More privacy headaches for Google?
I'm really rather shocked that no one is talking about Google unintentionally breaking its own terms and conditions relating to Privacy.
When you sign up to Google Analytics it states this in the T&C's:
Note all the stuff about "personally identifiable information of internet users".
Most of the time, when you're looking at Analytics data you only have numbers and stats to look at and analyse. You never get to see who the visitors actually are. And that's the way it should be.
But when I go into one of my client's Analytics Reports, Traffic Sources > Referrers > and look at traffic delivered from social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, I can see all sorts of information about people.
Those scrubbed out and arrowed traffic sources are people's profiles in Facebook.
They're showing up as referrers because those people clicked on a link posted on their wall that was shared by the company they're a fan off (or "like").
I can visit those profiles and in some cases see exactly who they are. I know how many times they visited, and even whether they made a purchase.
It's a tough conundrum for Google, and for us "regular" people. I'm sure 99.9% of people who create social media profiles have no idea that we as marketers can track their every move on our client's websites.
SmartCompany has taken a more in-depth look at this issue and has spoken to privacy experts about the consequences of this breach.
A big thanks to our Analytics guru, Samith W who discovered and shared this issue with me this week.
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Chris Thomas heads up Reseo, a search engine optimisation company which specialises in creating and maintaining Google AdWords campaigns and Search Engine Optimisation campaigns for a range of corporate clients.