Google Analytics Goes Live

90 comments

Little to talk about untill they update my stats (i've registered and put the JS code on TW), which they say will happen sometime in the next 12hrs, but Google Analytics is now live.

From the ZDNet report above:

Quote:
Google Analytics will let Web site owners see exactly where visitors to their site are coming from, what links on the site are getting the most traffic, what pages visitors are viewing, how long people stay on the site, which products on merchant sites are being sold and where people give up in multistep checkout processes, said Paul Muret, an engineering director at Google and one of the founders of Urchin.

Comments

This has to really hurt the

This has to really hurt the lower end ASP analtics providers. The enterprise end offer quite a lot more functionality, but for smaller websites who are mainly spending on Adwords this is going to be such an easy option.

I wonder if they will add Adsense data in the future?

btw - anyone siging up from the UK - when you select country United Kingdom is in the middle of the countries beginning with the letter G for some reason.

Two thoughts: 1) Awesome.

Two thoughts:

1) Awesome. I'm going to use this on a ton of the fringe and personal websites. This saves me some serious caysh. Thanks, Google!
1a) Sucks to be in the web analytics biz right about now.

2) No freaking way I'm sharing mission data with Google on the important stuff. Is that a black helicopter on my lawn?

Yahoo is going to use its social web advantage to improve SERPs. Google is going right for the traffic data. Nothing we haven't known for a while, but the landscape is sure getting more resolute these days.

Damn! Sorry Adam

ThatAdamGuy scooped me on the story but i missed the submission :(

Here's what he wrote:

Quote:
I just learned via a BusinessWeek article that Google will be making its Web Analytics service available for free as of Monday. As you probably know, Google purchased Urchin a while back, and had reduced the Urchin On-demand service prices to $199/month.

My personal experience with Urchin? After evaluating lots of competing analytics vendors, a team including myself at a former client decided to go with Urchin for the company's analytics needs. The good: lots of rich information, a generally supportive team, great price. The bad: VERY slow UI (probably due to the huge traffic of this client), had to contact tech support for retroactive filter changes, and often times I found that useful info was buried and difficult to glean.

With that said, though, I can't wait to use Urchin on my modest personal sites, and may recommend it as a strong solution for smaller clients. For larger clients, I think Hitbox / Omniture / et al are still going to be more reasonable bets.

* * *

What's been your experience with Urchin?
And how do you think this will shake up the analytics and/or SEO landscape?

I've been using Urchin

I've been using Urchin On-Demand now for about 6 months. It's great, but there are some issues with being slow at times. It normally takes 3 hours to update, but there are times when it can be as much as half a day.

I dont mind paying money for quality analytics. I would actually prefer to pay if it means that I dont have to wait as long. I really hope that the Free service doesnt make things even slower then they are now, if it does, I may consider another option.

multiple profiles, common id

It seems that if you add a second site your analytics tracking code is in large part the same, i.e. the code contains your unique id xxxxx-yy where xxxxx is unique to your account, yy is unique to the profile you create. So, a (admittedly advanced) searcher will be able to find sites that belong to you by searching for documents which contain xxxxx.

If you have sites which you may not want people to be able to connect with you, then seperate google accounts would be judicious. It is interesting that they do this rather than allocating a unique id per site. Does this make sense? Haven't gone to bed yet and it's twenty to nine am.

You can already trace sites via AdSense

AdSense publishers can already be traced using the publisher ID embedded in the AdSense code. I blogged about this a while back. If you want to be truly "private", you have to create a separate legal entity for AdSense purposes, so the same kind of thing could apply here. Actually, maybe it's as simple as signing up for Analytics with a separate Google account, I haven't actually read the terms in detail yet. (But that's a no-no with AdSense.)

Mr Cutts commenting

... on his blog.

It would be irresponsible and puerile to take just one line from his comments and post it without context, so, here it is:

Blackhat SEOs may be leery of using Google for analytics, but regular site owners should be reassured.

Urchin on Demand

I just signed up for the Urchin on Demand service. Does this mean that Urchin on Demand has gone free or is this a new service with much the same backbone?

Urchin now = Google Analytics

You can tell this by going to www.urchin.com. All paid accounts are now free. Just read, though, that Google may still charge for the software (v5 and/or v6).

At first, though, I also thought that Google'd be making separate tiers, but I guess that they decided that supporting half a zillion people on two different versions (paid and lite) would be even more of a support headache than supporting a zillion people on the same version.

And Nick, no worries... and thanks for the acknowledgement in-thread.

I am just so amazed by this,

I am just so amazed by this, but for Google it ofc makes perfect sense.

Great

more damn tracking of everything we do online going into their big mother db :(

www.google-analytics.com now goes to localhost for me thanks to /etc/hosts :)

the on demand is free... the

the on demand is free... the hosted by merchant software or whatever is not, since Google does not get all the data.

Signed up to take a look

Looks like might take a while to get data. The site overlay is pretty neat..

Great start... Google

Great start...

