Why I Don't Use Google Analytics on This Website

This website is part of Amazon's Associates Program. If you look carefully, you'll notice that when this site links to Amazon.com, there is a parameter in the URL: ?tag=gcaf-20. That snippet tells Amazon that this site sent you to theirs.

I might receive a referral fee (at no extra expense to you) if you buy something. That's how this site makes money. But, this website makes zilch if you buy something and return it. 

You, the shopper, and I, the publisher, have a common incentive: for you to be happy with your purchases. That's why return rate is what I measure. I'll elaborate, but first, let me tell you about some things that I don't measure.

This site doesn't collect or store any personally identifiable information. I don't run Google Analytics because metrics like demographic, bounce rate, and time on site don't interest me. 

Advertisers care about your gender, age and income, but this site doesn't have advertisements. People who "bounce" from this website (i.e. leave after seeing only one page) may have found an interesting product and left the site to go buy it: That's a good thing! As for time on site, I built this site to quickly share information, but I don't begrudge readers who deliberate.

I'm interested in the percentage of people who visit this site, buy something as a result, and then return what they bought. It's a metric that tells me to be more critical and selective when I screen products. It's also a way to separate this website from the thousands of affiliate sites that only care about the volume of users they cookie.

Since Nov. 2018, this site's users have returned 1.6% of the products that they've bought from Amazon. Not bad. Amazon's return rate is rumored to sit between 5%-15%. During the holidays, e-commerce returns can hit 30%!

Nevertheless, my goal is to maintain a return rate of 1% or less. To reach that goal, I need to monitor what Amazon reviewers are saying about every product that appears on this site. To maintain it, I need to actively look for products that are better than the ones that I've already discovered. It can be tricky. I've found cases where there is only one product in an entire category that is worth mentioning, with caveats to boot (e.g. video doorbells and Atmos soundbars).

The process leaves little time or incentive to collect and analyze data on this website. In short, I don't know who you are. I don't particularly care what you buy. But, I do care deeply whether you're satisfied with what you bought.

John DeFeo