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Why do you need this? Is it because you are paranoid of being tracked?

UTMs offer a transparent, honest way of tracking where a user is coming from. This is super important for any company that runs multiple channel marketing.

Making impossible for company to track their marketing effort doesn't protect your privacy. It just makes it tougher for companies to manage their marketing spending.

Marketing is not evil. It's how the world works. You need to market something to be able to sell it.

I feel there is a paranoia about being tracked and privacy, where anything that is somehow tracking, is evil and must be stopped.

UTMs parameters are absolutely harmless and stripping them away offer no privacy benefit whatsoever.

>Marketing is not evil. It's how the world works. You need to market something to be able to sell it.

Tracking of all kinds aren't inherently evil. If companies didn't abuse the various ways they tell us are "how the world works", then nobody would ever have needed tracking or ad blockers.

Reality is that no matter how often marketing departments tell us that marketing is vital to the future of the species, people are generally running pretty short on goodwill in these areas. The responsible actors, if there are any, are swimming in a poisoned pond.


Just to pile on a bit, folks who honestly believe in this line of thought should embrace that cliche about marketing being a conversation.

Think about how you reacted to the last intrusive, nosey person you had to deal with. "No, I don't discuss my sex life or my wallet with someone I met in line at the coffee shop."

I totally understand that metrics are needed to evaluate your plans. Problem is, there is a gradient of behavior your team as a whole gets up to, you don't like to talk about the things you do, and the far end of that gradient is some really smelly, nasty behavior.

So in turn, my problem is I'd be fine with a certain degree of tracking, but I don't know exactly where the bad behavior starts. Once data leaks, it doesn't go away. So all of my decent moves involve overshooting and suppressing tracking I'd be OK with, just to be sure.

I don't know a way out of this trap, sorry.

Getting back to marketing-as-conversation, remember the rebellion over ad-popups? Yeah, that was a big moment of going so far the browser makers slapped you down. We heard all the same wailing, and yet somehow civilization survived. I'm pretty sure you can survive me refusing to allow you canvas-fingerprinting, or unlimited rights to run JS on my machine. Or even Urchin-tag-strippers.

>I don't know a way out of this trap, sorry.

I don't think there is one, personally. All the goodwill is gone, and that's extremely difficult to get back.

I think what's important at this stage is that we pay attention to what has happened, with users completely losing trust and faith in advertising, marketing, tracking - heck, even _diagnostic analytics_ - and recognise what caused this.

Then, maybe, we can try and avoid it in future.

Alternatively: Move everything to locked down mobile platforms and keep driving straight towards the latest stage capitalism we can see, and just keep finding new ways to keep users locked in to a platform they despise more and more until something _snaps_ - but that'd be tomorrow's problem, right?

Rather than popups or popunders, ad companies just open a new tab for their ad. It's the same thing and pays the same. Civilization survived because nothing changed.

I'm not sure we are browsing the same web. On firefox with ublock I only see pages open in response to explicit actions like clicking on a link. Popups of the style seen in the 90s just aren't a thing anymore for me.

This one strips more tracking tags and you can use your own list in configuration: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/neat-url/

"utm_source, utm_medium, utm_term, utm_content, utm_campaign, utm_reader, utm_place, utm_userid, utm_cid, utm_name, utm_pubreferrer, utm_swu, utm_viz_id, ga_source, ga_medium, ga_term, ga_content, ga_campaign, ga_place, yclid, _openstat, fb_action_ids, fb_action_types, fb_ref, fb_source, action_object_map, action_type_map, action_ref_map, gs_l, pd_rd_r@amazon., pd_rd_w@amazon., pd_rd_wg@amazon., _encoding@amazon., psc@amazon., ved@google., ei@google., sei@google., gws_rd@google., cvid@bing.com, form@bing.com, sk@bing.com, sp@bing.com, sc@bing.com, qs@bing.com, pq@bing.com, feature@youtube.com, gclid@youtube.com, kw@youtube.com, $/ref@amazon., _hsenc, mkt_tok, hmb_campaign, hmb_medium, hmb_source"

Regarding overshooting, try with this: https://adnauseam.io/

"As online advertising becomes ever more ubiquitous and unsanctioned, AdNauseam works to complete the cycle by automating Ad clicks universally and blindly on behalf of its users. Built atop uBlock Origin, AdNauseam quietly clicks on every blocked ad, registering a visit on ad networks' databases. As the collected data gathered shows an omnivorous click-stream, user tracking, targeting and surveillance become futile."