Quote:
Google Analytics reporting is currently undergoing maintenance and will be available shortly. Your site traffic is being logged and you will be able to see the data after system maintenance has concluded.

How slow will this be

How slow will this be tomorrow when we all log on and try checking out stats!!

It also took me sometime to find UK when signing up (as mentioned above), found in the G's (Great Britain mix up you think?)

Also, great resource to wow our clients...all for free of course ;o)

It is great, but terribly

It is great, but terribly slow for them moment and I bet it wont be faster any time soon as people all over the globe starts useing it....

Slow as molasses

Took forever to get the error message. Question to those that already have this installed. Is it slowing the loading of your pages? Or is Admin on a different bank of servers?

Nick, I don't see the code in the head of this TW page. Did you install it?

martin

He put it at the bottom of

He put it at the bottom of body, but it should be in the bottom of head I think.

It has not slowed down my site.

trying to sign up...

taking forever :( Very good news though - nice move by google.

Anyone bother

to look at the privacy notice?

Why bother, google is your friend, google loves you, google wants your INFORMATION...

This is one of those times where I just can't believe that people are not asking more questions of google.

FYI - The privacy notice is a joke.

>>> Added

We (Google) provide such information to our subsidiaries, affiliated companies or other trusted businesses or persons for the purpose of processing personal information on our behalf.

Source: http://www.google.com/intl/en/privacypolicy.html

It is also worthy to note that this new program is not even mentioned in their privacy policy...

Grrr

We're upgrading accounts. Please come back later.
Thanks for stopping by. We are currently migrating existing customers to the newly improved Google Analytics service. This process will be completed later this afternoon. Please come back then to sign up for Google Analytics.

This Sucks. I want my paid service back.....

A quote from Matt Cutts

Google has always been big on measuring return-on-investment.

Source:http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/google-analytics/

And just what is the 'ROI' on a 'free' service that takes, analyzes and keeps your most private and important site information for god knows how long and gives it god knows who?

Use your brain folks...

Nick if your using this software, I am gonna have to start using a proxy to view this site and that sucks.

Hmmm..this is all javascript

Hmmm..this is all javascript code based. That means that you don't have record when crawlers like Googlebot come to your site.

Privacy

I hope everyone who posts a privacy policy on their website, who intends to allow Google to track visitors, will adjust their own privacy policy accordingly. What you might want to add to your privacy policy could read something like "we'll provide your personal information to Google and with anyone else Google would like to share it."

what a mess

-large sites won't use it becuase they don't need it and it gets in the way
-medium sites might use it but probably won't after a while
-small sites will use it, free sites, hobby sites, amateurs, blogs

So *participation* might add to GoogleTrust for smaller and non-authority sites.

Good point Peter

hope you don't mind, but I used your point about privacy policies over at Matt's blog.

Then John Andrews said;

So *participation* might add to GoogleTrust for smaller and non-authority sites.

I was thinking somewhat along the same lines. In the long run, usage or not of this program 'could' be reflected in the google SERP.

>>So *participation* might

>>So *participation* might add to GoogleTrust for smaller and non-authority sites.

that's what i was thinking as well -- perhaps sites using the analytics program and with high percentage of return visitors as well as high average session lengths may prove to be more trustworthy, and hence could rank higher. if this were the case i suppose this creates an incentive to manipulate those statistics on your site.

hang on

what Google is doing, like any other analytics software, is taking the data that can be logged by a server and running it through a stats package. Yes its Googles server doing this and yes (given it provides historic data) it saves them for a long time but its not actually taking any more data than any other website using Urchin has previously been doing.

So differences - it stores it on Googles server. It stores them for longer than your average webserver.

In theory yes it could make some assumptions based on IP and unique PC info and assume that a visitor to a given site is the same person as someone who has signed up for a Google account. But that would be highly illegal. I think many things about Goog but I don't think they willfully break privacy laws (perhaps other ones occasionally but not privacy).

And if it made those assumptions yeah, it could know that 'Gurtie, IP address this, gmail address that, visited these websites'. But they won't. I really cant see its worth the effort of the processing power given the number of opportunities for the data to skew and very little of use they could pull from it. I mean in theory they can track which adsense ads I click, but does anyone really think they do? (ok - someone will obviously :) )

and before you ask no, thatAdamguy didn't steal my password. Just for once I think googles motives are more on the side of pulling in lots of general data to a) sell and b) enhance SERPs rather than c) piss us off royally.

Google

will also have the ability, if a webmaster installes this script, that when his small site starts taking off and making money to be the first in line to buy the site or incorperate(steal) it's business ideas/methods...

Javascript = no referrer spam

Remember the hype over Shaun Inman's Mint? This was mainly because he had the luminous idea to use javascript code which by its nature is not susceptible to referrer spam.
I think it is great that Google works this way too. Now I can say goodbye to my server logfiles! (By the way, the Google Statistics website is now completely down for maintenance...)

>>>But that would be highly illegal.

