jump to last post 1-17 of 17 discussions (58 posts)

Quantcast Subdomain Tracking: breach of privacy?

  1. jubiladay profile image69
    jubiladayposted 5 years ago

    Here's something interesting for those of you wary of sharing your personal data & stats with other users.

    Each of our personal subdomains is now displayed on quantcast. Case in point: Paul Edmondson's page visits.

    Section 2d of the Hubpages privacy policy says that information may be 'used to monitor aggregate metrics such as total number of visitors and traffic' but there is no mentioned of single visitor stats being displayed.

    I believe this would  be considered a breach of privacy and hope that Hubpages removes the codes that allow this information to be publicly available.

    1. earnestshub profile image88
      earnestshubposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      I wrongly attributed this initiative to Eric, so allow me to correct this and thank you for bringing this to the attention of hubpages which has resulted in the desired outcome. smile

      1. AEvans profile image69
        AEvansposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        I knew they would correct it to. smile

  2. Eric Graudins profile image60
    Eric Graudinsposted 5 years ago

    It would appear that this is a gross breach of privacy for those who use their real name to post on Hub Pages.

    Yet I understand that HubPages have refused point blank to allow people to change their real names to one that is non identifiable.

    I would welcome an explanation from Hub Pages management to explain how the publication of detailed statistics for such a hub pages user is NOT a breach of privacy.

    And the fact that it is Quantcast not Hubpages that provides this information is irrelevant, because HubPages has authorised Quantcast to compile this information and make it available.

  3. earnestshub profile image88
    earnestshubposted 5 years ago

    Holy exposure batman! Some of our best contributors use their own name!

    Has anyone asked the hubpages staff the direct question yet?

    1. Eric Graudins profile image60
      Eric Graudinsposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      About changing their own name?
      Yes, they have.

      And the answer was no.

  4. waynet profile image49
    waynetposted 5 years ago

    Yes, this is a bit too much...I wonder why they've approved this...ah well it's their site, I've got sites to build and control on my own, busy busy busy like a bee on acid with no pants on...

    1. lrohner profile image85
      lrohnerposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Wayne -- It may be THEIR site, but they are YOUR private stats -- at least 60% of them anyway. smile

      BTW, glad to see you've got a little uptick in pageviews going. It's not much, but I hope it lasts for you. With 617 hubs, though, I'm surprised you're not getting more traffic than you are, as you're averaging less than 2 pageviews per hub per day. Yesterday, you only had 1,000 global pvs and 583 from the US. Hope things get better for you. I'll be keeping an eye out and crossing my fingers! smile

      1. waynet profile image49
        waynetposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        Yeah lol...half of my hubpages are the crap ones I started off with in my first year. will re-write them if things pick up and remain in traffic, but my own sites are the priority for this year and the next.

  5. LuisEGonzalez profile image80
    LuisEGonzalezposted 5 years ago

    The downside to subdomains is that they are treated as a website
    Ex; hubpages.com = luisegonzalez . hubpages.com and Quantcast is allowed by HP to post information about the website (luisegonzalez . hubpages.com), although the information is relevant to number of visits, geographical data etc. No personal information is displayed, albeit with some of the subdomain names (like mine) it would not take much for some unsavory characters to use this for shady purposes. sad

  6. psycheskinner profile image81
    psycheskinnerposted 5 years ago

    I don't see that Hubpages has released any information here.  I looks like information anyone could scrape if they wanted to. Sites like this have been around for years. Now we have subdomains we will appear on them and the data is not more private than what is planted in your front garden.

    1. lrohner profile image85
      lrohnerposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Incorrect. HubPages HAS released this information willingly. They have signed up with the Quantcast service to track data by adding code similar to Analytics.

      There are other services, such as Compete, that estimate traffic to various websites, but those estimates are usually off by 50% or more. By giving Quantcast permission to track our individual data, they are releasing actual traffic stats, and that is not something someone can "scrape."

