Have you thought of getting away from Google analytics?

I notice there's been a few "why dont you do <insert thing> yourself" posts, and ghostery likes to remind me that you make use of (along with ad plugins) Google analytics. With the tek shows normally mentioning about getting away from Google have you guys thought of using your own open source analytics solution like http://piwik.org/ instead? Is there anything stopping you from moving platform?

They could post their videos via media goblin to get away from google as well. 

Granted Youtube is a handy way to get 1st time viewers 

MediaGoblin is great, and id love the option to get videos from there, (even download them). I recon you'd have to keep youtube though, like you said possibly for first time viewers (thats how I got here) and maybe(?) revenue stream. MediaGoblin doesnt really have a way of making income, on the plus side you could probably integrate things like the tek support subscription into it, or flattr etc.

I have used piwik and owa both. We might move to piwik. With piwik, though, advertisers can be significantly more evil than you can with google analytics. So you have to trust the site more than you trust google. Most of the time I would trust google more than the site I was visiting in terms of analytics/tracking. 

Until teksupport can more fully support the site (perhaps we can even go so far as to disable google analytics for teksupport subscribers? we already disable ads for them) that might be a non starter, though, as advertisers want to see google analytics stats. Non-google stats might mean they don't fund ads. 

Some ads it wouldn't matter, but google is the generic ad platform as well, and analytics (at least for google) is going to come from that regardless.


With piwik, though, advertisers can be significantly more evil than you can with google analytics.

I think I'm missing something here. Are you meaning by this that the other ad platforms want access to analytics info and require google, or something else? I was assuming that moving away to something like piwik would give you control over your analytics data (i.e. holding it on your own servers), though other ad plugins would still collect some information themselves it removes a layer of googlieness.

perhaps we can even go so far as to disable google analytics for teksupport subscribers? 

That could be an option, though analytics can still be important, and in that thinking moving away from Google would give you the analytics without the reliance on information being kept by a 3rd party.

But as I wondered, it seams theres potentially more to it than simply switching platform.

I surmise Youtube offers convenience to an established global audience, and this is one factor for the Tek Syndicated to maintain a 'tenuous' relationship with this well-known 'media-vehicle'.


Because we're awesome, we can have direct control of analytics with piwik and it is all good exactly like you imagine. However, google actually does a few things to make it hard(er) for people that use GA to track down to the individual level. They don't want the liability. Grudgingly, they let you track a user's ID with a custom calll, but you can usually see that in a site's source. It ispossible to use server side/php analytics, but generally this isn't done on high traffic sites because loading PHP for every visitor is a huge drain on resources. 

Because you can trust us, Piwik would be a better option because it is just two parties with the data, exactly as you say. However, when I see piwik on third party sites generally I'm more skeptical because it has essentially zero redaction of anything. Both it and OWA can even track individual mouse cursor movements over a page, and associate past (anonymous) analytics with your present profile at the moment of login (e.g. you lurk the site for 3-4 weeks then make an account.. if you haven't cleared your cookies/changed something about your browser fingerprint, I can associate the last 3-4 weeks of data with your user profile).

So Piwik is not automatically a win when dealing with third party sites because you don't know if they're plugging your analytics data into other databases. We don't, so that's a win, but you never know in general.


Ah I see what you mean, i hadn't thought of that, thanks for the explanation.

Because you can trust us

Of course we could trust you... its not like your a mad scientist or engineer who just cant help himself and isn't always thinking "I wonder what's happens if I try this..." /s

I have no objection to a site i like making some money off of me.

and as long as you dont get too greedy  :D


Try looking at the following to help monetization of this site

1) skimlinks (the affiliate tool to end all affilates).. as long as your reach is big enough you can make money just from the dropped cookie.

2) adyoulike or sharethrough (different versions of the same thing, basically just bakes an advertorial onto the page)

3) outbrain or contentclick (content recommendation tool, from experience contentclick gives us better rates but outbrain might be better for a global audience.. there is another one of these but the name skips my mind, they offer the best rates BUT the ads on their network arent policed... some of them are borderline pron).

4) look into an adserver that can serve ads from the same domain as your website... people cant block the ads without blocking your content, and until people make a decision to switch you off your ads will show as you are not a known adserver :D win, win.


All the above... if handled properly, arent that intrusive to readers and I reckon you have enough traffic of a select type of audience to warrant roughly a couple of grand a month.. key benefit is that they are just setup and run things with very little maintennance involved.

guaranteed a couple of grand a month wont cover Logan's election campaign costs but it will all help :)

You might also want to look at services which sell audience data but that is a bit grey area... you are literally tagging people as they come on to your site and selling the details to a third party (e.g this person from this ip address likes high end electrical goods!) as you can imagine this data becomes stale very quickly so you always have a steady income from this.