt out, implied, bars, growlers, sliders etc etc