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22 Apr, 2022
4 min time to read

We have been constantly improving our resource and testing more and more tools both “outside”, i.e., on the webpages that you see, and “inside”, in the site engine. At the same time, the main and inherent elements of our resource, as it seemed to us, have been two things:

  • Free analytics (Google Analytics, еtc), which allow us to evaluate traffic, see what kind of publications you are most interested in reading, what devices you use, and so on. In many ways, this data allowed us to grow and evolve, providing you, first of all, with the content that you were interested in.
  • Targeted advertising, which, firstly, paid the costs of maintaining the website infrastructure (hosting, domain, CDN, technical support, and so on), and secondly, allowed us to reward our authors for those publications that gained more popularity, and, accordingly, generated more advertising revenue for us.

However we considered it our duty to take care of the privacy of our readers, namely, stop "leaking" your data to anyone: search engines, advertising platforms, social networks and other organizations that set themselves the goal of knowing as much as possible about you.

We have come to the conclusion that our reputation and your trust are worth far more than dozens of thousands of rubles a month that we receive from advertising systems, as well as several thousand rubles that free analytics from search giants allows us to save. Therefore, we decided once and for all to abandon such tools, making reading Durov’s Code private and safe.

We would like to note that we spent a lot of time looking for solutions, trying to find some kind of compromise. Ultimately, however, despite the fact that these changes would have a negative impact on our financial performance in the short term, we decided that your privacy was something we simply had to invest in. We are confident that this step will allow us to make the Internet at least a little bit more honest, and who knows, maybe larger media resources will follow our footsteps, just as we are now following the footsteps of Telegram.

And now let us give you more details about what we have changed.

We abandoned all advertising systems in favour of direct ad sales

We used three advertising systems:  Google AdSense, working in parallel through AdFox (a tool that allows you to automatically switch between Facebook and Google ads depending on the price), as well as NativeRoll – video ads that you could see inside our materials. This brought us a certain amount of revenue that completely covered the cost of the site. Moreover, it allowed us to reward our authors with bonuses for the most interesting pieces of news. However, because of this, there were advertising trackers constantly running on every page of our site, collecting data from our readers.

Alternatively, we chose the most difficult but honest way to sell ads ourselves. This means that advertising from the site is not going anywhere, and hopefully, it will continue to bring us some income. However, it will no longer be targeted: all readers will see the same blocks, and information about visitors to the site will not go anywhere outside our resource.

By the way, if you want to buy a banner on durovscode.com, write to [email protected] and become one of the first buyers of honest advertising on Durov's Code. While we are testing this format, there will be good discounts.

We abandoned free analytics systems in favour of a paid, but confidential solution

Yandex.Metriсa and Google Analytics are quite efficient and handy solutions for website analytics. However, there are many challenges behind the screen of their free character. These tools still collect data not only for us, the owners of the resource, but also for subsequent use in advertising purposes and resale to third parties even without showing any ads.

Alternatively, we chose a paid open-source solution Plausible, which doesn't collect cookies at all and fully complies with the European and British GDPR and PECR regulations and the California CCPA law.  The developers of this tool tell us on their official website, ‘No adtech’. We support this approach!

Plausible collects a minimum set of information for us (geolocation, device type, browser) without profiling users – all data goes into a "common pot" and is not tied to any readers. Due to the fact that it is an opensource project, in the near future we want to place it on our own server, that will improve our sleep. For our part, we will just donate to developers on GitHub.

Another advantage of Plausible is that its script weighs less than 1KB, which is 45 times less (according to Plausible) than Google Analytics. Therefore, you will probably notice a small increase in loading speed of our pages.

As for us, resource administrators, we liked the Plausible admin panel – it's minimalistic, simple, and straightforward, but still informative. Of course, it will take some time getting used to, but the idea is definitely worth it.

Overall, using Plausible will allow Durov’s Code to ensure that henceforth your personal data will not be shared with advertising or any other companies or third parties, or monetised in any way.

So what now?

From now on, you can be assured that traffic analytics, advertising, and the overall functioning of our site is done without collecting any personal data or personal information, without the use of cookies, and with full respect for your privacy. And so it will always be on our website.

Let it be our little investment in your privacy and in making the Internet more honest and transparent to users in the future.