Not in the US where google is based.

will also have the ability,

will also have the ability, if a webmaster installes this script, that when his small site starts taking off and making money to be the first in line to buy the site or incorperate(steal) it's business ideas/methods...

couldn't that be said of any tracking program?

>>>couldn't that be said of

>>>couldn't that be said of any tracking program?

Not if its on your Server or PC.

The only way this can happen is if someone else hosts the program and data...

>>The only this can happen

>>The only this can happen is if someone else hosts the program and data...

right, but the concern you're pointing out is one that could be said of using any third party tracking service, not just google.

..

Adam why would google spend as much money as they are on a 'free' service, when as Matt Cutts points out that google is very big on ROI?

Ahh... go ahead and put the crap on your site what do I care...

Ya, google is ONLY looking out for you and the small webmaster...

Amen and all hail google

pfft

yeh, i put it in the wrong

yeh, i put it in the wrong place. never been much for reading the instructions heh..

will change it now, it's odd though, if they're doing click out data captrue the logical place to put it is before the clsing body tag...

When I signed up for Google

When I signed up for Google on Demand a few weeks ago, it was set up spo that you had the JS locally...but that seems to be changed now.

Regarding why Google did release this for free the logic must be that people will invest more money in PPC when they get better analytics. A small investment for Google then...

In case

you all can't tell, I think this is far worse than the google web accelerator.

But I guess only time will tell if I am right or wrong.

/hosts

www.google-analytics.com now goes to localhost for me thanks to /etc/hosts :)

You might like to check out the js file. Or, use a service such as Web bug, Live HTTP Headers, Sam Spade, or similar.

As the JS file is hosted, the domains/hosts can be changed "on-the-fly" (wow, a surviving web 1.0 expression). That's why -- if you're really concerned -- you should check now and again.

hosts (2)

...a separate post because, well, it's not really a correction, more like new information.

It seems the cookie domain isn't google-analytics.com. In Nick's case it's threadwatch.org. For others it's eg. sitemeter.com (I found that kind of funny ;)

You can recognize the tracking codes by their name. Sofar I've found three common cookie names (in Firefox Cookie manager):

__utma @example.com
__utmc @example.com
__utmz @example.com

In Internet Explorer these three will all be part of the "user @ threadwatch.org" cookie.

tip of the iceburg

I think it's refreshing to see so much analytical interest in the potential implications of this. IMHO more is needed, whether you like Google or not.

Let's not forget this is SERVER SITE STATS we are sharing in real time with a commercial company that acknowledges it's intent (and has demonstrated its ability) to share its wealth of insider knowledge with commercial partners. Most of us also know that just about anybody can become a commercial partner with Google (even pseudonymously, via AdWords/AdSense accounts).

Would you share your server stats on the public web? Why not?

For many webmasters, the only reason they don't expose their stats is because they know about referrer spam. Otherwise, I suspect they would be proud to show off their stats.

Now, someone is preparing to commercialize exploitation of that "market inefficiency". Or, in other words, "organize the worlds information". I have no problem with that... competitive "game on". I would never reveal my true server stats to a competitor.

However, linking it to "smart pricing" of AdSense payouts, or tying it into the weighting factors for organic SERPs is quite a different issue. Given Google's lack of transparency and history of aggressiveness, there should be concern. In a less political world, I would not be surprised to see FTC attention down the road.

There's a lot I like Google

There's a lot I like Google for...but this service is just an open excuse to spy on people.

Dont be so negative, I think

Dont be so negative, I think it is damn nice of Google to release Urchin on Demand for free.

Sure, they will get a lot of information they can misuse, but it is a choice you have to take to get something for free.

I am not sure they will use it like that either.

Still waiting

Still waiting for stats for monday.. Only 16 hours behind now. GRRR

Unlike quite a few people on

Unlike quite a few people on this thread. I am not worried for a second that they will attempt to misuse data collected from the analytics. Even the idea of them misusing it would create a hailstorm of controversy, as we can see from the comments posted today. Google would be undermining their entire future by invading their customers privacy.

It is easy to see the long term benefit of giving away free Analytics, in Google's biz model. Misusing data doesnt even need to be considered.

:) It's funny how, as consumers, we want everything for free, yet half of the consumers consider any company that offers something for free "The Devil".

Look at what happened to Microsoft for giving away internet explorer, heh. I dont give it long before web analytics companies sue Google for Anti-Trust violitions.

More power to Google and their Biz model. I just wish they would keep a premium service for those of us who want premium support and report times.

ITA with lots0 on

ITA with lots0 on this.

http://www.google.com/privacypolicy.html

We may share with third parties certain pieces of aggregated, non-personal information, such as the number of users who searched for a particular term, for example, or how many users clicked on a particular advertisement. Such information does not identify you individually.

IMO, you might as well just make your stats public for all to see.

I don't get what the big draw is for this. It's just another web stats program. Put the Google name on it and everyone goes gaga for it and becomes the next must-have-toy to use and promote. Why? Especially knowing that your deepest site secrets are now in goog's hands: For Free!

