The Dark Side Of GDPR: Five Reasons Why It Hurts Email Marketers

Enough of these articles that tout the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as an opportunity. The only opportunity is for overzealous bureaucrats.

Granted, that’s not the popular view, given the cyclonic impact of the recent Facebook revelations: Consumers want protection. But let’s stop pretending that this is good for business. Just for argument’s sake, here are five reasons why GDPR may be the biggest nightmare ever to hit the online marketing world.

1. It’s the end of the Grand Bargain — What’s that? It’s the implicit deal that fueled the growth of the Internet, Larry Downes writes in Harvard Business Review. Noting that GDPR smacks of protectionism, he argues that online service providers "may rationally conclude that the new costs and potential penalties associated with collecting, analyzing, and marketing user-provided information have become unsustainable, requiring a new business model altogether." Say goodbye to customized recommendations from Amazon, he adds.



2. It will slow technical innovation — The Center for Data Innovation warns that GDPR provisions regarding AI technology will halt AI development within the continent, while doing little to protect consumers, George Leopold reports in Enterprise Tech.

Leopold adds: “Among the biggest concerns of GDPR critics is a provision requiring companies to manually review decisions made by algorithms, a step they warn would raise labor costs. That in turn would create an economic disincentive for using AI as a way to automate routine functions, the data group said.”

3. It’s a regulatory boondoggle — As Chris Elwell notes in MarTech Today, marketers need to ask permission over and over to do almost anything, there’s no break for small businesses and the rule even includes absurd protections for the information on business cards. "Of course, common sense dictates that no one will do this or ever be prosecuted for it, but 'common sense' and 'GDPR' seem to be mutually exclusive," Elwell argues. He calls on President Trump to prevent it from spreading here.

4. It may be coming here anyway — As reported by MediaPost’s Wendy Davis, Senators introduced a bill on Tuesday that would require affirmative consent for personal data use. Senator Ralph Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) and Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts), himself the son of a telemarketer, proposed The CONSENT (Customer Online Notification for Stopping Edge-provider Network Transgressions) Act. It would also require that web companies notify users about security breaches.

Even if this bill doesn’t make it, another might. "Americans deserve privacy protection," Gus Rossi writes in Public Knowledge. "The GDPR outlines some interesting elements for a strong privacy bill. We suggest Congress critically study and understand them."

5. Companies are hardly ready for it — Only a third of UK consumers say they have been contacted by brands for "repermissioning" — for consent to use their data for email and other online marketing purposes — according to a study by Databoxer. Databoxer adds that "considering that on average, a consumer is signed up to 12 marketing email lists, the fact that only one in three consumers have been contacted so far suggests that the number of firms who have initiated the repermissioning process’ is quite low," SC Media writes. 

Okay. We've gotten that off our chests. Now the only thing left is to adopt a good attitude--and comply. 

2 comments about "The Dark Side Of GDPR: Five Reasons Why It Hurts Email Marketers".
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  1. Robin Caller from LOLA GROVE, April 11, 2018 at 4:50 p.m.

    Call me. I will help you comply. 

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, April 11, 2018 at 5:09 p.m.

    Slowing down of innovation may be a boon to technology. Too many innovations have moved too quickly without caveats. GDPR is the best thing since sliced bread. The waters cannot spread just because email marketers are on the dark side and don't want to be disrupted. They are not holier than thou.

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