Home Report: Google Analytics May Go Dark for Thousands of Sites (Updated)

Report: Google Analytics May Go Dark for Thousands of Sites (Updated)

Royal Pingdom, a site narrowly focused on tracking and providing solutions for server uptime-related issues, released a survey report today, claiming that a full 40% of top sites using Google Analytics are using a javascript tracking module (urchin.js) that might simply stop working later this year. According to the report, 50% of these top 10,000 sites use Google Analytics, and almost half of those are still using the old tracking code.

Google switched to the newer tracking code well over a year ago, and according to a Google consultant interviewed by Pingdom, the old code may be deactivated in the next few months. Although we could find no official announcement from Google on their ongoing plans to keep the older code functional, all the Google documentation indicated that switching (at least when it was announced a year ago) was optional.

The report also points out these advantages (from the Google help system) to switching to the newer javascript code:

  • Faster, smaller source file
  • Automatic detection of HTTPS
  • Increased namespace safety
  • More convenient set up for tracking ecommerce transactions
  • More customizable code for interactive Ajax-based sites
  • Enjoying new features and reports as they roll out

Examples of top-tier sites still using the old tracking code include Google properties Blogger and DoubleClick, along with Wired, FoxNews and IGN. Will these properties be given as long as they need to make the switch? We agree with the conclusion of the report, which states:

“When urchin.js is finally decommissioned, will thousands of sites be caught without working statistics? We’re guessing that Google won’t allow this to happen, but you never know.”

Perhaps it’s best to integrate the newer tracking code sooner rather than later.

Update:The Official Google Analytics Blog has a new post up today that definitively states that their urchin.js analytics script will not be decommissioned without clear advance warning first, and they in fact have no plans to do so for the immediate future. We appreciate the clarification, thanks Google!

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