DRSC Media testing alternatives to Google Analytics, reduction in advertisement

DRSC Media, 2017

Due to the increasing negativity surrounding Google, we’ve decided to accelerate our plans and start trialling alternatives to Google Analytics.

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A month ago, we published an article titled “DRSC Media reaches 800 articles”, in which we talked about how we had decided to start releasing all our content via DRSC Publishers’ “DRSC Services” platform, meaning most of our articles would be paywalled. By then, we had reached 800 total free articles, counting DRSC Media and DRSC Pro+ articles. We’ve reached once again this 800 articles milestone, with this article being our 800th article published under “DRSC Media”, with the total of free, readable articles on our website being 828 (with currently 28 DRSC Pro+ articles). More statistics are available in our dedicated “Statistics” page.

Now, focusing on the title of this article, we would like to talk about Google and how we use some of Google’s services to facilitate our work at DRSC Media. It is no secret that we heavily dislike Google and its various services, due to how invasive they’ve become, or how half of them are badly designed or meet the bare minimum to be “usable”. This is a recurrent issue with the company, who will release half-baked service after half-baked service before inevitably shutting it down a few months after. The next Google service to join their “G-grave” will likely be Google Stadia, due to how illogical their offering is. But this article is not about Google and their many problems, it’s more about how we use Google.

DRSC Media uses Google in two different areas: statistics and advertisement. In this precise case, we use the popular “Google Analytics” service to know how many visits and visitors we receive each day/month, which pages are visited, from which countries visitors are, etc. Google Analytics also offers a lot more options, such as which browser the user is using, how long they remain on each page, from where they come to the site and from which page they leave, etc. We ignore most of this data, as all we want to know is how many people have visited our site overall, which pages, and preferably from which countries. We can’t deny we find the extra data collection excessive, thus why we’ve been looking at alternatives. Sadly, alternatives to Google Analytics are not easy to come by, mostly due to the monopoly the company holds on the web and how easy it is to use their services, which is the main reason we and many others use them: the easy/quick integration of Google services into websites, across the web.

Regardless, we are currently trialling a pretty basic alternative on our second website (huaweinews.eu), which doesn’t require the creation of an account or sharing information with a third-party. Instead, the statistics are stored in the backend of our website. If this alternative satisfies our needs, we will start using it on our main website (drscmedia.eu) immediately.

Concerning advertisements, we use, as the majority of the websites showing ads, Google AdSense. We chose AdSense for various reasons: the company [DRSC Publishers] already had a validated AdSense account, used on drscpublishers.eu in the past, meaning we could start using it immediately instead of having to wait for Google to validate our account. We also chose AdSense as it is the easiest to integrate on our website, without requiring extra steps. Phasing out AdSense will be a lot more difficult than getting rid of Google Analytics. On one hand, AdSense still brings some revenue to DRSC Media, although, as mentioned multiple times in the past, the division loses money every month. On the other hand, there are very few real alternatives offering the same flexibility and easy integration on a website that AdSense offers.

For now, we’ve decided to reduce advertisement spots on our website. Previously, we had an ad in our header, two on the side bar and one after the article, as shown in this screenshot:

We’ve now removed the header advertisement as a test, on both drscmedia.eu and huaweinews.eu. If the removal of this advertisement doesn’t cause problems for us, we’ll leave it as it is. Otherwise, the header advertisement will return, and we’ll instead delete one of the side bar advertisements.

To end this article, we would like to talk about future plans and advertisements. For the time being, DRSC Media will continue showing advertisements on both websites, as the project is still supported by the main company. But, in the future, chances are advertisements will be entirely removed, once the team switches to a different project. DRSC Media’s Chief Editor has also mentioned in a past speech to the staff that they intend to keep drscmedia.eu up for about 10 years. The website has already been up for 2 years, meaning the company is ready to continue covering the hosting costs for the next 8 years. Whether this will truly happen or not, only time will tell.

In any case, we thank you for your continued support,

DRSC Media

A division of DRSC Publishers Ltd.