Friday, May 28, 2010

Remember, Google makes its money serving search results

Garrett Rogers made an interesting point today about how Google was making it harder for site owners to collect precise site statistics. He cited two recent moves:

  • New browser plugins that allow users to opt out of having their data collected by Google Analytics.
  • A new secure search site that prevents people from sniffing your search queries over open WiFi networks.

The latter apparently causes search referrals to your site to be inaccurately tabulated by analytics.

My own perspective on this is that analytics is the feedback loop that lets you know how you're doing. It can play a critical role in making the web a better place by allowing authors to get more in touch with their audience.

Why would Google lessen the accuracy of analytics? There are a number of reasons, but the key thing to keep in mind is that Google makes its money serving search results, not off of its free Analytics package. Therefore, it's likely to be more willing to compromise on this kind of non-core activity.

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