Earlier this year, the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) released updated guidelines on the use of cookies, which included new information regarding paywalls (also called “cookie walls”).


Companies are expected to be compliant since January 11th, 2024. This article covers the different types of paywalls, the basic rules surrounding paywall use in Spain, and how to integrate with your CMP implementation. 


Note: Meta is currently under scrutiny over its “Pay or Okay” subscription model after being challenged by privacy activist group NOYB. While using a cookie wall is acceptable under certain circumstances in Spain, as outlined in this article, we encourage you to keep track of the latest developments in the industry this year. 

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What is a paywall, and how does it benefit publishers?


A paywall is a digital method online content providers use to limit access to their content to users who have completed a certain action. It is essentially an arrangement between websites and their users to grant content access, helping publishers monetize their audience and collect first-party data in exchange.

Although often referred to as “paywalls” by default, content walls come in different shapes and sizes, asking audiences for different things in exchange for access to content, with various benefits for publishers:


  • Paywalls ask users to pay to access premium content

  • Registration walls require that users create an account

  • Cookie walls give visitors an alternative to accepting cookies and tracking, such as subscribing or paying a one-off fee

  • Survey walls ask users to answer some questions to collect first-party data

  • Newsletter walls, a form of registration walls, require users to sign up to an email list in exchange for access

  • Donation walls offer the option for users to support publishers financially (non-mandatory)

These walls are, of course, hugely beneficial to publishers, particularly given the increasing percentage of users who are declining cookies, cutting off a vital monetization point.


To maintain compliance with applicable regulations when implementing a paywall, organizations must ensure that they act within the law. Let’s look at what the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) says about these walls specifically.


Rules surrounding the use of paywalls in Spain, according to the AEPD


In recent guidance provided to organizations operating in Spain, the Spanish Data Protection Authority (AEPD) joined other European authorities (like the CNIL in France) in declaring that cookie walls can be used under certain circumstances:


"There may be certain cases in which not accepting the use of cookies prevents access to the website or the total or partial use of the service, provided that the user is adequately informed and an alternative, not necessarily free of charge, access to the service is offered without the need to accept the use of cookies.”

- AEPD guidance on cookies (source: AEPD)


While this indicates that the AEPD seems to accept the use of cookie walls, registration walls, and paywalls, the Spanish DPA maintains recommendations from the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) that alternatives to accepting cookies should be genuinely similar to the option that requires consent for cookies and should be provided by the same entity.


Currently, the Spanish DPA does not clarify specific limitations such as price, type of organizations that can access this mechanism, etc. A good rule of thumb is that the amount or payment conditions should be reasonable to ensure that users are not forced to grant their consent, and have an actual choice.


Let’s take a look at some examples of Spanish paywalls implemented by Didomi clients. For more information about cookie laws in Spain, head to our dedicated article:


Cookie laws in Spain


How can you get started with paywalls and Didomi?


There are two ways you can get started with setting up a wall, whether it’s a traditional paywall, a registration wall, or a cookie wall:


  • Setting up a custom paywall with your technical team 

  • Using a paywall provider such as contentpass, Qiota, or Poool


Regardless of your decision, Didomi’s Consent Management Platform (CMP) can adjust and work seamlessly with some of the most popular paywall providers thanks to our native integration. Check out our documentation to discover our recommendations on integrating a paywall with Didomi (en inglès).


To discuss your privacy and compliance challenges and explore how you can collect valid consent according to the AEPD recommendations, book a call with one of our experts:


Talk to an expert


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Are paywalls legal in Spain?

Paywalls can be legal in Spain under certain conditions, as outlined in the AEPD cookie guidelines.


What are some alternatives to paywalls?

For companies that are not looking to implement a pay model to grant access to users, some alternatives to paywalls exist: Registration walls, cookie walls, survey walls, newsletter walls, or even donation walls.