Quest for Gaming

Removal of Google services

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Posted by: Daerandin
Lord Paladin

This website used to rely on several Google services, in particular Google Analytics for learning about visitors, and Google ReCaptcha to try and prevent spam on the Contact and Signup forms.

Google Analytics, in my opinion, tracks too much. It made use of cookies and JavaScript which tracked users across the website, analyzing behaviour. Learning about visitors is definitely useful, it helps to gauge the popularity of the website throughout the world, and what content visitors seem be most interested in. But I don't think the level of tracking done by Google Analytics was justifiable, so I have now completely removed it from my website. Instead, I have now moved over to a program called Analog CE, which creates graphs from the logs created by the web server software. Everything is handled locally on the server itself with no third party involved, and the software itself is open source. Since this software only makes use of existing log files, it means there is no additional information gathering and the data is completely anonymous.

The other Google service I have removed is ReCaptcha. That little box you click to verify that you are a human when you want to create an account here or use the Contact form. I honestly don't know how much it tracks users in order to determine who is a bot and who is not and I am not comfortable with this. This is a matter of principle for me. I originally used these Google services because they were quick and easy to set up, but considering my own standpoint on privacy I could not keep using these services in good conscience. However, after I removed this I did need some other method to fight bots, and that ended up with some home-brewed code. It does not track users, and it is admittedly a bit more annoying for visitors as you now need to solve a very simple math problem. However, signing up for a new account is something you theoretically only need to do once, and the contact form is also something I doubt users need to utilize often. So the new change should be of minor notice to visitors, but it has removed all forms of potential tracking done by Google.

There is one more Google service that is still in use here, and that is Google Adsense. However, this is only enabled if users specifically turn it on in data settings. This will show ads, which is a potential source of income for the website. This is purely a choice for visitors and I completely understand if you would not want to have ads enabled.

In any case, I am proud to say that privacy is the default for this website and users can feel safe that they are not tracked in any way when visiting us at Quest for Gaming.

Categories: Web Development, Privacy

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