“Yeah, we ditched Google.”

Why SpiderOak made a conscious decision to break up with Analytics

Most reports indicate Google has over 70% share of the analytics marketplace. Does that jeopardize our privacy?

After we gave it some more thought, we realized we were hypocrites. Since inception, SpiderOak has been an advocate for online privacy. Unlike many others in our market, we strive to be very clear about how our product design truly delivers Zero Knowledge privacy for our users. We tell potential supporters, what matters most is who has the keys and how they are stored.

For the past five years, we had been using Google Analytics for monitoring our web traffic. Innocent enough decision, right? Then we asked ourselves, “are we contributing to the mass surveillance of the web by using a feature-rich, yet free service that tracks web visitors?” Sadly. we didn’t like the answer to that question. “Yes, by using Google Analytics, we are furthering the erosion of privacy on the web.”

Most people might say, “well it’s only a cookie,” or “I don’t have anything to hide.” Yes our site is only one short stop you might make today while browsing the web, but why does Google and their advertisers need to know about it I would ask. Most of us visit scores of websites each day. The fabric behind the scenes that stitches a stunningly detailed history of your online day is Google Analytics. Even if you don’t have a Google account, or don’t stay logged into Gmail, your browsing history every single day is tracked across sites that include the JavaScript library.

So a few months ago we decided we were wrong and Google Analytics had to go.

Like lots of other companies with high traffic websites, we are a technology company; one with a deep team of software developer expertise. It took us only a few weeks to write our home-brew analytics package. Nothing super fancy yet now we have an internal dashboard that shows the entire company much of what we used analytics for anyway - and with some nice integration with some of our other systems too.

Some of us still have Gmail accounts and others keep using Chrome. Google makes good products. But where SpiderOak decided to draw the line was with the privacy of our current and soon to be customers. You deserve a choice when it comes to privacy online and we realized we could do better by not contributing to your browsing history with Google. And now that we’ve fixed that, we can sleep at night. Be safe out there.