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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Privacy and Feedjit, Rant and Request (UPDATED)

I like blogging, I read and follow many blogs, I don't always agree with what all of these other blogs have to say, but that is OK, we all have our own opinions and it's perfectly wonderful that we are all able to freely write what we want to.

I do have issues though, something I have seen more and more on blogs is a little box called Feedjit, specifically their "Live Traffic Feed". I still remember the first time I saw this widget, I was shocked and appalled, it was a slap in the face. What was it that hit me so hard? Simple, the name of my town was emblazoned right there for EVERYONE to see, not just on my browser, but for each and every person who visited that blog after that until my location rolled off the bottom of the widget.

That is a huge issue for me, I live in a very small community, and I try my best to keep my location private. And yet, there it was, listed in this box along with the last 10 or so visitors to that site, complete with their town/city names and the website where they came from. My location is there for everyone to see until enough other people visit that site and my location rolls off the bottom.

I am not blaming the bloggers who use this, it is exciting to see your visitors and where they are coming from, heck even knowing their location is cool, but it's not cool to have your visitor's locations plastered on the front page, let's make it to where you have to at least click on something to get that information.

In this companies defense, very tiny defense though, they do allow you opt out and make THAT site ignore you, but damnit, the next site you visit that uses the Feedjit widget lists your town/city/location again, and you have to tell THAT site to ignore your browser, meanwhile the damage is done. If you clean out your cookies, then all of those sites you previously told to ignore your browser will list your location again until you tell it, again, to ignore your browser. On top of all of this, they don't make it all that easy to FIND the place on the widget to tell it to ignore your browser, you have to click on "options" at the very bottom of the widget, then and only then can you tell it to ignore your browser, AFTER THE FACT that your location is listed there for the whole world to see. This is beyond annoying, it an invasion of privacy and should not be allowed.

Yes, there are many different trackers out there, they use your IP address to figure out your location, I use a tracker on my blog, the difference is most of these other trackers do not post your location on the first page, you have to click through a few pages to get to the page that lists your location, it's not so invasive.

There is a simple fix, if Feedjit would only do it, they need to make it possible to click IGNORE once and only once and have it ignore your browser on ALL OTHER sites that use the Feedjit widget. I have contacted Feedjit via email and asked them about this, I did this a month ago, I told them that I would be writing an article on privacy invasion in the near future and would be writing about their product/service, it was up to them whether I wrote about their widget being an invasion of privacy or a thoughtful widget that protected the privacy of those who don't want to see their location plastered on a website just because they visited.

As of this date, I have received no response from them.

I tell you it's like a slap in the face, I don't appreciate it, I don't expect it, at least give us the illusion of privacy, at least give us the OPTION to opt out forever, not after the fact on each and every site that uses that widget.

Many of my readers are very private people, if you have run across this yourself, and are bothered by this, here is the email address for Feedjit, send them an email to tell them what you think about their widget, now be nice, rudeness gets your nowhere but deleted :) be sure to include a request for them to enable those who wish to OPT OUT from ALL Feedjit widgets, and NOT after the fact on each and every site that uses it.

support@feedjit.com

Here is their blog, I already posted a comment letting them know what I think, so if this bothers you, go to their blog and post a comment letting them know that you want your privacy back, allow us to opt out 100% of the time. They moderate the comments, I hope they have the balls to post my comment, even if they don't, they do have to read it before they delete it, let's give them more to read and think about. Before visiting their blog, be sure to read the bottom of this message first, you might want to "change your location" before going to their blog. ;-)

http://feedjit.com/blog/

For those of you who use the Feedjit widget on your blog, well, it's your blog and you can put what you want to on it, but I'm here to tell you that I will not be quick to return to your site, and I guarantee there are lots of other people who feel the same way, why take the chance of alienating your readers?

I'm posting this on my personal blog instead of on the other sites (below) what I write for, this is completely my idea and I don't want to cause any trouble for the other sites I write for just in case Feedjit decides to get nasty with me.

I sincerely hope that Feedjit gets it, they have a good product/service, they just need to take care of this one little, no make that huge problem/issue. There are lots of people who like seeing their location listed on a site where they visit, it makes them feel important, it makes them feel like a part of that blog, but there are many many people who don't want their location announced on a blog just because they visited there. Give us the OPTION to OPT OUT, permenantly, don't force me to have to do this on each and every site that happens to use Feedjit, and worse, make me do it AFTER THE FACT.

Here is Feedjit's website, http://feedjit.com/join/

Wanna see something really scary? Go here http://feedjit.com/ and you will see your town listed (scary if you live in a small community) with the most popular sites visited from your location, if you live in a small community, chances are those blogs listed there are mostly the ones that you visited. I did this and there is a trail of many of the blogs I read, it's no one elses business which blogs I have visited unless I CHOOSE to give out that information.

Let's give Feedjit a virtual spanking for this invasion of privacy and give them the chance to rectify their mistake.

What do you think about this? Do you feel like I'm right? Do you think I'm being too soft on them? Do you think I'm blowing this out of proportion? Let me know by leaving a comment here.

You know what I would like to see? If Feedjit chooses not change their ways, someone needs to come up with an add on for FireFox and IE to block Feedjit from working, I did a search for this sort of thing, usually I'm pretty good at finding things with search engines, but I couldn't find what I wanted, I did find other sites complaining about the privacy issue, if anyone finds something that will work to block Feedjit from working, please post a link in the comments. If I find anything, I'll be sure to post an update on this matter.