Free stats programs are a dime a dozen (even server based). I don't see why I should hand over my site secrets to Goog or why so many are falling all over themselves to give it to them.

I'm going to test it on one site (that isn't a big $ draw or one that has commercial big boys sniffing around) to see if/how it affects my google SERPs.

Terry, Urchin On-demand was

Terry,

Urchin On-demand was one of the best analytic programs I have used. Which is why I was paying $199 per month for it. I used to use Webtrends Live and Clicktracks but Urchin gave me just as much information with a much better interface.

There is no other Free program that comes close to what Urhin (Google analytics) is providing.

We may share with third

We may share with third parties certain pieces of aggregated, non-personal information, such as the number of users who searched for a particular term, for example, or how many users clicked on a particular advertisement. Such information does not identify you individually.

ugg. I didnt see that part, but I dont think that is different from anything they are currently doing with Adwords. They show how many times a keyword is searched and estimated traffic already. Now it would suck if they actually showed what ads were converting etc.. but that would never happen, since that is personal data.

Jarrod admittedly I'm not in

Jarrod admittedly I'm not in the same league as 99% of the webmasters here, but have you tried this free server based program:

http://www.tracewatch.com/

The best part - Goog doesn't have its hands on it.

(I hope it was ok to post that link btw - I'm not affiliated)

Thanks for the link Terry,

Thanks for the link Terry, I will take a look at them.

I gave up on looking for new analytics program when I found Urchin. It was so much better then any of the leading programs out there, that I didnt even consider looking through the smaller guys.

I doubt tracewatch is anything near as functional as Google, but its nice to see alternatives.

...

Misusing data doesnt even need to be considered.

You are one trusting dude... not even considered huh...

Well I consider it, I even think about it, like most web site owners, my income damn well depends on who sees or more importantly who does not see my server stats data.

PILE OF F'ING GARBAGE IT IS!

Signed up to play with it yesterday, said it was installed properly and my reports would be ready 12 hours. It's now about 24 hours and NADA bit of data shows up and I clicked on CONTACT US to see if they knew what was wrong and got a PAGE NOT FOUND.

NO WONDER IT'S FREE - IT DOESN'T WORK YOU OVERPAID NERDS!

I definitly think about it

Lots0,

I definitly think about it as a webmaster. But, for Google to think about doing it would be insane. They are making too much money from this venture to need to risk being stupid.

If I was a Google Exec. I would fire someone for even thinking about using private information in an innappropriate way. That path is the quickest way for them to become a huge target.

Incredibill, I'm definitly

Incredibill,

I'm definitly not happy about having to wait for 24 hours to get my data. But at the same time, once they can get it back to what it was prior to yesterday (every 3 hours), it will be by far the best FREE program out there.

I have a feeling that they have a substantial amount of computing power dedicating to speeding up the process, they are just going to need some time to implement it.

They really should have considered a structured roll-out. If they would have offered it free to the first 10,000 signups and then closed it down until they were ready to take more, they could have prevented alot of these outages. Plus, they could have milked the PR for longer by having multiple official launches.

Yeah, no data here either...

...but IncrediBILL, I'm gonna guess that the annoying 404 (Page Not Found) thingy was due to them switching over to faster / more servers, because immediately after that occurrence, page views have been *demonstrably* faster.

With that said, though, I still have no data showing, 20 hours after putting the javascripts on my pages.

One thing I'll never understand with Google: Why don't they appropriately ramp up services for their First Day? I mean, I can see smaller companies floundering when they get 'slashdotted' or the equivalent, but G *has* to know that everyone and their cats-on-web-pages-mamma is gonna try their latest service when it's unveiled.

Then again, it's kinda a lose-lose situation for them, I suppose. When they do the invite-only thing (a la GMail and Orkut), they get slammed as elitist. Bummer.

How's this I'll give you

How's this I'll give you $100 a month to look at your weblogs, and I won't share the data with anyone, any takers?

Does it scare you to let me look at your logs? It should. So why are you letting google do it for free?

Graywolf,What you are

Graywolf,

What you are describing is the problem with any Hosted Service. Whether it be email, web hosting, web analytics or whatever.

I use a managed Exchange server company for my emails. Do they have access to all of the data in my emails? yes of course. Are they going to actually look at that data in detail? No friggen way. There are huge legal implications of looking at someones private data regardless of whether the service is free or not.

Google isnt going to allow any employee to just go sifting through our data, that would be like paypal going through all of our customers credit card numbers.

Google has a huge legal dept. It would be crazy to even think that they dont have an entire team of lawyers advising them on what they can and cant do with our data.

Google isnt in the business of being sued.

With all that being said, I know plenty of Adsense spammers that would never even consider putting Google Analytics on their site. Probably a smart move.

Jarrod

Jarrod I don't know you but I am amazed at your posts here. I can't understand your apparent perspective.

