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When Google Analytics Offers Browser-Based Opt-Out Plugin, Will You Continue to Use It?

April 7th, 2010 | | Analytics

I first learned about the Google Analytics browser-based opt-out feature via Twitter when Hanapin Marketing President / CEO Pat East tweeted it. At first I thought it was a cruel joke and was really hoping to wake up the next day to find it all to be only a nightmare.

I enjoyed a couple weeks of bliss till the Marketing Tech Blog wrote about it in greater detail.

That’s when I realized the nightmare Freddy Krueger-ed its way to reality.

What Is the Google Analytics Browser-Based Opt-Out Feature?

The Google Analytics browser-based opt-out feature is this quasi-demonic plugin Google’s trying to implement. The feature will allow web users to not be tracked by Google Analytics. (So what does incognito mode in Chrome do again?)

At first it sounds like a simple feature, but on the whole it could be the single biggest change change to the search engine marketing industry since the introduction of AdWords.

Since the introduction of Adwords?

Okay, so the claim sounds a bit ostentatious, moreso overdramatic, but follow me down this road of thought…

Aside from AdWords, Google Analytics has become the most important tool in the industry for most small and mid-sized companies. The runaway favorite web analytics program by most website owners, not since Prometheus has a tool provided lay people such unfettered access into one’s own place in the [online] marketplace.

Not only that, but Google Analtyics saves search engine marketers hours by integrating with AdWords and providing instant keyword reports. And if you need SEO Keyword reports, you can set the goals to provide them as well.

Not many companies can build their own internal tracking system. Not many companies can afford the subscription service that provides similar data. Google Analytics has become that valuable stopgap for many, many companies, consultants, and closet bloggers.

In short, Google Analytics leveled the playing field.

Never has a business and marketing tool that is only about 90% accurate on a good day garnered so much attention. But now with the accuracy of Google Analytics being called into question once (if) the plugin comes out, alternatives will need to be considered.

I can’t get mad at the boys and girls of Mountain View. If I were Google, I’d give away as much for free as I could as well if I made what they make on advertising. It’s most likely why they give Google Analytics away for free. And I even went to the occasional business class in college. I was there the day the professors taught us about hedging opportunities. Businesses should know better than to trust their businesses to third party tools (are you listening to me Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress nuts?), especially without having contigencies in place.

But sometimes the fruit is too tempting not to taste it.

So people shouldn’t be too upset when Google wants to something in the spirit of “user experience.” Google is probably overcompsenating for recent mistakes, but did you see the privacy outrage when they first introducted the social networking hiccup called Buzz?

Yet it is my fear that the effectiveness of GA will be crippled because of the Google Buzz privacy follies. That’s like thowing out an orange because they think it’s a really, really spoiled apple.

And that’s a simple shame.

In the end, the user experience w/ Google could be crippled if the credibility of Google Analytics is tarnished.

I just hope that when the “universal plugin” comes out that Microsoft and Mozilla look at it and go, “Oh, that looks like a great plugin – for Chrome.”

If the Google Analytics browser-based opt-out plugin is released, will you continue to use Google Analytics? What alternatives will you use?

Hello, Yahoo! Analytics!

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  • Bryan Redeagle

    So what’s the point of using an analytics tool if it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do?

    Whether they bring this plugin to life or not, I will probably be using Woopra (http://www.woopra.com) or Mint (http://www.haveamint.com).