Biscuits, GDPR and the state of the web

3rd July 2020

The open web is an epic creation and something we should celebrate, but as the saying goes “marketers ruin everything.” With the web, that meant tracking you online to sell you more stuff with targeted ads. Then along came the EU and said “Enough!” and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was born. Great!

Kind of… the well-lawyered companies with lots of gold coins like Google and Facebook didn’t blink; they welcomed this regulation to further entrench their positions. But everyone else? They scrambled for the May 2018 regulation deadline thinking “Bobbins, we need a cookie pop-up!”

And then this happened:

And not only that, but the experience of using many websites didn’t change — they still overload you with tracking scripts that make them unusable on a slow connection or older devices, like this:

It’s a sad state of affairs.

How we (don’t really) track you

What’s to be done? Removing everything is one option, but it’s still useful to know when people visit your website and what pages are popular. But it turns out you don’t need to sacrifice people’s privacy or put up with a slow website for that to happen.

Using the Brave browser, here are 2 randomly-selected websites from vaguely similar industries:

Three website tracking Vodafone website tracking

And ours for comparison:

Zevvle website tracking

A few months ago we switched to a new website analytics service called Fathom. They’re an independent company that tell us how our website is used — what pages, how many people and which countries — without invading people’s privacy or following them around the web, like if you searched for face masks and then saw an ad for toilet roll 20 minutes later. It gets rid of all the useless junk for a much better experience.

Our biscuit policy

We used to have a 234-word cookie policy, but it’s now mostly useless and was hardly British. Henceforth it’s 111 words and shall be known as our Biscuit Policy. We don’t actually need it, but it’s the done thing and we’ve used it to shed some light on cookies biscuits, what we don’t do with them and why we don’t need a pop-up.

We don’t want to contribute to the tragic clutter of the web. And yes we’re not quite at the level of BBC’s website traffic to have a big impact, but any day now…

Have a great weekend! 🌧

Nick Goodall

Nick Goodall