No More Google Analytics

1 minute read

Since the beginning, Control-Alt-Backspace has been using Google Analytics, the most popular analytics service for websites. You likely visit dozens of pages that use Google Analytics every day. It’s become popular because it’s free and easy to use for webmasters.

The problem is that Google Analytics collects crazy amounts of information, far more than I would ever actually want to look at, and quite likely more than you’re comfortable with. Worse, it tracks individual users all across the Internet, via various mechanisms, recording what devices they use, their age, gender, interests, all the sites they visit, and God knows what else, and makes all this data available to anyone who uses Google Analytics. Now the users are anonymized, at least in theory – I can’t see your name and address or anything – but you probably didn’t know that most websites are helping Google build up a history of all your web activity which is then shared with advertisers.

I never signed up for the add-on services that involve the worst abuses of this system – in fact, I made some manual changes to collect less data on you and described them on the Disclosures page – but continuing to use the service at all still felt in conflict with the mission of Control-Alt-Backspace. As of last week, Google Analytics is gone, gone, gone. I’ve replaced it with Simple Analytics, which is a bit on the pricey side for a noncommercial blog (about $10 a month), but is doing exactly the right things and is well worth supporting. Rather than tracking you individually, it collects simple aggregate statistics, meaning it has nothing useful to share with advertisers, governments, hackers, or anyone else. You can read more about it in the appropriate Disclosures section, where I have also added additional information about cookies, JavaScript, and website hosting and how those might affect your privacy.