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by Mountaineerbr

#35 - Removing Google Analytics

Google Analytics is such naughty software. I can't bear it anymore.

Some of the things that annoy me are the data presentation interface, which makes heavy use of java (I suppose and I don't much care). That is extremely slow to load and process the data.

The interface is not very responsive when it is fully loaded, either. It has got a lot of options but most of them don't make a whole lot of sense to me.

It is clear GA does not show the raw data and try to make some specifics obscure. As my website has got little traffic, I can see how badly GA tries to hide me the little data there actually was collected from users!

The CSV spreadsheets are terrible, IMHO.

That is a sure thing GA first collects a whole lot of data from my visitors and only after processing that it shows me some of it in whatever representations GA thinks is better for their webmasters `useds'.

Plus, its interface is very slow to load because it collects data from we, webmasters, as well! There is no limit for whatever garbage data they collect... If GA would only show me what GA sees...

Once I tried a service called matomo, but was wary soon after reading its terms of use. And mind that the only statistics it showed me was a hit counter...

If anyone knows of a clean, simpler and better service, please let me know. Whatever a simple webmaster wants from simple statistics..

I will remove GA scripts from my webpage in the following days. I am still deciding what method (sed -i or perl -pie) and regular expression to use, or whether manually...

As for now, you can check webpage sources, press [CTRL+U] in Firefox or Chrome.

Besides adding GA to the <FOOTER> section of webpages (as opposed to Google recommendation to adding it to the <HEADER> section), I know uBlock can block GA scripts (at least partially) from loading.. GA scripts should not be one of the first things to load in the webpage or at all..

More two bad factors in using these analytics: a) I don't know how many of these `unique' users are not actually myself as I did not set filters to prevent that and b) there were at least three days with intense robot crawlings from various parts of the world. So I reckon most of the data available to me may be garbage at this point.

Google Analytics Data

So, before I just forget about GA, I am downlaoding some of their CSV files. Available data is about the same as that shown to me in GA web console.

In the next table, that is the full data about Location of visitors since my website started using GA about 7 months ago, which is what mostly I wanted to know after the total hit count.

This data appears to have robot attacks filtered out, so I will assume these are reasonable numbers.

Table 1. Google Analytics sumamry data for the period from 01 Sep 2020 to 08 Apr 2021.
Country Users New Users Sessions
Brazil 177 177 398
United States 146 146 231
China 145 145 259
India 73 73 136
Germany 46 46 76
Nigeria 46 46 82
Japan 45 45 72
United Kingdom 44 44 70
Russia 42 42 69
(not set) 50 50 80
Total 1637 1637 2781

If reasonably correct with due reservations, I am quite pleased with the reach of my website for this period.

But as Rob Willians from Ratz would say, who cares about page views [in a personal website]?

Besides GA not collecting data from me and my visitors, pages should load faster.

I removed GA from HTML templates for the blog and podcast, recreated all blog pages and opted by purging the other few HTML files (about 13) manually, so I would not lose vim undoes..

Github history (objects) of this website repo will also be removed..

Vaccine Frustration

Mum got vaccinated when her age group was eligible on Monday.

Today, Wednesday, I tried to bring my aunt, who lives in a close city to my town, to vaccination because her age group would have become eligible.

However, as I had last asked about vaccination on Monday and did not confirm the schedule on Tuesday (yesterday), it was only too late when we arrived at the vaccination center and discovered it had been suspended the previous day..

Even though my aunt really does not live at town, she was born here and always lived at the area. As mum could prove her home is located at town, it all should be OK fr my aunt to have the vaccine, too..

I take the blame for not phoning up the vaccination centre yesterday or even this morning before taking the highway trip.

Politics is terrible in my country. That is mad to turn on the TV or the radio. Pandemics, vaccination and death are the main topics. The president is against lock down and restrictive measures. He confuses everybody! Occasionally some weird news about the president attending unimportant events..

For example, the president does not say pessoas (persons, citizens) cleanly but also mouths pensões (pensions) when talking about the pandemics..

I wonder what he is really at.

Relative numbers about the pandemics and vaccination mark Brazil in bad positions internationally. I see the USA has got too many vaccines in comparison to the rest of the world in absolute numbers. That is not OK, either..

This is a somewhat stressful and frustrating day.. I am having some beer..

PS: even though I removed all GA scripts from my webpages two days ago, today I was checking GA console and another bot attack was recorded yesterday (9 Apr), which I reckon is not possible..

May that be Google injects weyrd numbers itself to confuse and obfuscate real data? It may be possible. I am glad about not using GA anymore..

But that is also possible this last bot attack at least was performed on a copy of my old website.. Cannot discard this possibility.

PPS: Robots are really crazy, at least I feel like something does like my blog.. Once some good YouTube bots left comments. After I mistreated their comments (removed them), they gradually stopped commenting, so I am reasonably sure those were good YouTube bots..

Google Analytics screenshot of bot traffic.
Fig 1. Screenshot of Google Analytics overview console. Click on the image to see screenshot at original size.