Missing, among possibly others, coremetrics tracking tags (cm_mmc)

Also gclid and dclid. Not that I think this is a great idea.


also missing google analytics cross-domain parameter _ga=xxxx

I'm not the one selling something. Maybe you need marketing, but I don't.

On the other hand, if I'm actively trying to buy something, then I'll appreciate you telling me what you're selling.

If I'm in a bike shop, it's because I want to buy a bike. The shop doesn't need to know where I was earlier. If you as a seller want to know more about your (potential) customers, maybe… ask them?

Marketing is evil.

It is lying on a massive scale.

If I want something I’ m go to look for it not the other way around.

If you track me I will dispise you and will root you out. Sort of /r

> Marketing is evil. ... It is lying on a massive scale.

"Marketing" spans a very large area of activity. At one end, it's the signage in front of a store, or even on the door, that tells you what the place is.

You probably aren't trying to insinuate that store signage (or the online equivalent, a domain name), is evil, but that's essentially what you're saying by being so broad. That doesn't help the argument, doesn't help you, and doesn't result in useful discussion, so it's probably worth being a bit more concise.

Marketing isn't _intrinsically_ evil. If you buy widget A from FooCorp, but wish it had some piece of functionality it didn't and make a post on their feature request tracker saying you wished it had that functionality and then, upon the release of widget B they email you telling you they've released that and it does that thing you wanted, then that's a) marketing, and b) not evil.

Not only is it not evil, it's a targeted ad! You were _tracked_ to produce that ad!

In reality, that isn't how a good 90% of marketing really works. Instead, you got an unsolicited letter about widget 1 from a different company who bought your data from FooCorp, and widget 1 doesn't even do what you want, and because you don't buy it they sell your data to even more unscrupulous companies to get some return from their purchase.

I think it's important to recognise, though, that this didn't happen because marketing is evil. If everybody had just stuck to ethical forms of marketing then everyone would be better off, and we wouldn't need extensions like this which do screw things up for the people trying to be ethical.

It's just like ads: You can do ads well, and we _didn't_, and now good ads need to be thrown in the trash alongside everything else. The next thing we try and do we should _remember_ these common stories, and maybe next time we can be a bit more ethical and not poison our own well.

I suppose it depends on your definition of intrinsic. Marketing is certainly ubiquitously evil because the people that produce it are strongly incentivized to con you, and there are no penalties for doing so.

That depends on the business selling the items. If they are stable, known and looking for any sort of repeat business, they are strongly incentivized to not con you, at least not in a way that leaves you upset with them later (if they trick you into buying something you like, I doubt that generally has negative consequences for them regardless of those other factors).

There's a big difference between the random online e-shop and the downtown storefront, or even big names like McDonalds. Many places are only successful because they've established a good, or at least reliable, reputation and people know what to expect.

> If I want something I’ m go to look for it not the other way around.

And how are you going to find it? And how will you know that it's the right solution to what you need? And how will you compare it against other alternatives?

Marketing is about all these things--not just advertising.

>And how will you know that it's the right solution to what you need? And how will you compare it against other alternatives?

Since when has marketing EVER given you an honest outlook of these two questions? If you listen to the marketing of a product or service and make your judgement solely on that, then I have a bridge to sell

Do you get angry at small brick-and-mortar businesses that print their logos on their walls/windows so you can quickly identify them as well? What if they have small signs on the sidewalk listing their specials so you know what they offer? Or if they give you brochures with information about their company and what products they offer? Are you saying you'd rather them not do all that, and tediously go around window shopping for yourself, or force independent 3rd parties to go around cataloging everything just so you know what the options are for whatever it is you're shopping for? Because all of those conveniences businesses currently provide count as marketing.