- hosted services have access to data. They are also companies with reputations to protect. One or two slighted bloggers can kill you, so naturally they are respective of your data. It's not just "law" that encourages proper behavior.

- Yes Google has good lawyers. That's why they exlain their use of your data very clearly and directly. If you say "agree" after they have plainly informed you of how they will use your data for the commercial gain of themselves and others (including your competitors), can you cry foul later or claim mis-use?

- of course employees of companies access data. AOL employees sold MILLIONS of email addresses. Other employees built small businesses based on their inside access to data. What planet do you live on?

Quote:
Google isnt in the business of being sued.

It sure is. In a pre-IPO interview, Sergey's father suggested that lawsuits were a PRIMARY MOTIVATING FACTOR for them to seek going public. There were so many, and they were so stressful. Google is very much in the business of being sued....look at almost every big initiative from AdSense to Google print and you see legal challenges and deals.

Quote:
If I was a Google Exec. I would fire someone for even thinking about using private information in an innappropriate way. That path is the quickest way for them to become a huge target.

??? I simply cannot understand your perspective in this thread.

John,Perhaps I'm just the

John,

Perhaps I'm just the naive optimist.

Its definitly popular to believe that Google's Evil, and even more popular to think that they are ignorant when it comes to how big of a deal it would be if they were accused of anti-privacy.

I tend to think that they are not as stupid as most people want to believe they are. Regardless of what they put in their privacy policy, if an anti privacy suit was to ever be brought against them, they will not be able to fall back on "but we said we would use their data in our TOS, on line 256". They could put in their TOS that they are going to sell your data to Russians, that doesnt mean that they are free and clear of any lawsuits.

Just because they say they will use data, doesnt mean they will get away with, or be stupid enought to attempt to get away with doing anything with our data that can be seen as even close to anti-privacy.

and yes, there will always be employees that can abuse the data, but any smart company is going to have a risk prevention dept. tocover their asses. There is no defense in court that will allow them to be careless with our data and not get slammed for it.

Call me an optimist. Maybe I am wrong and they will use our data any way they want. Maybe they will even pay off the Grand Jury that they face from a anti-privacy suit. It's even possible that they have never considered the amazingly bad PR that would come from even a hint of anti-privacy. But I doubt that. Those mistakes tend to come from small companies that are desperate to do anything to make a dollar. Google is a public company with a ton of money. The biggest mistake they could ever make would be to loose public support.

Let me say that again:

Google is a public company with a ton of money. The biggest mistake they could ever make would be to loose public support.

Loss of Public Support means loss of revenue from lowered stock prices. Even if Google is evil, they are smart enough to know how to keep their stock prices high. STAY AWAY FROM LAWSUITS.

It sure is. In a pre-IPO interview, Sergey's father suggested that lawsuits were a PRIMARY MOTIVATING FACTOR for them to seek going public. There were so many, and they were so stressful. Google is very much in the business of being sued....look at almost every big initiative from AdSense to Google print and you see legal challenges and deals.

Yes I can relate to having to need funds to hire lawyers to fight off all of the lawsuits. The bigger you get the more people tend to want to sue you.

They didnt go public so people would sue them more, they went public to be able to stay out of lawsuits. Or in the case where they did get sued, they would have a fighting chance to win.

So you don't think they will

So you don't think they will aggregate all of this data to figure out new areas to expand into like googlebase and googletravel.

public privacy schizophrenia

as quoted from businessweek (with editorial emphasis):

"We understand that Web analytics data is sensitive, so we accord it the ironclad protection it deserves," the company says.

from the privacy policy:

We may share with third parties certain pieces of aggregated, non-personal information, such as the number of users who searched for a particular term, for example, or how many users clicked on a particular advertisement.

What does ironclad protection mean then?

Hi Graywolf, Your point is

Hi Graywolf,

Your point is well taken.

It would be hard for a business to not use data that way. In fact, people in our own idustry do it all the time. SEO's copy customers optimization strategies, Programming companies reuse customers code, etc... etc..

I think it is definitly something that big businesses think a little harder about not doing though. As you start getting bigger it becomes harder and harder to hide those sorts of activities. It also makes you a much bigger target for accusations of those activities.

I have had similar discussions with some of the larger businesses I deal with. The consensus seams to be that it is not worth it. That does'nt mean that it doesnt happen though.

We may share with third

We may share with third parties certain pieces of aggregated, non-personal information, such as the number of users who searched for a particular term, for example, or how many users clicked on a particular advertisement.

Plumsauce,

As a business owner I can see the need to include something like this. There are simply too many internal processes that rely on analyzing data to say that you will never ever ever use someones data. I give them credit for being honest about it.

Privacy is a real legal nightmare. It is impossible to find a middle ground that all people agree with. It almost always comes down to "whats ethical". Regardless of what a company puts in their privacy policy, if they are not ethical then it doesnt matter.

I trust Google not to use my data unethically.

