First, let me calm the grammar snobs by stating that the title is intentional, not a misspelling.
If you have online accounts (Facebook, Twitter and such) you have no doubt been swamped in recent days with a deluge of emails touting privacy updates. My apologies, but this post covers the privacy updates for both nicholsnotes.com and godplantedagarden.com.
The European Union (EU), originator of ISO (9000, 9001, etc.), has released another plot. This one is tagged General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and I would suggest a long walk before investigating its provisions. GDPR affects web-based businesses, government agencies, bloggers, and anyone who collects any data of any type from users who visit their site. That data may originate on an email subscription form, a contact form, an online store/shopping cart or a host of spots where a user can fill in blanks. As I understand it, the driving desire behind the regulation is to curtail the torrent of spam that blasts into inboxes.
(At this point in the article editorial comments and personal opinions have been painfully squelched.)
As a simple blogger I offer a free subscription opportunity to interested parties. For the price of an email address (and optionally first and last name) I send clean, with no ads and no marketing, articles. My email address list is maintained by Mailchimp, and the data is guarded by my integrity and theirs. I would not sell, rent, spam, or misuse the data of anyone who signs up for the blog. Mailchimp makes the same promise.
I do occasionally mention one of my books in these emails or include an Amazon link in the article posted on my webpage to a product mentioned in the text. And, yes, should you buy the product via the link Amazon tosses a few pennies my way. Honest confession: In my nearly six years as an Amazon Associate I have earned a whopping $10 from these links. Either I am not very good at marketing or I provide the link simply as a convenience to my readers.
The EU now expects that I be able to prove that a user signed up for any email I send. To join one of my email lists the user must click a button. That action takes him to a page where he must click a box stating explicitly that he is OK with my sending emails to his address (new GDPR requirement). That is followed by a recaptcha page where the user must click an “I am not a robot box.” And finally Mailchimp will send an email where the user must click “Yes! Add me to the list button”. Only after these steps is a user’s email retained on the list. I can make the process no safer or simpler.
If you are accessing my site from a country under the banner of the EU, you are welcome here. Should the steps I have taken not give you confidence your email address will be used appropriately, please, just move on or surf without subscribing.
Current subscribers (you are one if you get this email) can unsubscribe at any time by following the link included at the bottom of each and every email. Once you unsubscribe Mailchimp will stop the emails. And I will greatly miss you.
Google is also forcing changes to protect users by now requiring that websites use SSL to secure any user data. SSL gives the URL address in the browser the https:// rather than http:// prefix and may also include a pad lock symbol in the display. Sites which fail to offer this level of security will be penalized in Google searches, even marked as unsafe by some browsers. Yikes!
The addition of the SSL certificate means substantial cost to non-marketing sites like mine. I am researching the options and hope to provide another update at the conclusion of that effort. I desire to be a good and responsible host and show proper diligence in protecting my readers while providing a positive experience.
Thank you for your interest in my work.
John W Nichols
May 30, 2018