I'm no fan of invasive tracking or obnoxious sales techniques either, but marketing does serve an objectively useful purpose, as any small business owner will tell you. Demanding to do away with it entirely is just throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

If a mom and pop shop paid someone to follow me around all day and suggest their products/services for every little thing, and constantly remind me that they exist and what they do, and even recruit other mom and pop shops to do the same and share the info about where I was, I would ABSOLUTELY hate them.

I'm not asking independent third parties to do anything. I'm asking companies to let me do what a Free market is supposed to let me do: Let me make my own educated choices about what I purchase/use, untarnished by psychological tricks and manipulation and tracking.

The free market is also supposed to let businesses do just about anything legal they want to get more customers. So basically kinda like how it is now already. And just as you would expect in a free market, the consumers are reacting to these business practices with ad/tracking blockers.

I'm not defending shady tactics here, I'm being realistic about the functionality marketing provides despite the bad stuff. I get the annoyance, but there's no need to be calling all of marketing "evil" when the free market seems to still be working as it should. When a critical mass of consumers begin blocking all tracking utilities, businesses are going be forced to innovate around it one way or another anyway, and you'll get what you want. It may take a while for that to happen, but that's not a reason to be angry at marketing as a whole. Just continue voting with your wallet (or browser extensions in this case).

EDIT: really, downvotes? I don't even think we disagree, but whatever man. I wish I could be surprised at HN downvoting people trying to be calm and rational instead of emotional and hyperbolic, but that's just cliche at this point. I try to avoid commenting on controversial topics for this reason, but I guess I'll have to add "marketing" to my blacklist of topics as well now.

FYI - HN does not allow users to downvote direct replies their posts. So it's not the person you're responding to who downvoted.

All three of your questions can be answered by either using my own judgement, or reaching out to people more familiar with what I'm trying to accomplish with the product/purchase.

I'd trust a mechanic's opinion on what tools to buy much more than a tool company marketing department. I'd expect this type of thinking (being sceptical of "marketing") is pretty much common sense these days.

How will that mechanic learn about the options?

Can you really not imagine any way to learn about things existing without some marketing department telling you so, or do you just want me to say that not all marketing is bad or unnecessary, which I have no problem doing.

Well, the only entity who knows about a product's existence is the product creator. Without them marketing it (organic or otherwise) nobody else would ever know.

>It is lying on a massive scale.

What is marketing? Your local farmer's co-op overproduced corn and is having a sale, they want everyone to know.

How do they tell you? Run an ad! But ads are marketing. This means they are lying?

Your perception of marketing seems really narrow and confused.

You're cherry-picking examples here. The "local farmer's co-op" is not a good representation of the advertising industry in general, and not likely to be very interested in utm tracking like that discussed in this thread.

Using "evil" like the upstream comments is a bit strong imo, but it's certainly not known for being a particularly "honest" industry.

The upstream comment said marketing is evil - a broad ranging statement. The comment you're responding to picked an example of marketing - not an unusual instance, just a common example of the thing the parent called evil. This seems like a reasonable response.

"Everyone passed the test" is generally understood, in the context of a classroom, to mean "the members of the salient set [students in class] passed the test".

Saying "marketing is evil" in the context of a comment thread about GA stripping, replying to someone defending a specific brand of tracking-marketing, can reasonably be taken to refer to that variety of marketing: the contextually salient variety of marketing, which this submission and the current thread are about.

this is the motte and bailey argument technique: https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Motte_and_bailey

Interesting in this case that you could maybe apply it to both situations:

Motte 1: Marketing is valuable and helps people spread information. Bailey 1: Tracking your every move against your will is fine and also profitable.

Motte 2: Tracking my every move is unacceptable and evil. Bailey 2: All marketing - even writing a blog post or website copy about products or approaches to problem solving - is inherently evil.

I don't know which you were referring to, and I kind of like it this way.

'Everyone' in a classroom meaning 'everyone in the class' is reasonable.

