Yandex Metrica is spyware for your browser

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We recently came across a product by Yandex, called Metrica. It’s arguably one of the more creepy pieces of web analytics software we’ve seen. It’s like Google analytics on steroids and it tracks where you go on a page. When you add Yandex Metrica to your website, your user’s browsers will constantly be making HTTP requests to Yandex Metrica servers. Data about their operating system, browser, screen size, mouse movements and others will be sent to Yandex. You can see an example of a “Session Replay” on their site. Tracking where a user goes on a page with their mouse movements is creepy.

Luckily this kind of web analytics can be easily thwarted with browser extensions. We recommend using uBlock Origin which is one of the fastest and most widely used ad & tracker blocking extensions. It will prevent almost any widely used tracking JavaScript from loading in your browser. Block lists are consistently updated and maintained by a project called EasyList.

One of the most concerning facts about Yandex Metrica, is that they’re a company based in Russia. The Russian government does not have a good track record on censorship and mass surveillance. Before you decide to use web analytics for your site, you may want to consider all of the alternatives. We have been fans of Matomo (previously called Piwik). User privacy is much more respected with this software and you can host their open source version on your own server for free.

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