RETURN $ecure;

Security, Technology and Life

Archive for January 2008

Enabling Urchin

leave a comment »

Urchin, more commonly known as Google Analytics; is a web analytics software that measures many statistics and helps you to understand them by presenting the results in various ways. It’s also closely tied to Google AdWords now. But as it becomes more well known, people that are concerned about privacy and targeted advertising are blocking these services. Besides the obvious app-level content blockers, there are also HOST file edits to block the domain the Java Script file comes from.

If you run a web site and take care to study your statistics, using Google Analytics or not, you probably know that these sorts of measurements are often invaluable for site feedback. For example, if someone leaves a page as soon as they visit it, you know the page might need work in some way. So if we are reliant on Urchin, how can we assure ourselves we are reaching our entire user base?

There is an obvious solution that is also fairly easy, host your own copy of Urchin.js. But there are a few flaws with this, if the block is via the HOST file. The tracking image and other requests made to the server will be blocked any ways. The solution should be to make an A record pointing to the Google Analytics server. This way, users will send requests to the same server but via the domain you control. (e.g. urchin.myserver.net)

Often you will see “Waiting for response from google-analytics.com…” or something similar to this in your browser. So a mix of hosting urchin.js yourself and redirecting via a domain you control could also have an added benefit of speeding up loading of some pages. I know many sites I visit that use third-party tracking sites often take some time to finish loading. Which is a problem for me as I have Opera set to re-render after the page is loaded.

Plus, I’m sure users that run things like NoScript will be more likely to oblige to allowing stuff.trustedserver.com as opposed to Google. ;D

Written by Rodney G

01/3/2008 at 5:27 pm

Posted in Life