'marketing is evil' meaning 'tracking based retargeting is evil' is not.

You can feel that way if you want, but moving the goalposts when OP was talking about tracking tokens and cookies so that you can interpret their responder as being opposed to eg graphic design on webpages or post-conference conversations is dishonest in my mind. The kinds of 'marketing' you would try to defend are probably not the kinds of things they were calling evil.

You can feel that interpreting

> 'marketing is evil'


> 'marketing, in general, is evil'

is "moving the goalposts".

But I'd suggest you're putting a spin of your own on things here.

Well, what did GP say? It was a post entirely devoted to tracking-related modern marketing techniques. This post was a comment on a link entirely about defeating tracking-related modern marketing techniques. I'm not saying you're being intentionally disingenuous, just that my initial understanding of their post was apparently quite different from yours.

Maybe that's worth reflecting on? To me, it seemed pretty straightforward that they were referring to marketing as it was being referred to in the post, comments, and link that we're ostensibly discussing.

Sure, but if I wanted to make the point that tracking is evil, I'd say that. Obviously (due to the other reply that interpreted 'marketing as evil' as meaning exactly that) I'm not alone.

>not likely to be very interested in utm tracking like that discussed in this thread.

I am a digital advertiser that works direct with large and small clients. I use UTMs on every ad campaign I run.

Everything we do to hurt these big companies in online advertising also hurts the small ones. They all use the same technologies.

This is so disingenuous. It’s like comparing an organic family farm to stuff like industrial hog production[1]. At some point a difference in scale becomes a difference in kind. For example - no farming coop in the world employs psychologists to help them better manipulate human weaknesses[2].

[1] https://boingboing.net/2007/01/20/big-factory-pig-farm.html

[2] http://www.psychologist-license.com/articles/marketing-psych...

The comment you're replying to was, in turn, replying to a comment with the blanket statement that all marketing is evil, with no further explanation. Why do you say it's disingenuous?

You added 'all' — he didn't say that. It was a generalisation, but not a universal statement.

And there was further explanation.

Many marketing people want to pretend the vast majority of ads are pure statements of factual information like that, when the vast majority of ads are about targeted surveylance, manipulation, factual misrepresentation, omission, or just outright lying and trying to make people feel inadequate so they buy some crap, especially online.

I wasn't aware anyone from the marketing department of any company was putting a gun to my head. Power of the purse. Don't like it. Don't buy it.

It's easy to decide how to vote with your wallet when the marketing efforts are visible and aboveboard.

Not so easy when it's a company selling their CRM DB to another company with no notice and no recourse. Or the spammers and call spoofers and... and...

Do we stop buying everything everywhere until backdoor data brokers are all revealed and shut down? All the tracking shops too? How do we get control of the rest of the iceberg?

I don't think that's the point. Sure you can vote with your wallet, but it is still pretty annoying to have an insurance salesperson or a telemarketer make an irrelevant sales pitch to you every few minutes.

While targetted ads should technically alleviate this annoyance, in reality it doesn't really work as well as advertised (pardon the pun).

"makes it tougher for companies to manage their marketing spending" ok but... so what? It's absolutely not my responsibility to make it easy for companies to manage their marketing spending. If companies don't like how difficult it is to track or manage their marketing spending, I, for one, won't be losing sleep over their hardship.

> Marketing is not evil.

This may be true in theory, but in practice countless examples are showing us—in news story after news story about company behaviours—that this is just not true in practice. Which is what counts.

If you can come up with a way to regulate and/or discern those doing "evil" marketing from those doing benign marketing, please do. Until then, unless we can discern, marketing is effectively "evil".

Oh, the industry as it stands is absolutely evil. Marketing isn't inherently evil, but this instantion is.

Also, it's not "paranoia" when you are being tracked. And while there's not much you can do, there's no reason to not do little things you can.

>stripping them away offer no privacy benefit whatsoever.

If marketing company derive value off of tracking a user then yes there clearly is a privacy value of stripping UTM from a url. You needn't be that creative to think of an example.

client: "Hi I'd like to see what sort of flights you have available."

