We are pleased to announce the launch of the new Catalyst UK website.
Catalyst are a business consultancy group providing support to small businesses across the central southern region of England, and specialises in innovation startups, recovery, and growth development.
With a wide range of skills and experience across many market sectors, Catalyst is perfectly positioned to help business owners in the SME sector, whatever the stage of development of their business: from startups to mature companies looking for growth in new directions.
A couple of days ago we posted a synopsis of the new "cookie law" that comes into effect on Saturday 26th May, which outlined the "analytics or no analytics" dilemma facing website owners.
However, today (25th May) the ICO rendered our original article somewhat pointless with the issue a further set of guidelines (the eve of the legislation taking effect is perhaps a little late), with an accompanying video explaining their approach to enforcement. In essence these notes considerably reinforce their stance of not expecting to take any action against websites using tracking cookies, the expectation that website owners need only make the least intrusive changes to comply, a U turn on their stance on explicit v implied consent, and that the focus of their attention will be on targeting the worst 3rd party cookie offenders that the legislation was originally intended to attack in the first place.
To read the ICO the blog post and watch the video, CLICK HERE. We particularly liked the line: "The Information Commissioner is responsible for enforcing the law, and can’t change the legislation which was passed by the EU, and later implemented by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)." In other words, don't blame us for this stupid law, we didn't make it!
To check out the new ICO guidance notes, CLICK HERE
You may or may not have heard about the new cookie law that comes into effect on 26th May.
Under the new rules, any website that places cookies on the user's computer that aren't strictly necessary for the delivery of the information or services requested are required to gain permission beforehand.
These are an essential part of managing a visitor's use of the site, and consequently should be seen as being included in the “strictly necessary” category of cookie, and therefore permission is not required; although if your installation uses othe 3rd party components, you might need to check if these set additional cookies and what these do.
However, if you are using an analytics program, such as Google Analytics, to monitor visitors to your site, you now have a problem, as the recently published guidelines from the Information Commissioner's Office indicate that the ICO's view is that analytics / tracking cookies do NOT fall into the category of “strictly necessary”, and consequently to comply with the law you need to gain consent before using cookies to track visitors. To see how the ICO sees this working in practice, visit the ICO site (http://www.ico.gov.uk/).
One assumes that the ICO would be a trusted organisation, yet they recently announced that less than 10% of visitors to their site opted in to accept cookies, which doesn't bode well for sticking to the letter of the law if you want to track the other 90% plus of your visitors.
And to further confuse things, the latest ICO guidelines include this:
"Whilst he does not consider they are exempt from the rules the Commissioner is therefore unlikely to prioritise, for example, first party cookies used for analytical purposes and cookies that support the accessibility of sites and services, in any consideration of regulatory action."
Or, in other words, we consider they are illegal but we probably won't prosecute.
Good law, this, you just can tell when the regulatory authority is ambivalent about if and how they might enforce it.
But this means that you, as a website owner, are now faced with a dilemma:
To go “strictly legal”, by adding an opt-in mechanism, or by removing your analytics program altogether, in which case you will not be able to track 90% or more (or any) of your site visitors with analytics; or to ignore the opt-in requirement and trust that the ICO really doesn't intend to do anything to enforce the rules on tracking cookies.
We should also point out that the EU directive itself allows for browser settings on cookies to constitute consent, but the ICO doesn't accept that current browsers meet the necessary requirements of “informed consent”. There is a coordinated move by all the major browser developers to add such a mechanism, but it is not clear when this is likely to be incorporated in new releases; furthermore, this won't solve the problem of consent from visitors using older browsers.
To find out more about the details of the new law, see the ICO guidelines:
the International chamber of Commerce has also produced a good guide that is considerably more digestible:
Local Building Surveyors is an internet startup providing a surveyor search and estimating service. Aimed at property buyers, it's one of those sites that does pretty much "what is says on the tin" - LBS allows potential house buyers find a chartered surveyor in their own area, and get instant quotes for RICS HomeBuyer, Building, and Valuation surveys.
Unlike some other property service comparison sites, it's restricted to RICS members or RICS regulated firms only to ensure the service quality delivered by users of the site.
Class Ideas has been supplying, national and international, primary and nursery schools with fun and rewarding products for more than 25 years.
The new website is part of a major revamp of the Class Ideas offering, and the launch is timed to coincide with the release of the company's new brochure, and is packed with an expanded range of new products.
The new site replaces an existing site long overdue for a refresh, and features a bright zestful design with plenty of bright colours. This is the second new e-Commerce site delivered this year for parent company the Whitehill Group, based in Romsey, Hampshire. Another business in the group, Motaforms, successfully launched its new website in the Spring.