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It’s time once again to catch up on my blogging backlog, sharing some substantive suggestions for my favorite peeps: the evidence-based investment advisor community. Kick back, grab a cool beverage, and read on about:

  1. How to strengthen your online privacy (compliments of GDPR);
  2. A Plutus Award financial publisher honor you may want to aim for; and
  3. A handy robo-advisor resource …

Controlling computer clutter, GDPR-Style

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m a big fan of the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Sure, it’s created some extra work for us business owners, but it’s also driving improved infrastructure to help everyone take better control over their online privacy. In a world in which we may feel our privacy slipping away, that’s important, and I’m happy to be a part of the cause.

Here’s a tip I learned when establishing GDPR-compliant cookie consent on my own website: Thanks to GDPR, you can now more tightly control what cookies you accept from many websites around the world.

Using my own site to illustrate, the first time you visit me (or if you haven’t visited recently), expect to see my relatively new cookie notice at the bottom. It’s a lot like many others popping up on your favorite sites, thanks to GDPR:

Odds are you’ve been implicitly or explicitly accepting all of a site’s cookies by either ignoring the notice or clicking on “Accept Cookies.” If you have a few seconds to spare, try clicking on the Cookie Settings option instead. Depending on the site’s set-up, you may be able to pick and choose which cookies you want to accept.

A site won’t properly function without its “Strictly Necessary” cookies, so you won’t be able to mess with those. But sometimes you’ll be able to deactivate others. In particular, you may want to turn off targeting cookies. Here’s how you’d do that on my website:

What’s a targeting cookie? They’re the little tidbits that affiliated vendors like YouTube and Google toss onto your computer to keep an eye on you. They probably won’t cause you any harm. They may even enhance your browsing experience by incorporating your historical usage patterns as you search and use the Internet. But if you’d rather button down your privacy and keep your computer a little less cluttered, deactivate these. I’ve started turning them off whenever a site lets me. Once you’ve set your preferences, they should apply every time you visit the same site from the same browser … at least until the next time you or one of your desktop cleaning utilities clears your cookie cache.

Not every website’s cookie banner works the same way mine does. Some are far more user-friendly than others. I selected OneTrust Privacy Management to set up my cookie consent because, (1) I love the level of simple visitor control it offers, as demonstrated above; (2) its free edition provided all the functionality I needed; and (3) even with the free edition, they’ve been super helpful, responding to a few questions I had and providing excellent training and documentation. I give OneTrust a big thumbs up. In fact, maybe I owe them a batch of fresh-baked cookies – chocolate chip?

The Plutus awards: Easy entry (if you’ve got what it takes)

If you’ve been busy running your advisory firm, you may not have heard about the Plutus Awards. But if you’ve got a financial website, blog, vlog or similar media channel you’re particularly proud of, you may want to find out more about how to enter the current 9th Annual Plutus awards competition. Submission is easy and free, and some of your better-known fellow advisors have already scored some sweet awards and savory SEO play in past years.

The deadline by which this year’s submissions are due is July 31 – so hurry up! … Or there’s always next year.

Not yet ready to enter anything yourself? The Plutus awards site is still a goldmine of examples of other independent financial publishers’ exemplary work. You’ll also find opportunities to sponsor awards, apply for grants and otherwise partner with this group of inspiring thought leaders.

Going undercover on the robo-beat

The Robo Report is another nifty resource I ran across recently. While there’s no lack of robo-advisor news coverage these days, this report by Backend Benchmarking is of particular interest. Its producers (who share common ownership and management with Condor Capital Management) have taken a “boots on the ground” approach to analyzing and benchmarking the various options. As they describe, “We could think of no better way to understand the different robo advice providers than to open up accounts and see for ourselves how they behave.” So that’s what they’re doing. You can request a copy of their latest report by visiting the Robo Report website. There’s a fresh report due out soon. There is an APViewpoint conversation about this service, from which you can access historical reports.

Wendy is the founder of Wendy J. Cook Communications, LLC, which offers writing, editing and related services to a worldwide community of fee-only, evidence-based financial advisors in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and elsewhere around the globe.

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