Why I killed the cookie popup

You know that thing where every website you go to has a really annoying cookie popup that forces you to either ‘Accept all’ or scroll through a massive list of 3rd party companies who want your delicious data? Or maybe there’s a popup that doesn’t actually do anything but tells you that ‘Your continued use of the website indicates your consent’? Well I hate that. The first option is a crappy user experience and the second option is quite clearly against the rules on cookies set out by the Information Commissioners Office.

And why do we have these cookie popups? Because the websites you visit want to track you. Sure, they say things like ‘We use cookies to offer you the best experience’ but that’s just nonsense. The way the ICO defines it, you need to get clear, positive opt-in from visitors if you want to store anything non-essential on their computer. Following me around the internet to try and sell me shit I don’t need feels pretty non-essential to me.

So I decided to take a stand. I recommend to my clients that they don’t include non-essential cookies on their sites because, well, it’s the decent thing to do. And it means you don’t need an annoying popup cookie banner.

But we need Google Analytics Pete!

Do you? Do you actually ever look at it? Okay, to be fair, it is a good idea to know how many people visit your website and to keep track of any important goals they complete. But you know what, there’s a non-evil, privacy focused alternative to Google Analytics that’s GDPR compliant and means you can get your stats and still avoid that dreadful popup banner. It’s called Fathom Analytics and it’s what I use on this site. Fathom doesn’t place cookies on your visitors devices and it doesn’t track people when they leave. It’s not free, but it starts at a very reasonable $14 a month. If you actually need analytics and you care about your visitors and the UX of your website that’s not too bad is it?

If you want to try Fathom, here’s a referral link: https://usefathom.com/ref/89QVTE

If you sign up via the link above I get a little bonus. If you’d prefer that I didn’t, you can go straight to https://usefathom.com/ 🙂

For transparency: I do set a single essential cookie

Although I don’t include tracking cookies this website will set a single cookie, for a single reason. If you change the style of the website with the drop-down menu up at the top I set a cookie called ‘eeStyle’. That cookie will have a value of either ‘style-dark’, ‘style-minimal’, or ‘style-garish’. I class this is an essential cookie because without it the style you choose would be reset as soon as you click through to another page. Other than remembering your preference this cookie does absolutely nothing. It’s what cookies are actually meant for.