"Hmm ok I see that you're linked to us from WealthyPeople.com, guess I'll mark up your ticket price"

There are certainly are markets that open up when users allow themselves to be tracked but allowing users to consent to being surveilled is a fundamental right.

The right to privacy is the right to be left alone.

> It just makes it tougher for companies to manage their marketing spending.

Frankly, that's not my problem. I don't know what they're tracking and why, but I'll err on the side of not being tracked, however harmless it may appear.

You know, I tried politely setting Do-Not-Track in my headers to express my preferences. The marketers and publishers laughed and ignored my expressed preferences. So now all I can do is fight back any way I know how.

What I really want is an extension that somehow corrupts the UTM data so that the trackers have bad data.

Hm, I could supply a list of utm parameters observed in the wild. Then you could substitute a randomly picked but valid set of parameters...

The only problem with that is that they'd have no idea the data would be bad. Even if they did, there's nothing stopping the marketers from taking the bad data as proof one or the other campaign was actually working.

I'm OK with both of those "problems".

If I buy a product and they ask where I heard about it, I make a decision whether I want to tell them or not and if not, I will tell them nothing or if they insist on something, a lie.

These parameters make the choice for me. They have no benefit for me but block my right to determine what I want to give away.

You do not have a right to track me. As for these parameters being harmless to my privacy, I will be the judge of that. In my opinion everything that allows you to see something about me harms my privacy, so not allowing you to see it benefits my privacy. It’s just a matter of how much I allow you to harm my privacy.

Podcasts are great at this. Sponsors create podcast-specific URLs which are advertised on the show. It's completely up to the listeners, and I find I'm happy to support my favorite podcasts by telling the sponsors where I heard about them by visiting the custom landing pages.

Podcasting's zero-telemetry "just an audio file" nature makes the ads feel harmless too. Podcasts are an anachronism, but they're way less user-hostile than the web.

Because the user experience sucks. I hate copying a URL and have a bunch of meaningless garbage included in wherever I paste it, as happens with pages that leaves UTM artifacts in the query string.

I don't care at all about the tracking aspect of removing UTM, I care about how it makes the internet shittier to use.

Exactly. But not just when copying a URL. Short, simple URLs look nicer and feel better. This is basic web design, but somewhere along the line we've allowed salesy/marketing nonsense to infest our web.

This spells out the issues really well (with a funny video) https://wistia.com/blog/fresh-url The suggested solution on there "Fresh URL" is interesting, although it's throwing more javascript at the problem.

"This is super important for any company that runs multiple channel marketing."

World's tiniest violin, dude.

Do you have a job that pays you with funds generated by marketed goods and services?

Yes, as a matter fact I do. I work for an ISP and we don't track shit except whether you paid your bill or not.

Irrelevant. That's like asking why someone is moving a tiny car around a board while playing monopoly just because they had suggested poker for games night.

Someone can prefer the world be a different way while still participating in it as is.

Sure! But that's neither here nor there.

1) I don't have a choice, since everyone does it; 2) many types of marketing are just fine; 3) if everyone stopped doing this kind of tracking, it's not like the businesses would fail.

Would employees still get paid if their company didn't sell their information, or buy others'?

Unethical marketing behavior is never going to be the make or break point for a company, it's just plain greed showing through.

In my case: no privacy paranoia (I just assume everything is being tracked and there's very little I can do about it).

I just hate

a) having ugly URLs

b) having to manually edit the URLS before copy/pasting them somewhere else.

Many sites nowadays actually have thoughtfully designed URL schemes. But then there's so often this GA crap that destroys the esthetics.

As an example, the URL that triggered me to go find this particular extension was:


(hex chars randomly manipulated for paranoid reasons, hehe.)

Nobody felt the need to justify tracking the personal information of billions of people for their own benefits. Nobody asked if we were OK with it; they just did it. Nobody offered us any compensation for this supposedly valuable data they were gathering about us and our daily lives. Nobody offered us so much as an explanation or made any effort at being transparent about data gathering; they just put up a cryptic terms of service document at the footer of the page that say "we reserve the right to collect this data because reasons". If people hadn't become "paranoid" about user tracking, we wouldn't even have found out about how extensive it is and how much companies share with governments in the first place.