  7. thisisoli profile image61
    thisisoliposted 5 years ago

    Ironher is right, by including the code snippet on our Hubs quantcast is making our traffic levels, keywords, and business demeographs public knowledge, not happy about this as it leaves me wide open to someone stealing my niches and keywords.

    Without the code snippet Quantcast can only display guestimates at data.

    1. Jason Menayan profile image59
      Jason Menayanposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Where are you seeing keywords displayed, Oli?

    2. Dolores Monet profile image92
      Dolores Monetposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Ha ! Checked my own self and saw that I needed to give Quantcast permission to display my subdomain. As I always like to think things over a bit, I did not. Being a bit paranoid after having way too many hubs copied and getting sick of filing DCMA's, I am laying low.

  8. Jason Menayan profile image59
    Jason Menayanposted 5 years ago

    EDIT: We're aware of this. Our current setup is similar to Wordpress and Tumblr: subdomains aren't findable through quantcast.com/hubpages.com (we disabled that) but if you know the subdomain, you can find it.

    We will be deciding if we want to remove the Quantcast tag entirely, which is what would be necessary for every subdomain to be untraceable.

    1. thooghun profile image85
      thooghunposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Damn, I was actually enjoying the idea of subdomain tracking personally. Nevertheless, I understand the concerns. As always well done on being speedy, it never ceases to amaze smile

    2. Mark Ewbie profile image82
      Mark Ewbieposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      That's a relief.  Let me know when it's done then I can go back to writing my "How I Got to Be so Successful" pages.

      1. thooghun profile image85
        thooghunposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        Thanks for the laugh smile

    3. Eric Graudins profile image60
      Eric Graudinsposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Jason,
      Your response here indicates to me that you didn't have a clue about the tracking until this thread was posted.

      OK, so some people think the ability to track their traffic is a good thing.
      Some of the others who use their real names on Hub Pages are quite alarmed.

      Seeing that this issue is entirely due to factors that did not exist when the user names were originally chosen, I'll repeat my previous question - which you have ignored.

      Why won't you allow people to change their user names, given this drastic change in the way the Hub Pages is operating?

      You could then reinstate the quantcast monitoring for the rest of your domain.

  9. Stacie L profile image86
    Stacie Lposted 5 years ago

    I'm not an IT specialist and I'm willing to listen and learn more
    I just starting reading the right side of this page and found this link to opt-out
    shouldn't this help?
    http://www.quantcast.com/how-we-do-it/c … ce/opt-out

    1. Jason Menayan profile image59
      Jason Menayanposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      That's for keeping your personal browsing data inaccessible for Quantcast's aggregate statistics.

      1. Stacie L profile image86
        Stacie Lposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        so isn't that a good thing?

        1. Jason Menayan profile image59
          Jason Menayanposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          Sure, if you don't want your data to be used in those aggregate statistics. Like, for example, if you visit about.com 10x per month, those 10 visits will not show up in About.com's Quantcast statistics.

          They do not show PII (personally-identifiable information) about any particular visitor, only aggregate figures.

  10. IzzyM profile image88
    IzzyMposted 5 years ago

    I actually quite liked seeing my stats on there, but I especially liked seeing how well or otherwise Hubpages were doing. If HP removes that data we will all be playing a guessing game.

    I don't know why some people are so against this data being shown, unless they've been telling porky pies all along about their views and earnings.

    1. wilderness profile image95
      wildernessposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      I'm with you, Izzy - I rather like being able to see my stats there.

      At the same time, though, if my keywords are so easily available that could be a problem.  It could also result in increased theft if anyone can easily find out how I'm doing.  (Hey, this guy has only 25 hubs and gets 1000 visits/day - they must be worth some copying here!)

      1. IzzyM profile image88
        IzzyMposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        Where do you click to see someone's keywords though? I haven't seen anything like that.

        And that second scenario about getting hundreds of hits with only 25 hubs is easily solved. Write more hubs until you have 100s. Make it harder for the thieves to guess which ones are doing well.

