GDPR and Affiliate Marketing

I’ve lost count of the amount of unsolicited emails I’ve received recently asking me if I’m ready for GDPR (which is kind of ironic when you think about it). General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect on 25th May 2018.

In a nutshell, it is a regulation in European Union law regarding data protection and privacy for all individuals within the EU. There have been approximately one million articles, talks and webinars on the subject so far. Most of these have had some kind of terror-inducing connotations associated, especially when you look at the reported EU fines that could potentially cripple an organisation who is not processing data correctly. At the last count, businesses could face fines of up to €20m or 4% annual global turnover for non-compliance!

So how is this impacting affiliate marketing, and what can we expect will change in the channel from late May onwards? One of the most promising signs so far has been the alliance forged by the leading affiliate networks in the UK to stand together on all things GDPR.

Earlier in March, the likes of affilinet, Awin, CJ Affiliate, Impact Radius, Optimise, Performance Horizon, Rakuten Marketing, Skimlinks, Tradedoubler and Webgains all issued a clear and consistent statement to clarify their stance on data handling. The statement covers off key areas such as Personal Data, the processing thereof, the ePrivacy Directive and an Industry Consent Solution. There is also a handy checklist of next steps for Publishers to consider in the run up to May.

It is encouraging to see the major networks in the UK come together on such an important topic, and ahead of these uncertain times, it is promising to see that they are taking a unified approach to how they intend to adapt to business in a post-GDPR world.

Elsewhere, IAB Europe (Interactive Advertising Bureau) have launched their GDPR Transparency & Consent Framework site, aiming to provide all parties involved in digital marketing with a clear and helpful set of resources and guidelines for how to operate correctly once GDPR lands. The affiliate and lead generation teams here at Equator have been keeping abreast of the situation by regularly checking this site, as well as undergoing internal training to ensure we are as prepared as possible for General Data Protection Regulation coming into effect later this summer.

From my own personal experience of working in the affiliate industry over the years, I am reminded of the panic that accompanied the EU cookie law that came into effect a few years ago. While that more or less turned out to be a case of the boy who cried wolf, I would advise you to take heed of GDPR and make sure you are as well versed and aware of its implications ahead of May 25th 2018. Pay particular attention to the sites listed above and make sure your chosen network are providing you with regular updates on the matter. Of course, you are more than welcome to reach out to us here at Equator for more assistance.