So why do we have to justify anything to corporations? Why should we care if they lose some millions marketing to the wrong people? Not our problem. Honestly, it's the company's own fault for trusting user input so blindly. Tracking users is not a right, it is a privilege and it can be revoked.

(Modern) Advertising is a fundamental betrayal of human trust. Anything to hinder it is a step in the right direction, imo

I don't "owe" a business I interact with "clean" data on how well their marketing campaigns are working.

The extent of my obligation to J. Random Web Business, vis à vis my interactions with them, is to give them their asking price in exchange for their product or service offerings which I consume.

The tool at the hardware store should cost $30 no matter how badly I need it. Capitalism doesn’t agree with this but Society does. It’s considered predatory to use “too much data” when negotiating with a customer. This is literally a movie trope.

Ad absurdum: imagine if a restaurant could charge you more for food if they knew how hungry you were, or how badly you needed to go to the bathroom. This is not information they need to possess.

I never consented to being tracked, and it provides me no benefits whatsoever. The number of times I’ve made a purchase based on internet advertising can be counted on one hand—probably on a hand without any fingers.

I don’t give a damn if stripping garbage out of urls makes it harder for a company to track me. Why should I?

I strip these when manually sharing a URL for the sake of readability.

I do the same thing, I would actually like a browser extension that strips the UTM code from my clipboard or from any sharing dialogue box. Sometimes this interferes (I have no idea why?) with link previews on social media, which is highly annoying.

There's a whole slew of arguments that could be made here, but let's keep it simple: Providing anyone with information about me should be a voluntary act. If I choose not to do so, it is none of your or anyone else's business why I do not want to.

This choice is not available in the case of UTM's, at least not in a transparent way that doesn't involve manually stripping them from every URL you click (which is sensitive to user error).

I understand that most people on hackernews sees advertising as something important and that the world would be a worse place without it. But not everyone are able to cope with the modern overload of information competing with our attention so you will have to excuse me for blocking out everything not needed.

Its not all about privacy and conspiracy, some of us are just trying to avoid burnout.

>But not everyone are able to cope with the modern overload of information competing with our attention so you will have to excuse me for blocking out everything not needed

I'm not sure how UTM Tags contribute to the modern overload of information competing for your attention.

Im sure you realize that the tags are used for ads sooner or later.

> ...some of us are just trying to avoid burnout.

... from UTM tags?

Marketing worked without this kind of tracking for the entire 20th century.


Reddit immediately redirects to hide these parameters. Definitely not transparent.

Transparent would be: you're aware about the tracking before it can happen

>Marketing is not evil. It's how the world works. You need to market something to be able to sell it.

I can request information about products that I might be interested in. The nice thing about this is that I can request it from a source that I consider to be objective, in the context of alternatives.

Moreover, I think you would probably consider it evil if a tech review service were receiving money under the table from say, Intel, to say that their products were better than their competition. Why should I be forced to allow Intel to make those claims directly through injected javascript or whatever?

Advertising from the source is intrinsically dishonest.

The fact this elicits such a strong response is proof that it's needed.

According to Github the author is affiliated with Pinterest.

Perhaps he or Pinterest has a need for this.

Outside of the browser, I routinely work with urls in bulk and strip them of unnecessary cruft to make them as short as possible and thus easier for me to store and manage. Cruft attached to urls for tracking purposes serves me no purpose and makes for longer urls and potentially more special characters like ampersands to worry about escaping or encoding. This add-on cruft is not necessary to retrieve the resource identified by the url.

> UTMs offer a transparent, honest way of tracking where a user is coming from.

Thank you for the offer, but I need no tracking of my movements.

> Marketing is not evil.

It is evil. Every time I search for info, I need to filter out all the marketing bullshit from google results. All marketing is a lie or at least a manipulation with one goal to make me buy something that I wouldn't buy otherwise.

