Published on: 11 March 2014 | Last updated: 6 January 2020
- how many visitors?
- which pages are most read?
- what browsers are visitors using?
- are they using a desktop computer, a tablet or a smartphone?
- are visitors arriving via a search engine or some other way?
- if they came via a search engine what search terms are people using?
Every website will tell you they use this information to enhance the user experience yada yada, but to give you a practical example: the statistics told me that a large proportion of people coming to this the Italy Cycling Guide were using tablets (as in iPads as opposed to drugs) so I spent ages working out how to get the site to display in a more tablet-friendly way on tablets.
For both services IP addresses are anonymised; if you are interested you can read the technical explanation from Google about what this does. In simple terms, the IP address is the address of the user’s computer, and IP Anonymisation means automatically throwing away part of the address, this means that information is kept about what country, and city/region users come from, but nothing more specific than that.
You can read more about Google Analytics and privacy issues in Google’s Privacy Statement.
If you want to opt out of Google Analytics, Google have developed a Google Analytics Opt-out browser add-on for all of the main browsers.
You can also use your browser to manage cookies: here are the instructions for Chrome - other browsers are similar. Some browsers offer a ‘do not track’ option, however this doesn’t work with Google Analytics.
Clicky Web Analytics
Roxr, the company that provides the Clicky Web Analytics service, have information about privacy and cookies in their terms and conditions. The key bit is:
“Roxr values the privacy of its users. Roxr will not provide any information about its users and/or their traffic data to any third party for any purpose, unless required to do so by law.
Roxr makes data available to the public about trends in internet usage, such as web browser and operating system market share, on the following web page: https://clicky.com/marketshare/. These reports are generated from the data from every web site being monitored by the Service. These reports are generic in nature and do not contain any personally identifiable.”
Italy Cycling Guide has a mailing list and ends subscribers an email every three months with information about new articles on the site. The mailing list is operated by Mailchimp. Mailchimp operates from the US, and is subject to the US CAN-SPAM Act. The requirements of this Act are pretty similar to the requirements of the rather less snappily-titled Article 13 of Directive 2002/58/EC of The European Parliament and of The Council of 12 July 2002 concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (implemented in the UK as the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations). The main principles are:
- You must also tell us where you got your list. Yep, and you have to be honest. Because if you’re not, we’ll know.
- You absolutely, positively MUST include our unsubscribe link on your campaigns.
- You must include your contact information inside every promotional email that you send, including a physical mailing address where you can receive mail or a PO Box. (Not a website or email address.)
- You may not falsify your contact information or subject line. ”
Open tracking of emails sent to the mailing-list
Mailchimp uses ‘beacons’ to provide information about the proportion of mailing-list subscribers who open the emails and how many click on the links within them to visit the site. This information enables me to evaluate the usefulness of emails. The service also identifies which subscribers have opened emails and in theory would allow me to use this information for example to resend the emails to those who hadn’t opened it the first time. I have no intention of making use of this information - however, I can’t turn it off without turning off the tracking altogether. (Mailchimp Knowledge Base Article about Open Tracking)
Mailing-list security and privacy
The mailing lists are only kept by MailChimp. So far as I can tell, they maintain a high level of security: for example, I am notified by email every time someone logs in to the Mailchimp account - so I would instantly know if someone else had gained access.
Your subscriber lists are stored on a secure MailChimp server. We don’t, under any circumstances, sell your lists, contact people on your lists, market to people on your lists, steal your lists, or share your lists with any other party, unless it’s required by law. If someone on your list complains or contacts us, we may then contact that person. Only authorized employees have access to view Distribution Lists. You may export (download) your lists from MailChimp at any time, as long as we have a copy.”
The only personal data I keep or process are the email addresses and names provided when you contact me using the contact form. This information will only ever be used to reply to you, and will not be passed to any third party.