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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Should I share my data with Google?

Originally submitted by: StephRawson

Question #1: Is there a good reason to share your Google Analytics data with Google?

First of all, if anyone is interested in changing their data sharing preferences, one can do so by following the following steps:
  1. Log in to Google Analytics
  2. Click "edit account settings" at the top of the page just to the right of the shop name
  3. Choose the options desired
If you choose to share anonymously with Google it means they will remove any information that identifies you or your website and then combine your data with the rest of their anonymous data. If you decide to share your data and then at a later date opt out of sharing, be aware that your shared data will not be removed.

There are two main reasons that people choose to share their data. The first is that it helps Google to make better software. If they have access to your data they can evaluate how you use their software to advance your store, which will help them to continually improve the software.
The second reason to share your data is to gain access to new and upcoming features within Google Analytics. If you share your data you have access to Benchmarking (I will have an article about this soon) and better service on Adwords, a pay-service that Google offers.

So, why shouldn't you share your data? If you were a big company, I would say to prevent your competitors from finding out all of your secrets. For Etsy stores, there really is no drawback unless you feel very strongly about keeping your data private. If you choose not to share any of your data, don't worry; this will not in any way effect your websites ranking on Google.

I personally choose to share my data. I am all about making software better and I think this is a good way to let Google know how my store is doing. Additionally, if my store does eventually take off I would be interested in using their Adwords program. If you feel somewhere in the middle about all of this I would recommend sharing your data anonyously, which will still help Google Analytics to improve but without associating your store with any data that Google obtains.

Don't understand something I wrote about? Have a related question? Post a comment and I will be sure to answer it. Have an unrelated question? E-mail me, and I will feature it on my blog!


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