I’ve decided to stop using Google Analytics to analyze traffic on my site. I don’t think the service really goes to the extreme as far as tracking users, since it only allows me to see traffic sources (referring sites, search terms, etc.) and which areas of my site people are checking out, so I wouldn’t necessarily consider it to be evil. Nevertheless, I’ve grown tired of the trend of analyzing and tracking users across the web for any reason. And let’s be honest, it seems very unnecessary to me for a site like mine to leave a cookie on your computer.
Do I really need to know how much time anonymous users are spending reading a particular blog post? Do I really need to know what search terms are leading people to my site? Perhaps if this were a bigger site or if it actually had commercial purposes, sure, the info would be useful. As it stands, though, it basically amounts to tracking people in order to stroke my own ego. So, instead, if you enjoy something that I’ve written, be it a blog post, a piece of software, or a song, I’d be much happier if you drop me an email and tell me, or if you just pass the link along to others. I don’t need to know that you enjoyed it for precisely 4'35" before leaving the site, never to return.
edit: I added a Flattr button on the side over there, in case you really want to show me your appreciation :)