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Cookie Monster: Get In Line

“Nine brings freshly baked cookies to your soul food barbecue and afterwards cleans up all the dishes.”

— from Opalescence: The Pleiadian Renegade Guide to Divinity

I’ve been talking with a friend over the past week or so on the subject of cookies and permission. Lest you think this has to do with a cookie jar and dieting, let me be clear: this is strictly business. The European Union has instituted a new law called GDPR, and it’s turned into a real monster, eating up hours of my time. And it’s not done with me yet! I’m using it as an exercise in finding Nine within it all. More on that below. First, the nitty-gritty on privacy, tracking cookies, and you.

Today is the day a new law becomes official in Europe, wherein anyone marketing to anyone who lives in Europe must have their explicit consent to send said marketing materials. Now, obviously this is meant to target big, juicy companies who sell (Carl Sagan voice) billions and billions of dollars worth of stuff. Meat and potatoes for collecting fines and injecting exciting (not) new levels of bureaucracy into the otherwise humdrum lives of ordinary people. I understand the need for protecting personal information, don’t get me wrong. But rolling out the tools and guidelines for people who run a one-man show, like yours truly, five days before the deadline seems a bit cruel, if you ask me. Threats of fines, the looming spectre of being shut down, all of that pales in comparison to the actual nightmare of doing what has to be done to get into compliance.

Like you, I’ve waded through a sudden influx of emails asking for GDPR consent. I even got one from a flustered blogger who decided to delete her entire mailing list and close her blog (a basic mom-blog about kids and school). I watched several days of my own productivity get eaten up by what seemed like a simple enough task, but which grew before my eyes like Godzilla rising from the sea. The tail of this monster has crashed into every part of my recently updated, carefully crafted family of websites, flicking debris into the region of Newsletter-dom to the extent it has rendered normal email communications unresponsive. I’ll take this moment to say, if you’re waiting for this week’s Pleiadian tarot newsletter, I’m working on it. For whatever reason — and I have checked on every possible one — the feed suddenly, inexplicably stopped working. This has me thinking that the free services of MailChimp aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, not that there was much in that regard for basic newsletters. With Nine’s Path growing, reaching new readers, I’m looking into possibilities outside of MailChimp’s purview. (Recommendations are welcome in the comments section below!) Perhaps finding a new home to communicate from is the direction Nine is nudging… perhaps. I’ve got an open mind about it.

So, announcements. On the websites, you’ll see a new popup asking you to accept cookies. Please know that 1) I hate popups as much as anyone, and 2) I don’t collect personally identifiable information for nefarious purposes, or otherwise as outlined in the shiny new Privacy Policy. Basically, you’re asked to consent to very basic cookies. Flavorless, sugarless, shapeless and otherwise very boring little snips of code that tell the Nine’s Path website server that you’re online, anonymously. If you leave a comment, your name and website are noted, and if you have a Gravatar, the site will grab that, too. If you write to me using the contact form, I will be sent your email address to reply to, but that information isn’t stored anywhere on this site. If you use the PayPal button, your personal information goes straight to PayPal and isn’t stored anywhere on this site. Google Analytics will tell me very generally how many people from what countries are visiting the site and for how long, but none of that information is personally identifiable, and (sing it with me) isn’t stored anywhere on this site. Ditto for anything you purchase at either of the Pleiadian Soul online stores; that information stays with Cafepress and Zazzle. I don’t sell, share, or store your personal info. That’s the basic gist of the new privacy policy, but you are most welcome to peruse it if you enjoy reading rudimentary legalese.

And now, apologies. I am sorry to have sent out so many bothersome emails asking you to tell me how much you love me… I mean, that you’d like to keep receiving email updates from the League of Light. I’m sorry to put a popup on the site to ask you to please have some cookies. I wish I could share real cookies with you, but maybe in another time and place we can explore that. I apologize for delays in responses and upgrades I had planned on doing to the site caused by this mad scramble. I’m sort of sad that I put so much work into getting my meager mailing list compliant when I see what little other, bigger, more marketing-oriented sites are doing in comparison (basically, zilch). Did I really need to be that non-intrusive? That’s not what all the guidelines I read indicated. Oh well. That’s not really an apology, more of a suggestion that the brains who thought 5 days was enough for oblivious minor figures on the internet to wrap their heads around the 88 pages of legislation and somehow become compliant with it without the use of staff, counsel, or magic owe me an apology for eating up precious days of my life right now. Just venting.

And finally, Nine’s path in all of this: Mailing list is double opt-in, ensuring everything that concerns GDPR vis-à-vis mailing is hunky-dory (you can sign up here, if you haven’t already). I have the idea to move the mailing list to a new platform and while I will probably have to pay for that service to ensure the best of the best, it will probably mean less headache for me, smoother delivery to you, and a better tool for outreach for the League of Light.

The underlying message I get from this exercise is that regardless of whatever is going on in the world, the communications going out from Nine’s Path are important and deserve a(nother) major upgrade. Even if there are some tangles to comb out (that’s Six’s nature), the result will be lighter, brighter, and better all around.

Ah, and there is Nine, shining through it all!

Note: If you would like to become part of the support team for keeping this site up and running, and extending its light, please consider a monthly donation. Or buy me a coffee. Every bit helps me help you help the world. Thank you.

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