UPDATE

I found a "feature" on their widget where you can change your location, I figure that's the next best thing to do until Feedjit fixes their problem, so what town to choose? I did a search for "Odd town names" on Google, I found a treasure trove of names, I chose one that means the same thing as "f*ck", so now when I visit a site that uses this widget, at the top of the widget it says "Top Intercourse Blogs" that's all I'll say about my new location, just choose a town name that represents how you feel about Feedjit and put that in the box to change your location, this way each time you visit a new site that lists your location, it will not be your real location and just maybe, if you choose an interesting enough name, it will be making a statement until you can tell the widget on that site to ignore your browser.

http://feedjit.com/changeLocation/

Let me know your creative town names you chose, LMAO

Some of the town names I found that you can enter there:

intercourse
balls
goat neck
horsegall
flea
bug
buggytown
bush patch
kill devil hills
deadmans crossing
dead horse
deadmans corner
dies
ho
ho-ho-kus
stinking
hide-a-way acres
hide (lots of fodder there)
pusey (lots of slightly misspelled fodder there too)
dirtdauber
satans kingdom

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Wretha

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15 comments:

  1. Thank you so mush for your post. I had never heard of feedjit.

    To be honest I am quite slow with most things technical, the internet etc, so I feel I am one of those most easily targetted by such invasions.

    I will try and be more aware of the blogs I visit to try and notice these things.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wretha- I have satellite so sometimes I am shown to come from CO and other times a large city nearly 90 miles away.

    I don't like this option though, cause sometimes I use a blog with good links as a hub to go to the other links and the little feejit tells how long I have been there that I return etc.

    oh I tell ya Big Brother!

    By the way I loved all the progress you shared on the cabin! You guys are inspiring!
    Jennifer

    ReplyDelete
  3. Star Child, I think that most people are honest, and sadly too often, it can be easier to take advantage of that honesty. I just have to point out the blatant wrongs when I see them. I'm lookin' out for ya! :)

    Humble Wife Yeah, big bro in deed! I don't think they started out to be invasive, but it sure turned out that way.

    Thanks for the Bible, I finally got out to my mail box and found it there, thanks!!!

    Meadowlark Great location name! hehehehe

    ReplyDelete
  4. I like the town name "Earth" as in Earth, TX.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wretha, I LOVE your blog and your ability to help me see the other side of things. I am removing Feedjit from my blog at this very moment as your point is valid. I have instead created - for my viewing only - a private log of who/when/where, which is all I really wanted in the first place - to how many people stop by my blog. Visitors' locations are not important to me. Thanks again for a very informative bit of info.

    ReplyDelete
  6. LMAO Wretha!!!

    I'd heard about this widget before, but I guess I just never gave it much thought. We live in a big city, so it just never occured to me that folks from small towns would view it as an invasion of privacy. I get your point!

    I just HAD to join your bandwagon! I'm still chuckling about the whole mess! I tried to find a really good one, but ended up from Intercourse because it just seems so apprpriate! ;-)

    By the way, I've been reading this blog for about 6 months now and really enjoy it, although I must admit that I liked it a whole lot better when you were not associated with Off-Grid or EarthPowerNews. I just like the more personal/earthy nature of your posts prior to hooking up with those guys. I do still read your blog though cause I want to see what happens next for you and Bob! I wish you both the absolute best and you guys are a real inspiration to your readers!

    Thanks for sharing about feedjit.

    Renee

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you so much! I agree wholeheartedly that those web tracking gadgets such as feedjit should be ousted. Nothing gets me
    more frustrated and red cheeked than folks who feel it's such a deal to have those blasted buggers on their sites. Yes, I'm into my privacy and don't appreciate strangers walking into my back door so to speak.
    Argh..I'm still seething from a site I visited that has feedjit. I ran into this site in looking for a way to block these dastardly pesks.

    Again, thank you and blessings.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am quite mad about this program. I went to a friends site and THERE WAS MY HOME TOWN LISTED!!! Now if it was just my friend I wouldn't have an issue. But last year I had a stalker that was offering money for info about me on another site!!! This psycho stalker wanted my home town. How convenient now they have a program for all stalkers BUT NOTHING TO PROTECT US FROM THEM. I feel it is because they want to "police" the internet more til no one cares to be here. HATE FEEDJIT! Will never use it and I avoid sites with it.
    Empress Celena

    ReplyDelete
  9. A blog I like to read has suddenly installed Feedjit. I don't like it! Problem is, there is no 'Options' to click on to turn off the tracking. Where did they hide it? And I went in to change my location but whatever was done, it doesn't show up on the blog. It still shows my hometown!
    The only thing I was able to do was click on Feedjitlive and remove my IP address. But if I go back to the blog later, there I am again. Any suggestions?
    How annoying!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Wretha, personally feedjit's isclosure doesn't worry me too much, I am in Rio de Janeiro, even if you sort through. Sometimes I am plastered as being all over Brazil. I can appreciate anonymity, I like it too and can understand that it is more important if you live in SmallTown, USA. I have feedjit for statistical reasons, I like to see who and how often people visit and feedjit is one of the best at telling me that, that is free.

    AV

    ReplyDelete
  11. Yes, thanks for the fix. I've seen this on blogs I visit and have found it pretty offensive. I went to change my name but Feedjit says I have to have third party cookies enabled which I'm not inclined to do.

    I thought that the only way to track locations was by the IP address. Is that no longer true?

    sk.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you very much for the "Chang Location" link :) The widget is an invasion of privacy and I was NOT happy. Problem solved now for the most part.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Be sure to read the other articles I wrote about Feedjit, there's more

    http://wretha.blogspot.com/search/label/Feedjit

    ReplyDelete

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