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Blog Subscribers – Important Information

Dear friends,

I realise that you have all been absolutely bombarded with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) madness in the past month or so. With tomorrow’s deadline looming, you will no doubt be bombarded with ‘No, this really is your very last chance to stay in touch’  emails. You may have received an email from me, in which case I apologise for troubling you again, but the majority have bounced back with ‘server error’ messages. I am fairly certain that, between us, EU-based data processors have managed to break Outlook.  

I’ve been working up to the very last moment, trying to ensure that I am GDPR compliant. This has been far more complicated than you might think (unless you operate your own website and use third-party services, in which case it is exactly as complicated as you think). At the eleventh hour, I have hit a snag. 

I operate two separate email lists from my website.

  • This list is for my blog (which you have subscribed to) where I post content on a weekly basis, mainly author interviews but also occasional book reviews, news items and rants.
  • The list for my newsletter ‘I Promised You’d Be The First To Know’, from which I only share genuinely newsworthy events, details of competitions and freebies, etc.

I have always been completely clear and transparent about the content that subscribers will receive, but I now face a dilemma. It turns out that the technology installed on my website (a plugin) to manage my blog subscribers is not GDPR compliant. There are two main issues:

  1. I find that I cannot add a link to my privacy policy to the sign-up form, which means that it may not be considered that consent is ‘informed’.
  2. There is no facility to add an unsubscribe button at the end of every blog post.

There is a third issue that is unrelated to the plugin. Back-ups of my website have only been kept for a week, so I will not be able to produce evidence of what subscribers read at the point on sign-up on demand.   

The suggestion made by my web designers is that I delete the plugin and ask my blog subscribers (that’s you) to sign up for my newsletter. Whilst this would be by far the simplest solution for me, it doesn’t feel like the right solution because the posts are designed to appeal to very different kinds of readers. 

My workarounds are therefore as follows:

  1. Privacy policy – Do everything I can to draw attention to my privacy policy from the front page of my website and from a link in every blog post.
  2. Making it easy for people to unsubscribe – Add a note to the footer of every blog reminding readers that they can unsubscribe at any time by responding with the word ‘UNSUBSCRIBE’.
  3. If you are unhappy with the situation relating to the lack of back-ups, I can only suggest that you unsubscribe, because I have no retrospective remedy for that.
  4. I have also written to my MP asking that a time extension be granted to micro-businesses until the end of the year to give IT providers the chance to get up to speed.

I appreciate that this is by no means perfect, but please be assured that I am doing everything I can to try and find a better solution.

Thank you so much for bearing with me.