[seqfan] Re: google analytics?

Russ Cox rsc at swtch.com
Sat Jan 8 16:57:35 CET 2011

Google Analytics is a service for webmasters to easily gather
statistics about how many page views they are getting, what
referring sites link to the target site, and so on.

Using Google Analytics provides a real benefit for the OEIS:
it lets us - Neil, David, and myself - analyze our traffic patterns
in order to understand how many visitors are seeing the site,
what pages they are looking at, what kinds of browsers we
should be sure to support well, what other sites are linking to
the OEIS, and so on.  We could gather the same data without
Analytics, but it means one less thing to work on so that we can
focus on the OEIS itself and not visitor logs.

The interpretation in your email message has a few logic errors in it:

> This is what I just experienced (several times, also complete stalls).

Do you have traces from your web browser showing that the stall
was Google Analytics?  We have been having issues with the
server software getting tied up on complex requests and slowing
down subsequent simple requests.  This has nothing to do with
Analytics and would be the first thing I would suspect in a performance
problem.  Chrome and Firefox have extensions to show where the
time is going in page loads.

I think there are enough unresolved performance issues with the
OEIS software itself that in the absence of hard data, I am not going
to blame Analytics for a server hiccup.

> But what REALLY bothers me is the privacy issue.
> [...]
> To function, the GATC loads a larger file from the Google webserver
> ---------------------
> This is absolutely positively NOT acceptable!

You are not reading the text correctly.  "The user's account number"
means the user who set up the Analytics tracking in the first place,
in this case me.  That is, no matter who visits the OEIS web page,
the GATC sets variables with *the OEIS analytics* account number, not yours.

You can see it in the JavaScript in the page header:

    _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-3319603-4']);

There it is: the OEIS analytics account number, not yours.

I have removed the Google Analytics code from the OEIS pages.
This will not change what the OEIS webmasters can find out,
though it will make it more work for us, it will not make the pages
load faster, and in general will have no benefits but one:
it will have the singular benefit of stopping this conversation.


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