        1. wilderness profile image95
          wildernessposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          I don't know how to get the keywords and stuff - Thisisoli just posted above something about it being available.

          Write more hubs.  Yes, I should do that, and fully expect to if this kind of traffic continues.  I pretty much quit writing this year - just wasn't encouraged enough by continually falling traffic to put any effort into it.  Got some ideas going, though, and intend to get back into it.

    2. lrohner profile image85
      lrohnerposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      I think that's a bit unfair, Izzy. There are many, many reasons why I wouldn't want my data shown on Quantcast, and none of them have anything to do with telling porky pies.

      I understand why a site like HubPages as a whole would want their data shown, as it clearly shows accurate traffic stats to potential advertisers. I can also understand why people who are here only to write wouldn't care if their data is made public.

      But...for most small affiliate marketers, secrecy is the only way to survive. If a competitor smells success, they're all over you like bees on honey copying everything you do. Just ask Nelle or Ryan. They'll tell you.

      What galls me particularly about this move by HP is that many of us use our real names as our usernames. So not only are the stats made public, but they are personally identified with people's names. That, IMO, is a breach of HP's privacy policy. I am a bit surprised that they didn't at least ask or notify us, or allow us to at least switch user names. I know that Mark Knowles asked to change his username to something a bit more generic before making the switch, and the HP team flatly refused his request.

      Not cool. SO not cool.

    3. lakeerieartists profile image79
      lakeerieartistsposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Izzy, people do not want their hard work stolen because they are successful.

      If you want to see your stats, you can sign up for Google Analytics and see stats for free.

      1. IzzyM profile image88
        IzzyMposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        So people only get their hard work stolen when someone sees their Quantcast stats??

        I don't think so. Plagiarism is alive and well on the net and has been for a long time.

        1. Eric Graudins profile image60
          Eric Graudinsposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          Curious jump of logic there, IzzyM.


          Yes, people get their hard work stolen even without these stats.

          But the ability to access those stats make it a hell of a lot easier to pinpoint the stuff that is worthwhile stealing.

          1. IzzyM profile image88
            IzzyMposted 5 years ago in reply to this

            No it doesn't. I have 480 hubs more or less, and only a handful do well. Someone would need to copy them all to ensure they got the right ones.

            1. Eric Graudins profile image60
              Eric Graudinsposted 5 years ago in reply to this

              Well, the availability of data may not be an issue in your case.

              But someone with very high traffic levels and a small number of hubs may not agree with your assessment.

            2. sunforged profile image63
              sunforgedposted 5 years ago in reply to this

              But, Eric only has 1... what if it was/is a high traffic hub?

              or many of us intentionally made niche profiles for our best earners.. 30-50 hubs, 2000+ hits daily on  the quantcast data.. pretty easy to see a goldmine

              That was dangerously public data.

              There is something to be said for security through obfuscation, but when we started our hub profiles we werent aware that our data may be compromised so easily and not all may have been properly secured.

  11. waynet profile image49
    waynetposted 5 years ago

    I have no problem about them showing my HP stats, but others will if they know that their traffic data is out there to scrutinize by the competition and that really is everyone out there to be honest...keeping stuff close to your chest in this game can be very useful that's why I've bought 18 domain names with privacy I don't want anyone knowing that they originate from me.

    1. Stacie L profile image86
      Stacie Lposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      you make a good point...

  12. Mark Ewbie profile image82
    Mark Ewbieposted 5 years ago

    Given my persona is based around that of a hapless loser it would severely damage my credibility were people to see how fantastically successful I am.  Just grateful that my massive thing is now not visible to people.

    1. Sally's Trove profile image99
      Sally's Troveposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      I'm crazy about the art with which you practice humility. smile

    2. lrohner profile image85
      lrohnerposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Thanks for the visual. I think I'm blind now. smile

  13. Sally's Trove profile image99
    Sally's Troveposted 5 years ago

    This is clearly an issue of whether the TOS has been violated.

    I'm sure some Hubbers are attorneys...maybe you could shed some light on this, hypothetically speaking of course.

