Unsplah insidiously adds Google Analytics cookie to blog!

I just notices that there are Google Analytics cookies on my blog - and I have not installed any GA integration.
This is quite insidious because it may or may not invalidate your Privacy Policy. It certainly does mine.

It seems the cookies are retrieved by the Unsplash images:
Request Example:

The Cookies:

That is very disturbing and means that going forward I will not be using the (convenient) unshplash link in the Post’s settings to add a post image…

Anyone else has the same issue? Am I the only one running away from GA?!

Sorry, I can’t answer the question about the GA cookie, but I will mention my personal opinion that Unsplash is best avoided. If you want to know why, check out photographer Zack Arias’s interview with Unsplash. Maybe things have changed - it was a 2018 interview. Fstoppers wrote about it here

I’ve heard a few people mention concerns with Google Analytics. I’m not a sophisticated GA user, interested what I should be paying more attention to. Are there good alternatives for basic site stats?

Thanks for the link. I guess the morale of it is:
1/ dont’ use unsplash for pic with people in it - and even better: go and buy all pics if possible
2/ don’t use ghost’s widget to grab pics from unslpash if you don’t want GA on your site (download the pic then upload it to your post).

My concerns with GA is the over tracking of your users. If you wanted to use GA and do it by the book, you would have to let your users know about the data that is being recorded and what you do with it. You also have to agree with GA’s terms… On top of that, since you’re using cookies, you need that horrible GDPR popup (or however you show it) for the users to accept cookies. My site simply doesn’t have cookies and in my privacy policy I list all the data points that are collected. I use a privacy-first analytics tool that ensures the users can’t be identified and tracked (for - ahem- advertisement for example). It’s called Ackee (see here - not affiliated) and even if it has less data points than GA, it has enough IMO. I mean how many things do we really need to track about our users?
The other big difference with GA is that it is self hosted and so it requires the tech skills, time and a server (nodejs & mongoDB). But, because it’s self hosted, you know exactly what is being collected (looking into the db) as it’s also open source (there is no chance the code also sends the data elsewhere), and so you have a closed loop that provides a robust sense of privacy.
Finally, because it’s self hosted and since the analytics/tracking comes from your domain, it’s less likely to get blocked by add blockers and other browser tools as I’ve heard that the GA data is getting skewed by this more and more.

That’s why I’m not into GA and was negatively surprised to see those cookies show up on my site.

1 Like

Good to know. I’m a total amateur with GA. My visitors are 100% safe with me because I wouldn’t know how to track them, but I worry about what they’re giving Google. I really just want an idea if people are actually visiting my site or if I’m speaking into the abyss. I’ll keep looking for a simple privacy-first analytics tool.

I think that’s most people. The “problem” is that GA is free and easy to install and so most don’t even bother looking further. One should wonder though how come it’s free…