What are my options? Switch to another hosted analytics company? What makes them a safer bet then Google? Are they safer because they put in their privacy policy that they will never use my data for any purpose? What if they are so desperate to make money cause everyone is switching to Google's Free service, so they decide to sell my email address and all of my data to some foreign company that can never be traced?

I think you go public to

I think you go public to gain tremendous wealth with which you can grow big and compete where you otherwise cannot. That includes lawsuits. As for PR, a public company answers to shareholders who are in it for the money. Unless the "blunder" is perceived as bad for profits, end of story.

As for "anti-privacy" there really is no such inverse entity. There is "privacy", but only in a very limited way (in the US).

As for this:

Quote:
if an anti privacy suit was to ever be brought against them, they will not be able to fall back on "but we said we would use their data in our TOS, on line 256". They could put in their TOS that they are going to sell your data to Russians, that doesnt mean that they are free and clear of any lawsuits.

au contrare it is indeed something to "fall back on". As for avoiding lawsuits, that is not possible (technically) because anyone can sue anyone. You cannot be convicted of "anti-privacy" -- you must be found to have violated a law, and there is no "privacy law" here. There are laws for consumer protection and fraud prevention and racketeering and some personal data protections, most of which are safely skirted by open and direct disclosure of intent and use - such as those in use for this example.

Public companies are challenged to disclose enough to avoid legal problems, but not so much as to attract the attention of privacy activists and advocates who will make alot of social noise to put political pressures onto the company, or cause the revealing of proprietary plans or other sensitive data.

Google seems brazen compared to others. I think this reflects an innate honesty and desire to play fair, backed by confidence e.g. a HUGE market capitalization.

Google is not a search company. It is a data conglomerate, in need of diversification. Blodget (cited by Battelle) compared Google to Amazon recently:

Quote:
In 1998, when online “bookseller” Amazon surpassed Barnes & Noble’s $2 billion market cap, many deemed this absurd. Now, with Amazon selling everything under the sun, the disparity between its $15 billion and Barnes & Nobles’ $2.5 billion couldn’t seem more sane....

Google needs to expand it monetization of information in every direction in order to sustain growth and the current HUGE valuation.

Jarrod, I think we agree on the desire to avoid problems, but not on the probable machinations behind the TOS/PrivacyPolicy and the issue at large. That's ok.

...

Its definitly popular to believe that Google's Evil

No its not. The VAST majority of people believe google is a good guy, remember their motto used to be "Do no evil".

I tend to think that they are not as stupid as most people want to believe they are.

I don't think anyone reading this believes for a second google is 'stupid', quite the opposite, the people at google are a bunch of very very smart people.

Jarod you have gone on and on about grand juries and law suits, would you care to expand on the legal basis for any of these claims? FYI - there really aren’t any. You freely give the data to google without contract or obligations... google can do anything they want with that data without any legal repercussions at all in the US... wanna bet that is just what their lawyers are telling them...

I can relate to having to need funds to hire lawyers to fight off all of the lawsuits. The bigger you get the more people tend to want to sue you.

They went public to protect their personal assets from all the law suits, NOT so they had more money to hire more lawyers.

John, I like that word

John,

I like that word "machinations" :). Its a new one for me.

I can agree that there are some major privacy issues that need to be addressed. Privacy is a legal nightmare.

At the moment, I believe that all we can hope for is to find a company that we can trust to be Ethical. I have no reason at this time to not trust Google.

Does everyone on this thread

Does everyone on this thread believe that there is no legal recourse in the United States for privacy violations?

I would honestly love to hear from some lawyers on this, if there are any passing by.

The VAST majority of people believe google is a good guy, remember their motto used to be "Do no evil".

Lots0, if thats the case then why are the vast majority of people talking on this thread worried about Google acting unethical with our data?

...

if thats the case then why are the vast majority of people talking on this thread worried about Google acting unethical with our data?

They are not... there is no vast majority on this thread one way or the other, it looks like a good mix to me.

I think what you do see is a few professionals that are voicing some valid concerns and trying to get people to understand just what they are giving to google.

FYI I have never advocated any remotely hosted stats program for anyone, I personally think they are cheesy, not to mention the security concerns.

They are not... there is no

They are not... there is no vast majority on this thread one way or the other, it looks like a good mix to me.

Yep, "Vast Majority" was too strong a phrase.

It's easy to get pumped up when talking about things like privacy.

Good thread though, its made me think about some of the hosted services I use.

It really makes me think about the future, when hosted services will probably be the norm for most software solutions.

I can only imagine what people are going to say when Google starts offering their free operating system and browser, that connects for free to their internet, and gives you access to a million of their hosted services at little to no cost.

...Google starts offering

...Google starts offering their free operating system and browser, that connects for free to their internet, and gives you access to a million of their hosted services at little to no cost.

Yep and they are gonna pay for it all by knowing everything you do and everything about you (political views, sexual pref, income, employment etc.) and and useing all that personal private information to sell you stuff you don't need.