  14. Jason Menayan profile image59
    Jason Menayanposted 5 years ago

    Just a note: we've hidden all Quantcast data for HubPages, including those on subdomains. We're trying to get clarification from Quantcast if we can display only aggregate (site-wide) data only, but we'll keep data off until we find out.

    1. Sally's Trove profile image99
      Sally's Troveposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      With all due respect, knowing that you want to keep the community informed, it would be better for HP to terminate this thread, get the privacy issue resolved, and then come back with a policy statement. smile

    2. jubiladay profile image69
      jubiladayposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Thanks for the quick response Jason. Hopefully this issue will be resolved soon with a compromise that keeps both Hubpages and Members happy.

      1. Jason Menayan profile image59
        Jason Menayanposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        Quantcast got back to us. They said it was a bug, and they're working on their end to resolve it. Once they've fixed it and by-subdomain stats are not visible, then we'll unhide our site stats on Quantcast.

        Thank you for your patience and understanding.

        1. wilderness profile image95
          wildernessposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          Thanks for the update, Jason - it is appreciated.  Sounds like it came out of the blue and was not expected.

          1. Jason Menayan profile image59
            Jason Menayanposted 5 years ago in reply to this

            Yes, we made the change to hide subdomains and didn't see it listed. We thought that took care of it, but apparently there was a workaround if you typed in the URL.

            1. wilderness profile image95
              wildernessposted 5 years ago in reply to this

              Yep.  And with this many hubbers someone somewhere is going to find most any workaround.  Oh well - can't see any harm done, and you guys got right on it.

              1. Jason Menayan profile image59
                Jason Menayanposted 5 years ago in reply to this

                ...and Quantcast has, too. They've enabled hiding of subdomain stats, so we've reeenabled site-wide traffic stats reporting now.

                1. IzzyM profile image88
                  IzzyMposted 5 years ago in reply to this

                  I see stats are improving smile

  15. LuisEGonzalez profile image80
    LuisEGonzalezposted 5 years ago

    In light of this then a sensible step that should be taken by HubPages would be to allow hubbers to change their username to a more generic one. I didn't think much of it before but my username is my real name, and that has me concerned. sad

    1. Jason Menayan profile image59
      Jason Menayanposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      We don't allow users to change their usernames, although you can always close an account if you're concerned about your public persona and create a new one. smile

  16. Eric Graudins profile image60
    Eric Graudinsposted 5 years ago

    Wow.
    What an awesome response!
    Truly Terrific !!!
    lol lol lol

    So you're going to force those people to jump through yet another set of hoops if they have reasons for not being personally identified?
    Do you even understand the magnitude of what you are asking them to do? Especially those who have a significant number of hubs, and from whom you have derived substantial income over the years?

    They will have to remove, store, and republish all their hubs under a new name. And all their comments, etc. will be lost.

    Why don't HubPages management just realise that this is a valid issue for many people, and just allow people using their real names as users to change them?


    The friendly, helpful folk at HP never cease to amaze me!

  17. Richieb799 profile image65
    Richieb799posted 5 years ago

    I quite like this, means I can spy on which hubbers are hyping up their performance, saying they earn loads lol

    :edit: just looked at one who is always hyping and they've hidden their data lol

    Fair enough, I'd like to hide my website domains on there since I wouldn't want competitors finding out my niche either big_smile

    1. Eric Graudins profile image60
      Eric Graudinsposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      If you read the posts above, you'll see that the ability to view this data has been disabled for everyone.

      LOL right back at you. lol

      1. earnestshub profile image88
        earnestshubposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        Thanks Eric, Ya blood needs bottlin!

        You have done us all a great service in bringing this problem to an end. smile

        1. Eric Graudins profile image60
          Eric Graudinsposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          Not me Earnest. Thank the person who discovered the visibility of this data :-)

        2. Richieb799 profile image65
          Richieb799posted 5 years ago in reply to this

          Didn't see that soz tongue doesn't protect my websites though

     
    working