<< by on March 24th, 2010
Last Thursday March 18, Google let it be known, in a one paragraph announcement on their Analytics Blog, that a browser-based opt-out for Google Analytics is on the way. Without giving away too many specifics as to what exactly this opt-out feature will entail, many avid Analytics users were rightfully frustrated with Google when brainstorming the possible ways in which the change could potentially impact their own Analytics data.
I personally found this announcement frustrating for the following reasons:
- Those who use Google Analytics will be unable to determine which tools and reporting features will be affected- and to what degree data will be impacted.
- Analytics is a tool of metrics, measurement, and comparison. While only a few users may choose to opt-out with the new Analytics browser based plug-in, any change- no matter how small- affects the integrity of historical M-O-M and Y-O-Y comparisons.
- Additionally, a big concern is what about other tools that use similar tracking cookies such as Website Optimizer- will it be affected?
- I feel that by announcing they will be allowing web searchers to have the option to opt out of Analytics tracking, Google is essentially taking candy away from a well behaved child, the website owner.
- A website owner can not reach out and directly contact a specific individual by means of their Analytics data. Google Analytics collects information anonymously. This anonymously collected information is then used to help website owners understand how their visitors engage with their particular website.
- If privacy concerns are the main motivation for this action, what about addressing what I consider even bigger complaints?
- Google scans messages from your Gmail in-box to determine which ad to serve.
- Google BUZZ and other social media sites are always changing what data is automatically opt-in or opt-out to share- such as physical location- with out making any announcements.
Aside from these three main rants, another frustration adding to the general confusion on the subject is that if you search for “Google Analytics opt-out” looking for the Analytics blog article, the top result is a link for the Advertising and Privacy – Google Privacy Center. Visit this page and you will notice a rather large blue button with the call to action “Opt Out”. But this is not the opt-out option for Analytics.
If you click this big blue button (and the next blue button) you come to the page listed below.
What is it that this browser plugin download opts you out of? DoubleClick tracking for AdSense ads:
“Opting out of the DoubleClick cookie means that Google’s AdSense partners, DoubleClick, and certain Google services using the DoubleClick cookie will know you have opted out of the cookie and will not attempt to assign other DoubleClick cookies in the future. You will see the same number of ads as before, but they may not be as relevant when you opt out.”
So where does the actual Analytics opt-out blog article rank for the search query “Google Analytics Opt-Out” on Google?