Tag Archives: stats

Amazed by Autoptimize take-up

autoptimize at +200K downloads, wow!Less then a year after reaching 100000 downloads, Autoptimize broke the 200000 barrier just last week.

It’s also exiting to see how people are blogging (or tweeting) about it as well;

So yeah, I’m pretty amazed by how well Autoptimize is doing. Thanks for the confidence!

WP DoNotTrack whitelist & WordPress/ Jetpack stats

Although the number of pageviews of this blog already decreased from approx. 2100 pageviews per week before mid May to 1300 pv/week after (I never thought I’d ever be hit by a Panda), yesterday was an absolute disaster. Turns out that Automattic changed the domain of the Jetpack stats tracking pixel to pixel.wordpress.com, which WP DoNoTrack (for which I pushed out a small update in May) blocked as that domain was not whitelisted. The downside of white- instead of blacklisting.

Some 2011 numbers and 2012 goals

  1. This blog:
  2. WP YouTube Lyte, my WordPress plugin to do “lazy load YouTube embedding”, really took off:
    • 8 minor and 3 major releases (from 0.6.5 to 0.9.4), introducing support for features such as audio-only YouTube, embedding playlists, changing player size on the fly and translations in 6 languages (thanks to those six great contributors).
    • 48260 downloads
    • Main goal for 2012: stabilize and reach the magic 1.0.0 (which will probably include an optimized initialization-mechanism)
  3. My WP DoNotTrack plugin is somewhat … younger:
    • 2 releases
    • 336 downloads
    • Goals for 2012:
      • stop more types of tracking (a.o. by including black- or whitelist filtering of the HTML using the output buffer)
      • improve filtering
      • integrate (and possibly automate) tracking-detection using the webpagetest.org API
      • promote the idea of “DoNotTrack” in general and for WordPress and WP plugins & themes in particular (the plugin is just a means, not an end in itself)

But enough with all the navel-gazing, thanks for b(e)aring with me & have a great 2012 guys & girls!

Google Analytics for the privacy aware

While the entire German blogosphere seems to have discovered the pretty unpleasant, secretive inclusion of Quantcast tracking in the “WordPress.com Stats” plugin, I found an article on the blog that broke the story in Germany, that explains how you can somewhat limit (valid) privacy-concerns with Google Analytics.

You just have to push “_gat._anonymizeIp” as an option in the _gaq object, as shown on line 5 in this code snippet:

<script type="text/javascript">
  var _gaq = _gaq || [];
  _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-xxxxxxx-x']);
  _gaq.push(['_trackPageview']);
  _gaq.push(['_gat._anonymizeIp']);

  (function() {
    var ga = document.createElement('script');
    ga.type = 'text/javascript';
    ga.async = true;
    ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + '.google-analytics.com/ga.js';
    var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0];
    s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s);
  })();
</script>

According to the relevant Google Analytics docs page, this:

“Tells Google Analytics to anonymize the information sent by the tracker objects by removing the last octet of the IP address prior to its storage. Note that this will slightly reduce the accuracy of geographic reporting.”

Call me naive (or overly idealistic), but shouldn’t your Google Analytics implementation have this option on as well?

Quantcast spyware puts selfhosted WordPress blogs in Automattic network

A quick update about the WordPress.com Stats plugin secretive inclusion of Quantcast tracking:

WordPress.com Stats trojan horse for Quantcast tracking

Suppose you’re a blogger who values website performance and online privacy. You may have ditched Google Analytics because you think the do-no-evilers do not have to know who is on your site. Maybe you removed AddtoAny because of the 3rd party tracking code that slows down your site ever oh so slightly. And you don’t want the omnipresent Facebook Like widget for all the above reasons. No, the only 3rd party javascript you allow is the one pushed by the WordPress.com Stats plugin; one javascript-file  and one pixel and you get some nice stats in return. And come on, WordPress, those are the good guys, right?

Well, apparently not. While performing a test on for example webpagetest.org, you’ll see two requests to the quantserve.com domain;

http://edge.quantserve.com/quant.js
http://pixel.quantserve.com/pixel;r=705640318;fpan=1;fpa=P0-450352291-1292419712624;ns=0;url=http%3A%2F%2Fblog.futtta.be%2F;ref=;ce=1;je=1;sr=1024x768x32;enc=n;ogl=;dst=1;et=1292419712624;tzo=300;a=p-18-mFEk4J448M;labels=type.wporg

Ouch, that hurts! But surely Quantcast aren’t in the same league as AddtoAny’s media6degrees, who do behavioral advertising based on data captured all across the web? Well … Quantcast might be better known, but they do exactly the same thing; collecting user information and providing that info for targeted advertising. And just so you know, Quantcast is one of the companies that is on trial for restoring deleted cookies using Flash (“zombie cookies”). So no, I’m not comfortable with Quantcast collecting data on my blog’s visitors.

Now I know that I opted in on user-tracking by WordPress (or rather Automattic). And I can live with them knowing who visits my blog, I can live with the small performance-impact that the stats-plugin has on my site that way. But I did not sign up for 3rd party tracking, the plugin-page conveniantly fails to mention the extra tracking, there’s no opt-out mechanism in the plugin and there’s no info to be found on how to disable Quantcast tracking users on my own blog. I am not a happy WordPress-blogger!

So Automattic; please fess up and at least provide instructions on how to disable 3rd party tracking, just like AddtoAny’s Pat gracefully did?


Update 20 january 2011; Automattic seems unwilling to acknowledge there is a problem, the thread on wordpress.org forums where this was discussed has been closed. I created a small WordPress plugin, DoNotTrack, to stop Quantcast tracking. you can download it here.

But how unstable is Flash really?

You probably read that  Steve Jobs officially declared Flash a stability nightmare and that Adobe’s CEO responded that OS X is to blame. Hard to take sides in this blame-game, especially without access to Apple’s crash reports data. We do, however, have access to Mozilla’s crash-stats.mozilla.com. Could those figures provide us with at least some relevant statistics about Flash’s reliability?

I imported this csv-file with the top 300 crashers for Firefox 3.6.3 for the last 50 days (3.6.3 was released on April 1th) into a Google Docs spreadsheet and counted the number of crashes for each line where “Flash” or “NPSWF32” is in the signature (SUMIF without wildcard characters, seriously Google!?). You can find the spreadsheet here, but these are the results:

total number crash reports for top 300 crashers:3583582
crash reports with “NPSWF32” or “Flash” in signature:1154488
flash-related crashes %:32.22%

That’s right; almost 1/3 of the Firefox 3.6.3 “top crashers” are clearly related to Flash! So yes, there is good reason to consider plugins in general and Flash in particular a stability risk for Firefox. And for the record, the numbers for Mac seem to indicate that the problem is even (much) worse there! So hurray for Firefox 3.6.4 with Out of Process Plugins! And hey Adobe, get your Flash together!