You’re being watched.
Imagine if every time you walked into a physical store, someone scanned a barcode on your body to learn who you are.
Then, they followed you around the store and took notes about everything you picked up, put back, or purchased. When you finally leave, they send that information to a central agency. Now, people follow you around — to your home, your work — suggesting similar products to you.
Understandably, this would freak you out. But this is the agreement we’ve (so far) struck with online advertisers. It’s creepy, and it’s done without your explicit permission.
Sure, they might flash a banner about cookies. But cookie warnings don’t solve the problem, either. They only clutter the web. And in most cases, you don’t have a choice. Accept the cookies and tracking, or leave. Even then, you’ve alrady been tracked.
Here’s the point of this post: this website does not track you.
As a former digital marketer, I’ve been thinking a lot about privacy and tracking. I’m as guilty as anyone. I’ve collected tens of millions of points of data about people and shared it with Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other platforms without explicit permission from those people.
We can do better. I can do better.
If you run a website, I encourage you to do the same. For most of us, there are no benefits to allowing our visitors to be tracked. We’re simply being complicit in the name of getting “free” analytics from services like Google Analytics.
If you still want to know how many people are visiting your website, there are ways to do so without tracking anyone.
Personally, I use Fathom Analytics, a privacy-first, paid software alternative that doesn’t collect or store personal information. Visitor data is collected anonymously and gives me just enough information so I can understand how people are finding my website and what content they are finding useful.
If you want to give Fathom Analytics a try, you can use this referral link for $10 off your first invoice. This isn’t a paid promotion and so far I make $0 from referrals. I’m just a happy customer.
Our choices matter. If you care about online privacy, pay attention and choose businesses and tools that put your privacy first.
Things you should expect
- If you sign up for my newsletter or to receive posts by email, your email address will be kept by Andrew Stiefel, LLC and our email service provider, MailChimp.
- We’ll exercise commercially reasonable levels of care about this information within the context of “this is a newsletter and your email is something you’re telling me in confidence but it’s not patient health information.”
- I will send you email because you asked for it. If you ever don’t want to receive it, email firstname.lastname@example.org or click the unsubscribe link inside the email.
Things you should not expect
We will not sell, rent, share, disclose, or otherwise make your email address available to other organizations unless you ask us to or we are required to by law, administrative guidance, or exigent circumstances.
Other useful information
You may find it useful to know that Andrew Stiefel, LLC is a Washington-organized company whose primary place of business is in Seattle, Washington.