Fathom: the best alternative to Google Analytics

There's no doubting the sheer power (and complexity) of Google Analytics, but as the old saying goes:

If you aren't paying for it, you are likely the product.

Businesses have always wanted to know more about consumers and their habits. Before the internet came along, they collected that data themselves, through surveys and other forms of market research.

Users as a business model

Google (and Facebook) offer free services not out of the goodness of their heart, but because of the opportunities to track data and profile you and your visitors, which they can then sell to advertisers.

I think they both knew that the free model was the best way for them to grow fast, and an advertising model allows them to keep their services free, key to achieve the dominance the have today.

However that comes at a price, which is building profiles of their users they can use to sell targeted advertising against. These companies follow you around the internet, keep track of what you do, and then using that to sell you things or manipulate your thoughts.

I use Google Analytics professionally where it's needed, but personally while I want to keep track of what people are reading on my site, I don't feel like I want to have every last detail tracked.

A better way: privacy as a business model

That's where Fathom Analytics comes in. Created by Paul Jarvis and Jack Ellis in 2018, it's a simple webite analytics package that respects digital privacy, so much so that it GDPR compliant with no need for cookie notices.

For a simple blog it gives you all the metrics you need, with the reassurance that visitor data isn't being shared.

As Fathom state:

Your website data is never shared with advertising companies or any third parties, ever.
Your website data is not collected or analyzed for personal, demographic or behavioural trends, ever.
Your website data is never monetized. We make money selling software, it’s not in our best interests to sell that data as it’s not our business model.

It's simple to set up with a free trial, and I've been delighted so far.

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