PIXLS.US Blog - Goodbye Google Analytics


(system) #1

Goodbye Google Analytics

A little less tracking for the new year

Over on my personal website I decided to stop using third party trackers and assets to keep from exposing visitors to unintended tracking. Third party assets expose a user to being tracked and analyzed by those third (or fourth, or more) parties and honestly this is something the web could use a little (lot) less of. I loved having stats early on when we started this crazy idea for a community and as I mentioned on my blog post, it’s a Faustian bargain to get stats at the expense of allowing Google to track what all the users of the site are doing. No thanks.

I figure it’s the eve of a new year so why not start it out right and reduce the tracking footprint of the site?

This all started by noticing that some new browser feature strips referer information from requests (thanks @darix) and we were using them to target specific areas of websites that we manage comments for. It came to my attention when I was reading the release announcement for digiKam 6.0.0 beta 3.

While fixing that problem, I found that once we fixed the referer requirement problem I was still seeing issues with Privacy Badger blocking our embed code. On further inspection it boiled down to using Google Analytics on our base domain (pixls.us) and having a cookie set by Google, which then got sent with embed requests from other websites (digiKam and darktable). This triggered the heuristic blocking by Privacy Badger.

Honestly, we derive very little value from the analytics for the price (privacy) we pay to use it. Better to simply remove it.

We still do analytics but we own the stack ourselves (thank you so much andabata!). If you want to block our own analytics the domain is: piwik.pixls.us.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://pixls.us/blog/2018/12/goodbye-google-analytics/

(Mica) #2

This is a welcome change going forward, even though I’ve been blocking google analytics myself for a long time.

To make it clear: our own analytics stack (mamoto, previously piwik) does give us some good insight into what all of you like and provides us with an idea of what we should produce going forward.


#3

Goodbye, the fine woman. Hello, babbling about chicken thieves. No more fun. The end.


#4

A very welcoming change, indeed!

Nobody should be able to crosstrack every single website you visit, to what you search for in the Google search engine, to what files you backup on Google Drive, to the content of your Gmail’s, to the videos watched on Google YouTube, to the locations looked up on Google Maps, to what you watch on your Google Smart TV, to your contacts stored on the Google Phone and the Google Play apps you interact with on it, to the schedules stored on your Google calendar, to the heart rate monitored by your Google watch, to everything entered in the Google Chrome browser on a Google Chromebook connected to a Google network. Every time a site admin chose to use Google Analytics or Google reCaptcha they are surrendering users data to that already monster machinery. It’s very hard to fully escape the monster, but with solutions like self hosted Matomo site admins have hardly any excuses for using Google Analytics to feed the monster by sharing both user data and businuess strategies with a third party who admittingly do this 1984 crosstracking.

Feeling spooked? You really should, but the above is not even half of the story: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Google_products

I wish more site admins did this self reflecting of what third parties they rely on and the consequences to our society of choosing the “safe” route.


(Gustavo Adolfo) #5

Just for curiosity: what led you to choose matomo instead of, for example, open sourced Open Web Analytics?


(Pat David) #6

I think it was mostly just a case of what was available as FOSS and what @andabata was willing to put up with, since he manages that for us (along with raw.pixls.us !!). :slight_smile:


(Kees Guequierre) #7

I’ve used OWA before, and came across piwik, and it looked like a nice change. Nothing more to it then that. But work just fine.