So I will do all I can to make life of marketers harder. I just hate them for all their informational white noise in the Internet.

> Making impossible for company to track their marketing effort doesn't protect your privacy.

Yes it does.

I read an article a while ago about some scientist who decided that he wanted to go around investigating a certain species of leech that lives inside a hippo's butt, like attached directly to the colon. He suggested that, as big as the hippo is, it probably wasn't really all that aware that the leeches are even in its butt, but that's where the leech likes to be because there's a good source of blood there for the leech to feed on.

Now, the scientist is probably right, the hippo probably goes its whole life not really knowing that it has all these leeches in its butt. It might feel a little pain in the butt, but the hippo probably isn't concerned with why that pain is there, much less how or even if it can get rid of it, it's just something that the hippo has always lived with. The hippo accepts that one of the facts of daily life is that you just need to live with some pain in your butt.

Now, imagine (and believe me, this is a hypothetical), if the hippo let someone root around inside its butt and remove every one of the leeches, and even stop any others from attaching. It might take a day or two to get used to and get back to normal, but the hippo would wake up one day and realize that it no longer has a pain in its butt. It can still do everything it used to do, it can frolic in the water, it can roam around and find the tender little pieces of grass, it can do that thing where it poops and swishes its tail around to spread it all over its neighbors, and it realizes that it can do all of those things it likes without having that pain in its butt.

Now, maybe the leeches could talk. Maybe the leeches talk to the hippos and they say things like, listen, hippo, my life cycle depends on you letting me get into your butt when you're in the water. I need to drink your blood and drop out some eggs, so that other leeches can be born and start the cycle all over again. It's not really a big price you pay, I mean sure, there's a little pain in your butt, but I need you to do this. If you want to get in the water, it's just something you have to deal with. It's the price of admission. If you get in the water without letting me in your butt, it's like you're stealing the water.

I bet that the hippo would hear that, and would still want to continue going about its day without any pain in its butt. I don't think the hippo would feel very sorry for the butt leech. Sure, maybe the butt leech contributes to the aquatic ecosystem, maybe its eggs or the dead leeches get eaten by other things and fertilize the grass that the hippo likes to eat. But, if the leeches weren't there, the grass would just find other nutrients. Even though the leech is trying to argue that it's a necessary part of this ecosystem, it's actually just a pain in the butt. In reality, despite what it tells everyone else, the major beneficiary of anything that the butt leech does is the actual butt leech.

Anyway, I just had a thought that advertisers kind of sound like hippo butt leeches.


When I read something like this, it makes me wonder if the marketing industry has some sort of "branding" problem. Maybe they could get some real experts to work on that?

Marketing isn't evil, the marketing industry is.

Seconded - marketing that sticks to "how can we put the most compelling description of <product> on our own site so that it is easily searchable" is absolutely cool.

It's the other 99% that tries to suck all the information they can out of anyone they come in contact with, they need to go.

Pay me for my information. That's how the world works- no free lunches. But apparently there are.

How did poor advertisers manage when advertising was on TV and billboards and couldn’t be tracked?

How did poor advertisers manage when advertising was hiring hawkers to stand on street corners and holler out the ad messages?

Bill Hicks does a good job of explaining my thoughts on the matter:


But on a more serious note, while I somewhat agree that not all marketing is evil, some absolutely is. I do not consider the marketing that cigarette companies did to knowingly hook kids on an addictive, cancer causing substance a good thing; I find it rather evil. Since it can be used for evil, I would rather make it as difficult as possible for them to use it against me. It might be a mostly pointless exercise, but it makes me feel better about it.

Even Bill Hicks relied on marketing to advertise his shows.

Once again someone fails to separate passive marketing that provides knowledge about a product and allows customers to decide, from active marketing that seeks to manipulate and deceive.

Was he tracking all of his fans?

