Dear Google: This is war
Dear Google: With your announcement yesterday, you’ve become the enemy.
My company is a Google Analytics Partner. We promote the heck out of Google Analytics, Adwords and your products. I’ve worked hard to emphasize to my clients that you’re not Evil, or Good. You’re just doing your job. We’ve kept our clients within your terms of service, and basically behaved ourselves.
But now you’re going to hide a sizable chunk of referring organic keyword data. That’s information I need to justify your value to my clients: Once you shut down organic search data from ‘signed in‘ users, I lose any accurate picture of traffic generated by organic Google rankings.
It’s not about privacy
Don’t try to say this is a privacy thing. It. is. not. How exactly does this protect privacy, when you tie the text of e-mails to your advertising platform? How does this protect privacy when you’re photographing people’s streets, homes and whatever else you can lay your hands on?
Don’t get me wrong – I’ve not opposed e-mail ads, or Street View. But you can’t shut down search query data and then protest privacy. That’s like leaving one bite of steak on your plate and saying you’re a vegetarian.
Are you honestly telling me you had no way to deliver anonymous counts of keyword searches by signed-in users? You’ve never found a way to do this? ‘Cause that sounds like a load of horse hooey, if ever I’ve heard one.
The real reason
You’ve done this for one reason, and one reason only: To shut out competing ad networks. By removing this data from the referring query string (oh, you didn’t think we’d notice?!) you’ve made it far harder for third-party ad networks to measure and quantify traffic quality.
Plus, you no longer have to justify ranking results, OR Adwords data. Personalization already scrambles the crap out of them. Without accurate search query data, we have no way to check your math on Google Adwords search counts. I guess we have to trust you. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Cough. Sniff. Sob.
Ain’t gonna happen.
You’ve made yourself into just another vendor we should never, ever, trust.
It’ll be interesting to see how many SEOs don their black hats after this. I certainly don’t feel as compelled as I once was to follow your terms of service. And I’m not the only one. Some pretty white-hat, respectable people are pretty pissed off.
So, nice job. You’ve made your feelings clear. I wonder how things are going to go for you in Washington DC after this?
Not well, I think. Not well at all.
Signed; Your former friend and believer, Ian