Nov 28, 2006 @ 10:25 am in Uncategorized by   2

Search Engine’s Track Your Activities – Is That Possible Jim ?

Recently I came across a great article about link exchange by Jim Hedger here. While I do think that this is probably one of the best articles in web on this subject, however, there is a points on which I fail to agree with Jim.

In his article Jim has mentioned,

“As search users travel across linked pages, the search engines track how much time users spends on linked pages and the pathways they take when leaving a document.”

To my understanding, in order to track this information, Google or for that matter any search engine would need to track the visitor’s IP address and record the pages that are being accessed from that IP. They also need to record the time duration for which a particular website is being accessed in order to judge for how long a visitor is on that site.

They can do this only when they are installing a cookie or implementing some similar functioning technology that would track the activities on that particular machine and send that information to them.

If we consider that the search engines are implementing such a technology, aren’t they violating privacy rights ? are they allowed to track the user’s machine or IP address for that matter ?

I am pretty sure that most search engines claim that they do not violate the privacy rights and do not track activities on user’s PC without their consent.

Now, if we are to believe them, Jim’s comment in his article (as quoted above) does not hold water.

I have posted this question in one of the SEO forums, where most users have appreciated Jim’s article ( Jim is also a member in this forum and has visited the thread before) but till now I haven’t received any explanation about this from Jim or any other veteran members who have appreciated the articles. I also plan to mail the site that has published this article, in case I do, I will post the mail in this blog and if there is a reply from them.

In case any of you people feel that you have an explanation for this please feel free to shoot !

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This article has 2 responses

  • Lakhya Phukan
    13.03.2007 6:34 pm Reply

    Dunno about other search engines, but for Google do not forget Google analytics is there! 🙂

  • 14.03.2007 4:14 am Reply

    Well, Google analytics can definitely be a way to get user information.

    Also on further research, i found that when you download the Google Toolbar the terms and conditions include some phrases that allows them to capture your web activities. This is definitely one of the way by which Google is getting information on usage pattern.

    However,one of the facts to consider on this aspect is that not all website uses google analytics nor are all users using Google Toolbar. So the information they obtain through this sources are just representative data and not actuals. Do you think Google should use such partial represntation of user behaviour as a factor in their alogo ?