Let's see. 1. They get my browser transmitted information as corollary to my browsing habits which they then resell, pester me with, and analyze in order to create a dialectic which is flawed, impersonal and does not necessarily profit me. 2. Ergo: since when should I care about a random companies spend when they (indirectly) determine what I am spending in the first place? 3. If you really believe that tracking and an open society are good things make them available to all and offer them to everyone. I predict that will go badly. Self interest being what it is whether corporate or individual.

How does making company impossible to track me not protecting my privacy?

And I think there is a cognitive gap in your argument: I am a user, I am not a company, I am not trying to sell anything to anyone. So why should I be empathic towards marketing? Ads, marketing and tracking does zero, if not negative, good to me. And that is why I will have ad blockers enabled at all time.

> Marketing is not evil

Whether it's evil or not doesn't concern me. I just really don't like them.

> UTMs parameters are absolutely harmless and stripping them away offer no privacy benefit whatsoever.

Again, care to explain why is there not privacy benefit?

Honestly, I don't care. I just don't trust that companies won't covertly use them for tracking.

I don't plan on using this extension, though, because I block all of the Google Analytics javascript files.

In that case, they can parse the data from the referrer logs.

I don’t care about their marketing campaigns. I consider marketing inherently harmful, as it uses up resources that would have been spent on improving the actual product.

I'll pour one out for the poor marketing companies.

This is super important for any company that runs multiple channel marketing.

It is totally not important to me or anyone I want to give a URL to.

Exactly, stripping UTM just screws with the results of (often small) businesses using google analytics trying to figure what campaigns/content efforts work.

GA does not provide any individually identifiable info to its users.

Stripping the params does not prevent google from tracking you internally.

So I am not sure what this is trying to accomplish.

I don't want to participate in your multiple channel marketing, thank you very much.

UTMs are aesthetically unpleasing to me and that's all the reason I need to get rid of them.

I don't see what the sentence "its how the world works" has to do with "marketing is not evil". At least not for your argument.

The paranoia comes from the lack of transparency and "Informed Consent" about tracking.

It is not harmless. As far I am concerned, it is no problem if you track it with your own analytics like piwik. For that part I don't care (unless you are having urls like aliexpress). But giving those information to 3rd party is something else.

This issue will get worse... As people choose to remove transparent forms of tracking... utm parameters, cookies, etc... we find "better" ways that aren't as obvious. Really it's a choice... we can have clear tracking or we can have hidden tracking... blanket blocking is going to lead to a much harder to block and aware form of tracking. As the saying goes... "be careful what you wish for"

That reads like "we are going to do this somehow, we refuse to give up and we don't give a rat's ass how shitty we have to be to accomplish our goals"

That makes it an absolute priority to cut "you" off at the knees and make your goal impossible, as you have just told us you are scum and need to be cleansed from the world.

Prove otherwise and we can consider allowing you back in the pool with the people who know how to respect others.

Alternatively we could just regulate matters until the only way for them to make money is to stand in front of a frier and make french fries.

Acting like this is a losing battle makes such a foregone conclusion. Marketing is like 0.0001% of the population its ok for the rest of us to disagree and regulate them to the degree required to ensure our continued wellbeing even if this means regulating them virtually out of existence.


In the united states we hold that people have a right to exist and a right to freely express themselves. Even express yourself like you are right now.

However both commercial speech and collection of personal data may be subject to both regulation and technical limitation without raising a constitutional question unlike you know killing people with inconvenient ideas.

Your industry is odious and if 90% of it dies not much will be lost. You don't have a right to make a living in a certain fashion if the way you make a living is detrimental to the rest of us.

Even if I'm the 0.000000013% I and people like myself who don't work in marketing are the 99.999% Our well being matters more than your paycheck.

Personal data collection has a good chance to effect millions negatively in the coming years and I can't imagine why we who stand to lose wouldn't regard people like yourself as the enemy.

If you don't like making french fries apply whatever useful skills you possess to good ends elsewhere.

So your idea is to enter a technological arms race with the people who physically control the machine your tracking code is going to run on? This approach isn't working very well for the people trying to fight ad blockers.

We already have tons of hidden tracking and fingerprinting. It’s never enough is it?

We already have hidden tracking, another reason to blanket block everything.

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