A couple of months ago, word leaked out that Google was about to make it so that you could opt out of Google Analytics.

I pointed out at the time that Google allowing people to have their browsers instruct the web sites they were visiting to ignore their visits renders Google Analytics worthless. Yesterday, Google flipped the switch. It’s now easy to instruct Google Analytics to ignore you when you surf.

Privacy concerns aside (and that’s addressed in the post I’ve linked above), having people be able to not exist really does make the idea of counting traffic mean less. I have no problem with anonymizing yourself, but to pretend that even the anonymous you never visited a web site has implications for the way commerce is conducted on the Internet, and they’re bad.

I could go on for a very long time about that, and maybe some day I will. Today’s topic, though, is responsibility.

Yesterday I reached out to Matt Cutts through Twitter. Matt is a Google employee who has become almost Google’s de facto “this guy will talk openly about how Google does things” person, seemingly with his employer’s blessing. Matt pointed something out:

People Could Always Opt Out Of Google Analytics.

And Mr. Cutts is correct; by tweaking settings in your browser (and creating issues for lots of other web sites, by the way), you always had the ability to opt out of Google Analytics. All Google has done now is make it easier.

Oh yeah . . . and also made a nice public relations play both with users and governments that believe Google is responsible for protecting our privacy.

The question as it relates to business change is this: does teaching people how to do something that they always had the ability to do make you a good guy? And for that matter, don’t people (and businesses) want to be responsible for their own destinies and decisions?

Again, this is a topic I could go on about for a very long time. It saddens me to say this, but I believe most of us pay lip service to the idea of personal responsibility. It sounds something like this:  I want to control my business change, but first I want Google and governments to make enacting business change easy for me and take away the hard choices.

The reason Answer Guy Central exists is to help businesses step through these issues, and whether you want to be in control or just pretend to be, we’re here for you. I promise, though: taking real control of business change beats pretending.

As for Google . . . I stand by the statement that Google Analytics is now worthless. But I sure do appreciate Matt Cutts.

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