Community Governance Proposal - Fathom Analytics on Marketing Web Properties

[TLDR]
We will host a community vote to implement Fathom - Privacy Preserving Analytics on Status marketing website properties only (absolutely no in app analytics). The vote will take place Monday October 28 - Friday November 1 in the SNT Voting DApp. To participate in the vote, ensure you have SNT in your wallet prior to the beginning of the voting period.

Background

As a project with the mission of providing private and secure communication tools, Status made the conscious effort to remove analytics, tracking, and data collection across all owned properties – this includes the application and our websites.

With the impending launch of v1 coming up and a heavy increase in marketing, we should have some method of collecting analytics to monitor the success of our campaigns and to optimize our marketing strategies.

Tools such as Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel simply extract far too much data on users and require invasive cookie tracking - the exact things we are on a mission to remove.

I propose we implement a tool that does not collect ANY personal identifiable information and does not implement any cookie tracking whatsoever. I propose we implement a tool that provides high level insights to help monitor, measure, and optimize our marketing campaigns.

At the moment, we only have social data collected by the third party platforms that we use:

  • Overall engagement and impressions from social platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Youtube
  • On chain data collected via smart contracts on analytics.status.im
  • Engagement on forums such as reddit, discuss
  • Engagement and data collected by Github
  • Future: app installs from App Store and Playstore

Furthermore, these third party platforms collect far more on our audience than we ever would, yet this data is still being collected. To truly abstain from this, we would need to quit these platforms all together - which is not realistic.

Privacy Preserving Web Analytics

In order to measure the success of our campaigns, I propose we implement a tool called Fathom that only collects traffic data and does not collect any sort of PII.

“Fathom collects trends and insights, not personal details about specific website visitors. We offer simple traffic insights — Fathom gives you top pages, top referrers, bounce rate and average time people spend on your site. That’s it, all on a single screen”

In the future they are adding event data such as link/button clicks

How we will use it

  • Measuring unique visitors to web pages:
    • We can infer the effectiveness of PR campaigns, social campaigns, acquisition campaigns by timeboxing site info
  • All blog content content can be quantified for efficacy
    • Technical tutorial topics can be quantified to target most popular / searched
    • Documentation pages can be monitored to understand usage
    • Dev metrics such as “Time from Docs to Signup” etc. can be tracked
  • Monitoring link clicks over a period of time (“install”, “iOS”, “Android”, “APK”)
  • Measuring time spent on specific blog articles and click through rates (to determine successful vs unsuccessful content)
  • Infer more about our general audience through “top referers” without ANY personal info. Are more people coming from developers sites such as Github, Gitcoin, SD Times or Crypto sites such as BTCManager, CoinDesk?
  • We could even create incentive programs for content creators with custom campaign landing pages by measuring referral traffic from specific domains. Drive X amount of people to [Status.im/campaignid] and receive X SNT (no need to track conversion)

**Important to note - this will NEVER be used in app

We will implement a self hosted version, which Jakub already has a demo up and running. For those interested in testing the dashboard, please contact Jakub.

How Fathom does it

  • The data is collected by embedding an image(1x1 pixel probably) via a URL in the page
  • The image is downloaded from their servers(hosted on Heroku for autoscaling)
  • When request is made to their servers the process handling hashes and salts the data
  • Data in the scrambled form is then passed to their Redis clusters for storage
  • The only information stored are essentially paths, referrers, and timing of requests
  • They do not inject their own cookies and associated to users (which is what Google Analytics does with client id’s and user id’s)

This information is based on their own docs and a brief conversation with their team.

Pro’s:

  • Enable us to more effectively measure successful campaigns and content. Can become more KPI driven instead of sentiment driven.
  • Can enable us to infer audience interests and details without invasive data collection
  • Can incentivize acquisition campaigns from third parties
  • Can leverage tools and platforms such as Code Fund for driving traffic

Con’s:

  • Some can argue that it is in opposition of privacy to collect any information at all

Next Steps

  • Tuesday October 22: Community Governance Call to answer any questions people may have about the tool and our implementation of it
  • Monday October 28 - Friday November 1 - Community Vote in the SNT Voting DApp to determine next action
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Call is today at 4pm UTC at https://zoom.us/j/929765844

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Hey All,

Thanks to those who joined the call yesterday. As mentioned this process is experimental and we will evolve the mechanics for proposals as we learn. Once again, we discussed the following proposals:

  1. Implementing Fathom as privacy preserving analytics on our marketing websites
  2. Opening up Discord to public as a community communication channel

Recording of the discussion here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zyo1vH01Fc

The vote will kick off in the SNT Voting DApp next Monday October 28th @ 10:00am GMT and end Friday November 1st @ 17:00 GMT

Once again in the SNT Voting DApp, a person doesn’t spend her SNT when voting, but she needs to have it in her wallet at the start of the vote to get voting credits. She also needs to have ETH in order to pay for transaction fees (gas).

So remember to have some SNT in your wallet at the start of the vote. See you in the voting DApp next week

Looks like GitLab are introducing telemetry too, at least for their community version. Comments from Hacker News are pretty much what you’d expect…

Regardless of the reasoning for the decision, or the actual tech being used, I think writing an article like this to explain things to users helps a lot in building/maintaining trust.