Five More Common Website Mistakes to Avoid
Our list of five common website mistakes to avoid in the March issue of Mass Media Headlines prompted us to identify five more:
1. Losing track of tracking cookies. Administrators of websites that rely on advertising networks should keep an eye on what types of information those networks collect, and remember that contracts with the network may require the websites to post certain disclosures.
2. Having nonfunctioning opt-outs for emails. The CAN-SPAM Act requires senders of commercial emails to maintain a functioning mechanism to allow recipients to opt-out of receiving future such emails. Sometimes, a site will fail to include such an opt-out mechanism, or will contain a link to an opt-out screen that no longer functions. Check to make sure the mechanism works as it is supposed to.
3. Ignoring new top-level domains. The Internet Assigned Names Authority maintains many more Internet domains than simply .com and .org. Keep an eye out for newer domains that might be useful for your business. This issue recently became more acute when ICANN, the body that governs the domain name system, approved the creation of a potentially unlimited number of new top-level domains to compete with .com, .net, and the many country codes (like .us).
4. Collecting personal information from preteens without proper consent. The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act requires commercial websites to obtain "verifiable parental consent" before collecting personally identifiable information from children under the age of 13, subject to five exceptions. Not doing so can subject a website to large financial penalties. This law applies not only to websites, but also to social networks and mobile apps. Operators of all of these have a tendency to get careless, or to ignore danger signs.