We felt jealous, when we found out few months back that the commenting system of Titus Brown’s blog looked prettier than ours. Not any more :) Disqus, the popular commenting system, decided to abuse its user-base by placing confusing ads, which look exactly like the original blog links.
Looking at the site earlier today I suddenly noticed a couple of links to sites that I would never ever think of endorsing through my blog.
A what is this link explained that this was disqus way to thank me for using their comment system, a chunk of my webpage in between the comments section and the article body was claimed in order to attend visitors to my website to interesting content which they claim I recommend. I do no such thing.
Here is what it looked like:
The decision made many users unhappy, but whether they will switch their commenting systems or take abuse remains to be seen. When Facebook did not seem trustworthy, we immediately closed our Facebook account. That is why you do not see a Facebook link on the sidebar any more. It was lot of pain to quit, because Facebook kept started showing picture after picture of friends, and asked us whether we would really like to leave them. Geez !!
One company we have been very distrustful of from day one is Google. Many blogs and websites use Google Analytics (GA) to track their website performance, but we always decided to stay away from Google. It is too easy to select GA for a personal website, because Google makes whole lot of tools freely available for anyone who uses GA. However, the idea of sending information on who is reading our blog to an outside company that we do not trust scared us enough to not choose that easy option. We use a self-installed piwik analytics program and hopefully avoid any outside online monitoring.
Today we read few commentaries about Google in our favorite alternate blog, which confirmed out suspicion (also check Brennan’s Saudi Drone Base: Censorship, Assassinations, More Terrorists). Nakedcapitalism blog suggested using duckduckgo search engine instead of Google to avoid being extensively monitored for all online activities. We have not tried Duck Duck Go yet, but we avoid Google’s free browser like plague.