Lots0, Once again I'm

Lots0,

Once again I'm probably in the minority here, but it doesnt bother me if companies use my information responsibly. Responsibly being the key word here.

For example, If I was to login to Google internet to start looking for vacation spots, it wouldnt hurt my feelings if I recieved some targetted ads for travel, hotels etc... As long as those ads were delivered within guidelines that were acceptable.

Its a completly different thing if my information was used to send me unsolicited advertising when I had not shown any interest in what it was they were selling.

I think thats the power of what Google has. They can anticipate what it is that you are looking for and customize your experience around that. I fully embrace that sort of approach.

Will Google take the path of the righteous? I sure hope so.

Does everyone on this thread

Quote:
Does everyone on this thread believe that there is no legal recourse in the United States for privacy violations?

Jarrod, there's something you're not understanding - Google's legal terms make you agree to have your privacy violated. So therefore, you have no recourse. You've agreed to let them have the information of your own free will. All your stats are belong to us.

Corporations are neither good nor evil

The Good vs. Evil discussion isn't really very useful. Corporations have no soul.

It's not about privacy...

Jarrod the issue for me is not about privacy (of course they'll keep the data private), it's just the amount of data we are giving to Google. I don't care if they give away my data, what I care is what they will use it for themselves.

They wrote this into their patent - now when everybody signs up for free they will start incorporating click and usability data more aggressively - effectively.

It's another stab at link based algorithms - a nasty stab - and as every normal site / business logs on for free to a great analytics service, the amount of data we are giving them is unreal.

It will enable them to figure out what pages people click on once you get to a site, how much time they spend reading pages, what sites get tons of traffic from other engines or bookmarks, etc.

The reality is that everyone is going to do this. I have nothing to hide so I'm not afraid of adding it to my sites, but I'm just stunned with the SEO impacts of this.

In a way it just brings us back to internet 101 - build a good site, with good usability, with unique/valuable content. Pure SEO gets harder and harder every day - and with this, a lot harder.

Hi AAnnAArchy,The way I

Hi AAnnAArchy,

The way I understand it, in order to be completly enforceable Google would have to outline exactly every way they plan on using our information. Using general statements is not sufficient. The United States is governed by Common Law which basically means that anything left unsaid in a contract is left for the courts to interpret.

In other words if Google was to use our information in a way that that someone deemed unethical or unreasonable, they could sue, and depending on the arguement being made it could very well go to court or to some sort of arbitration.

If there are any contract lawyers in the house, I would love to hear if I have interpreted the law correctly.

They will use it to improve

They will use it to improve their algorithms, and we will not know exactly what/how. I can't sue them for using my data to improve their algorithms and understanding how people surf the web.

Some good points 2 much. I

Some good points 2 much. I would be very curious to question Google, Matt, or someone about the sorts of ways they plan to use our info. I'm sure they wont say much but if people started demanding to know, they may give in somewhat.

I would love to see someone from a major news organizion take on this task.

Actually I just emailed this thread to Joe Scarborough, maybe he'll respond ;) Ya right!

They will use it to improve

They will use it to improve their algorithms, and we will not know exactly what/how. I can't sue them for using my data to improve their algorithms and understanding how people surf the web.

Nope, but there are plenty of other ways they could use our data that people have talked about on this thread, that would be a little more unethical and transparent.

Not saying they would, just making the case that if they were to do something unethical, and someone found out, a case could be made. All it would take is one pissed off employee.

Heres a great case that I'm sure a lot of you are aware of. http://news.com.com/2100-1017-256663.html?legacy=cnet

This was a case where Amazon thought they were in the right but Privacy groups formed a class action lawsuit and ended up settling out of court. It just goes to show that companies have to be real careful when using/sharing people data, even if they think they are covered by their TOS

Most of it is in the patent

Most of it is in the patent that made ripples early this year. Click data, bookmarks, time spent on pages, behaviour once people leave Google...Basically this, combined with Google desktop, is giving them so much ifnormation about how people surf..Also it'll help them with their personalization approach and their attempts to determine what are truly valuable sites. Combine this with their data on Adsense, their conversion tool...They are teacihng their search engine to think and undersatnd user behaviour and to take into account user votes.
Should transform how they rank sites, they know page rank is broken, now they can move more and more away from link based algo and more towards personalization and user interaction.

it just comes back down to,

it just comes back down to, as with everything, you get nowt for free.

There are two privacy issues here - the site who impliments the code - Will Google use the data - of course they will. Does that matter for most sites? no of course not. I will only be trialing this on sites of clients who a) understand what Google will be receiving and b) have blindingly good stickiness and conversions. If Google want to use that in the SERPs too they're more than welcome. If it works and its good then the other clients will be offered a choice too. If a site has an unique business proposition or some other reason for wanting totally confidential stats then thats no problem and don't use this :)

The other issue is personal data of the surfers visiting the websites. That's the true privacy issue IMHO because the visitors don't have any choice in the matter and because they are in theory identifiable. Will Google use this data? No I don't think so. They could use it in two ways - to tie in personally with identified accounts (which I believe would be illegal even in the US considering that the data is collected under individual sites privacy policies and Google would, by using the data, break many of them) and to create patterns of surfing for large numbers of non personally identifiable webusers. That last is more likely, but still would take an awful lot of effort/processing and have a lot of potential for error and incompleteness in return for a small improvement on ad targetting.

