KISSmetrics is a web analytics tool that businesses use to measure and analyze their web traffic. While many analytics platforms focus on high-level trends, KISSmetrics specializes in helping companies understand their web visitors on an individual level, or as their website asserts, “Google Analytics tells you what happened; KISSmetrics tells you who did it.”
How it works:
While other analytics services often focus on page views or button clicks, KISSmetrics tracks the activity of a user, even before they’ve signed up for a website. For example, if you visit a website using KISSmetrics services four times, but never sign up or purchase anything, KISSmetrics would still build an anonymous profile storing your activity. Let’s say on the fifth visit you sign up with the website’s service; KISSmetrics would combine the anonymous history with the new information you provided for a complete picture of who, how, and why you converted. The website can then analyze and learn from this data. And of course, they’ll continue to build on that profile as you continue to interact with their website and products.
Why might I care?
Because KISSmetrics tried to pull a fast one on consumers. In 2011, KISSmetrics got caught up in a lawsuit regarding some seriously shady tracking techniques: undeletable trackers called ETags. A class action lawsuit was brought against the company for using evasive tracking technology that recreated tracking cookies the user had deleted, that could continue to track users across the web. This helped KISSmetrics determine what the user was doing before and after they left the website. By respawning cookies that the user had explicitly deleted, the company got in trouble for unfairly monitoring users and ignoring privacy preferences.
Furthermore, privacy and security experts from UC Berkeley discovered elements in the tracking code that support the idea that KISSmetrics shared user profiles across multiple websites, despite the company claiming otherwise. The lawsuit was finally settled in December of 2012 with a big payout from KISSmetrics. KISSmetrics has since stopped using this evasive tracking technology, but we’re keeping our on eye on them.
Why might KISSmetrics benefit me?
There are pros and cons that come with companies knowing a lot about you, like different treatment. This treatment could be better than usual–like when a website gives you coupons to push you to buy something you’ve been considering for a while–or worse–like when you see more expensive ads for hotels and flights because you’ve searched for them previously. We think you should be able to choose whether companies get to collect your personal information.
Read more about some of the other trackers DNTMe is now blocking: