Within the next 24 hours, the world is going to stop spinning on its axis and the fleas of a thousand camels will infest the armpits of people who are not GDPR compliant.
I am sitting here, contemplating what my life is going to be like in a post-GDPR world and what will I do with all of my free time now that people are no longer allowed to sell me stuff via the internet without my expressed, seven checkboxes ticked, permission.
Of course, I’m poking a bit of fun, but I have to say, this GDPR thing has exceeded the craziness that enveloped people back in 2015 when the EU told us that we all had to become their VAT tax collectors under pain of death.
I had not seen anything like that, outside of maybe Y2K, but GDPR has taken it to a whole other level.
See, here’s the thing…
With Y2K, there was legacy code floating around built into microcontrollers that people “kinda” knew what would happen when “99” flipped over to “00”. The big risk was that they weren’t sure how many other things were using that information and how those things would react.
That was the real concern around Y2K was how some of the low-level integration between systems would work and nobody REALLY knew.
People knew that planes weren’t going to fall out of the sky, but there was still a level of uncertainty about how the vast array of ground control systems would work together, so grounding planes that night made some sense.
I was working in Hong Kong at the time and we just made the call to unlock the security doors of our office because the company that made our security pass system couldn’t certify the system. We hired a Gurkha from our sister company’s security business to stand guard at the door all night and not let anyone in or out without my approval.
Funnily enough, I received a call on January 1st, 2000 at 3am from the Hong Kong Police Department asking me to go to our office.
When I arrived a half hour later, sleepy and tired, I saw our Gurkha sitting on a stool, two ambulance workers treating someone on a chair and four police officers huddled in conversation.
It turned out that a building cleaning staff member decided he needed to clean our office, when the Gurkha refused to let him pass, the cleaner cursed at the Gurkha in Cantonese and reached for the door.
The Gurkha broke his wrist. The cleaner didn’t get inside the office.
The police took my statement, rushed the cleaner to the hospital and the Gurkha stood back up and guarded the office until we relieved him at 8am and turned the security system back on.
I don’t think anyone will end up with a broken wrist out of GDPR unless one of these people listening to the panic merchants out there trips and falls while chasing their own ass.
The funniest part of all of this is that the UK’s Information Commission’s Office (ICO) who are responsible for overseeing GDPR in the UK – their website is currently offline. It’s been offline for “maintenance” for hours.
On the final day for people to get ready, amidst peak panic, the ICOs website is offline.
Plus it somehow came out in an interview that for the ENTIRETY of the United Kingdom, there are 6 people working in the ICO to field issues raised.
We had more people handing out door passes when we moved offices three weeks ago for 700 people. The cafe where I got my lunch today had more people making sandwiches.
But that’s not stopping people from acting crazy.
No way, I’m getting emails from every corner with people begging me to “confirm” my optin to their email list – ironically, half of them I have no idea who they are or how I ended up on their list, so they probably acquired my email address under false pretenses anyway and are technically guilty of contravening SPAM laws, but let’s not get too far into facts when there is panicking to be doing.
I am not re-confirming myself on ANY lists whatsoever.
I’m curious to see how this plays out, particularly with internet marketers because some of these folks sending me emails are going to see their list sizes absolutely savaged.
Then what? I want to see how many of them start mailing me again in three or four weeks time when they realize, “Damn, this reconfirm stuff hurt me.”
Basically, now is the time to double down on email marketing – there are literally thousands of people who are committing ritual suicide at the EU’s GDPR altar when it comes to their business.
Not only are some of these people deleting LARGE sections of their email lists, but many of them are specifically requiring new people to take extra steps to optin for marketing and promotions.
The idea that if someone buys an info product from me that I need to EXPLICITLY ask them to take additional action to received promotional and marketing material from me is so utterly stupid it beggars belief.
When you buy something from me, we have a commercial relationship – I can send you future promotional material and you can opt out, that’s how it works EVERYWHERE else in the world, but the GDPR Nazis would have you believe you can’t do this anymore.
Good luck with that.
Nobody is going to proactively optin to that.
Think about the numbers – let’s say you buy some traffic and you have 100,000 people visit your site with 2% converting into buyers of your product.
That translates into 2,000 buyers.
Now, let’s be generous and say that 20% tick the box allowing you to send them future promotional and marketing material – that means 400 people get added to your marketing list.
This will entirely destroy your lifetime value of a customer metrics. You will REALLY not be able to do any kind of breakeven on the front-end offers because your backend is now a fraction of the size.
This is dumb and it’s bad for business.
But you see the opportunity here right?
While these muppets are out there jumping off the cliff together like a stupid bunch of lemmings, your opportunities have become richer.
The more people who delete their email lists and who make prospects run the gauntlet to get on their list in the first place means that those prospects are getting less email and your email is more likely to stand out.
This is good for us.
The Darwin Award Nominees are self-selecting themselves out of the gene pool, which means our chances of success increase without having to do anything extra.
So my suggestion?
Double down on building your list and making good offers to people.
If these hamsters are going to spend their time running on the GDPR hamster wheel of doom, let them.
While they’re busy wearing themselves out going nowhere, you have the chance to establish yourself in a greater way to your audience.
There’s going to be less noise, less clutter. Take advantage.
Just for the sake of clarity, if you live in the EU, market directly and specifically at EU citizens or you have a business presence in the EU, as an ethical business owner, you should be making every effort to comply with GDPR. If you haven’t done the work necessary, it’s not too late, start learning about it, seek professional legal advice and document the steps you’re taking to become compliant.
If you don’t live in the EU, do what I’ve done. I’ve written to my Federal and State members of parliament and expressed to them that I expect the government of Australia to maintain its sovereignty and enforce the laws of Australia preeminently in this country. Make your politicians know that kowtowing on matters of sovereignty to foreign powers is unacceptable and that their most basic, fundamental role as members of government is to protect and maintain the sovereignty and laws of your country.