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What GDPR entails for bloggers, even outside Europe by @lexanesirac

by Lexane Sirac | Featured Contributor

GDPR is short for General Data Protection Regulation, and it’s a big thing coming to the European Union on May 25th, 2018.

Now, don’t log off immediately, non-European friends – this affects you too. Any website owner can be sued by European people who visit it. The only way that you would not be affected by GDPR rules is if you make your website closed to anyone in Europe.

Which probably won’t happen.

This post is not legal advice in any way – it’s just a breakdown of the main consequences of GDPR on bloggers, without the corporate jargon. You can read the whole regulation online.

Old key and laptop

At the heart of GDPR: no more automatic opt-ins

Do you use a premium content strategy in order to harvest email addresses? Or, very simply, a newsletter subscription form?

You still can, but you should be careful with the way you present your form. Many bloggers currently think that someone who gives them their email address is okay with getting emails afterwards. Others have added a pre-checked box, that people can uncheck. That’s better, but we’re still not there.

The law says there must be explicit consent to sign up: basically, you are going to need to add this checkbox and leave it empty so nobody can sign up by mistake.

This means it might be harder to get email subscribers, but you can look at the bright side too:

  • Fewer unsubscribes: people actually choose to be there, so it’s likely that they will want to stay subscribed
  • No more fake addresses
  • No more emails sent to low-quality contacts that will never become leads: they just won’t sign up

No more moving people between mailing lists

Let’s say you have a career advice newsletter.

If you launch a personal finance newsletter on the side, you can’t add people to it automatically – even if you’re sure that they will love it, they didn’t ask for it. You need to send them an email as part of the career advice newsletter, telling them about the personal finance newsletter and including a nice call-to-action so they sign up.

Again, this regulation is there so people won’t get subscribed to newsletters they won’t care about: make the most of it. Your contact database will be smaller, but your engagement will soar!

Cybercrime Abstract Concept

No more hiding data breaches

This shouldn’t happen anyway, but if you have an issue with your data, then you will need to tell your subscribers in under 72 hours. If your MailChimp (or any other email automation tool) account gets hacked, for instance, people need to know that they address may have been compromised. Let’s just hope that never happens to you!

Really, the whole opt-in regulations and mailing lists constraints are at the heart of the GDPR, for bloggers at least. Larger companies have a whole lot of data protection requirements, but since we generally don’t have to worry about those ourselves and leave it to our service providers, it’s all pretty simple for us.

Therefore, there is absolutely no reason to not follow the rules we do have to follow. You have until May, but better get started now so you can finetune everything before then!

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