Tracking, Advertising, Your Privacy, and this blog

Given the (hopefully temporary) defeat of net neutrality in the United States and my evolving desire to protect your privacy, there’s been a few behind-the-scenes changes here.

First, sadly, Project Wonderful is shutting down. While it was never a big source of revenue for this blog, it was at least ethical and gave me a few bucks every so often. Most of the other advertising networks I’m aware of have either really creepy tracking aspects (hi, Facebook!) or are sponsored posts, and we know how I feel about those. If you know of any that are ethical, let me know.

Second, I’ve disabled Google tracking here. I’m primarily using a self-hosted version of Matomo to track visitors. It respects Do-Not-Track quite nicely.  WordPress (or Automattic) is still setting cookies; when I find a "related posts" plugin that works well without JetPack, that’ll be the end of that.

See, here’s the thing. We used to use metrics like pageviews and shares to let us know what worked. To let us know what connected with our audiences.

Now, though? They’ve been monetized. Now, though, they’ve been turned into a goal in themselves, not a measure of what to do to get that goal. They’re used to make people into products.

Screw that noise.

It’s a slow process – especially for the Alliteration Ink side of the house – to disentangle myself from the grip of convenience.

But I’m working on it. And where I can, I’m working to make sure that I’m not forcing you to participate in making yourself into a product.

Consider decentralized social media, Encrypt everything. Use privacy-centric DNS servers. Use a VPN whenever possible. Watch out for the autofill.  If you’re using Firefox, containers are great for keeping your privacy in place. And don’t forget real-world privacy, too.

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