And even if they do the last does it actually matter? I mean do you visit sites that you wouldn't want associated with your 'average' profile using the same IP? I imagine there would be some proxies out there would have very interesting routes around the web but they'll be useless to Google and the sites they visit will rarely impliment Google SPyware, oops sorry, Analytics :)

The issue for ME is...

THE DAMN THING STILL DOESN'T WORK!

Not to mention the nasty backlash their little announcement had on the stock of an analytics competitor.

When I get back to California I think I'm gonna stop by Google (they are on my way home) and drop a big steaming pile of processed Las Vegas buffet food on their lawn. If there's any justice, it might be something from the Google luncheon on Wednesday.

It works fine for me, but

It works fine for me, but results come in slowly.

enron and tyco

are two examples where the size of the entity in no way guaranteed ethical dealings, that they still engaged in, shall we say ... pushing the envelope of ethics. they had lawyers, accountants, outside board members, government oversight, sec filings. none of this stopped them from raiding the cupboards. in essence, their size and corporate anonymity was used as a shield from prying eyes.

my comment earlier had nothing to do with personally identifiable information, but rather that the aggregated site data is available not only to *G*, but their partners. now, adwords/adsense can be internal or a "partner", but they legitimately have access to the information under the quoted tos.

the difference between a hosted third party stats service that is and is not affiliated with a search engine is the potential for abuse of that information.

since i am in early alpha on a stats service of my own design, i can tell you what i do with the information when something interesting is seen in the stats: i phone the site owner and suggest a course of action based on what i am seeing. but, i do not use the information in any other way because i am a one trick pony. i have no ad network or search engine to feed the data to.

the moral of the story is: always consider the other activities of the partners you choose.

on a side note, i guess to make it to beta, i'm going to have to look at what i can deliver that urchin cannot or will not deliver.

ps. does the integration of adwords data through an internal api not parallel the argument that Microsoft was engaged in anti-competitive behaviour by supposedly using undocumented operating system api's for it's own application software?

free, but ...

2. FEES AND SERVICES . Subject to Section 15 herein, the Service is provided without charge to You for up to 5 million pageviews per month per account, and if You have an active Adwords campaign in good standing, the Service is provided without charge to You without a pageview limitation.

Google may change its fees and payment policies for the Service from time to time including but not limited to the addition of costs for geographic data, the importing of cost data from search engines, or other fees charged to Google or its wholly-owned subsidiaries by 3rd party vendors for the inclusion of data in the Service reports. The changes to the fees or payment policies are effective upon Your acceptance of such changes which will be posted at www.google.com/analytics (or such other URL Google may provide from time to time). Unless otherwise stated, all fees are quoted in U.S. Dollars. Any outstanding balance becomes immediately due and payable upon termination of this Agreement for any reason and any collection expenses (including attorneys' fees) incurred by Google will be included in the amount owed, and may be charged to the credit card or other billing mechanism associated with your Adwords account.

crack dealer marketing 101

I'm with incrediBILL

I'm sharing my data with Google - so when will Google start sharing my data with ME? When are we gonna see some freakin' data?

kservik - what's your current lag time? How many hours from implementation did it take for you to start seeing the numbers trickle in?

Not as good as I thought

Well to be honest, I have one site where I get reports, but that one was added before the rebrand. It has not picked up data since sunday (just found out after checking).

I got 2 more sites that was added after it went free and Urchin has detected that the JS had been implemented but no sign of traffic in the stats and thats is wrong.

I got 4 more sites that I hadded the code to late yesterday, but Urchin has not detected those yet.

DAY 3 OF THE DATA HOSTAGE CRISIS

Still no data, the CONTACT US link still goes to a 404 page.

It all makes sense now as a large customer of mine has been trying to get Urchin (the paid service) to work for almost a month and it's still not working either.

The butt munches at Google support claim the Urchin code for my customer isn't in the checkout pages but WE can see it in the source, go figure.

Anyway, with that in mind, this is not shocking.

IncrediBILL, when/if they

IncrediBILL, when/if they comment on the problem expect the tradional PR spin: "We were overwhelmed by how popular we are" :)

Javascript = No Referrer Spam????????

Quote:
Remember the hype over Shaun Inman's Mint? This was mainly because he had the luminous idea to use javascript code which by its nature is not susceptible to referrer spam.

Very easy to referrer spam javascript tracking.

Thanks everyone, gotta close

Thanks everyone, gotta close this one now - if anyone wants to post a report on how it's working so far (i've not bothered to check yet..) we can start it all over again heh..

Cheers!

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