JumpShot Shutdown Reducing Traffic Volume and Click-Thru data source for Ahrefs and Moz

CCarter

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This is a bit technically but Google pretty much froze traffic volume estimates for Keyword Planner.

So SEOs needed a new way to get traffic volume.

Enter "Clickstream" - A very fancy way of staying Moz and Ahrefs was buying data from companies on what websites visitors were using.

Well very few people asked the source of that data, but it was all along from Avast AntiVirus. The antivirus company provides "FREE" virus protection - well when a product is free using the user is the "product". Avast was monitoring every single URL their visitors visited and aggregated that data and sending it over to their JumpShot subsidiary.

Nothing is free folks.

Moz and gang jumped on this "Clickstream" bangwagon and have been using that data to power their tools (SERPWoo uses multiple sources that will never be revealed for our methods). When all the tools were bandwagon riding each other, some users came to SW and asked if we would do the same - we said No.

Here we are 3-4 year later and Avast has decided to shutdown their JumpShot operations, winding down the fancy Clickstream bla bla bla.

Just days after Avast's popular antivirus software was revealed to be harvesting browsing data and selling it to advertisers, the company has said that it's shutting down the subsidiary that made it possible. Writing in a blog post, company CEO Ondrej Vlcek says Avast is terminating its Jumpshot subsidiary's data collection and operations "with immediate effect," and doesn't mention any plans to transfer the company's "hundreds" of affected employees, meaning they're likely out of a job.

"Protecting people is Avast's top priority and must be embedded in everything we do in our business and in our products. Anything to the contrary is unacceptable," Vlcek wrote. "For these reasons, I – together with our board of directors – have decided to terminate the Jumpshot data collection and wind down Jumpshot's operations, with immediate effect."

The reports, which were the result of a joint investigation between Motherboard and PCMag, detailed how Avast was collecting user browsing data via its antivirus software. This data included Google searches, location lookups, visited URLs along with precise time stamps, and in some cases even specific searches made on porn websites. Although Avast claimed that individual users could not be identified from this data, Motherboard spoke to experts who said that this could be possible in some cases.

Jumpshot claimed to have data from as many as 100 million devices, and it listed some of the world's largest companies among its clients, including Google, Yelp, Microsoft, and Pepsi. Jumpshot would package this data up into different products, one of which was its "All Click Feed," which would allow its clients to see all user clicks on individual domains (such as Amazon.com). These clients reportedly paid millions of dollars for Jumpshot's products, which often included precise browsing data.

Although Avast has announced that it's bringing Jumpshot to an end, Vlcek defended the way in which the company collected the data. As well as stressing that Jumpshot operated as an independent company, he said both Avast and Jumpshot acted "fully within legal bounds" and "committed themselves to 100 percent GDPR compliance."


Sauce: Antivirus company shuts down its data-harvesting arm after getting caught red-handed

Another Sauce: Avast shutters data-selling subsidiary amid user outrage

Obviously Rand Fishkin and his company getting caught with their hand in the cookie jar, released a statement which I didn't bother reading but skimmed: Avast’s Shutdown of Jumpshot Will Harm the Web and the World

"Moz was holding Google Accountable". Okay.


I'll allow people to stretch their moral compass whatever way they seem fit. MoneyOverEthics at the end of the day.

It's a bit ironic though cause Rand's on Twitter crying about JumpShot employee's jobs being lost - versus the fact his company was buying data from spyware.

Rand Fishkin
I talked to some folks at Jumpshot yesterday & today. They are all out of jobs in the next few days (or on the wind-down team, weeks).

They spent years of their lives doing work they believed in, work that added tremendous value to making the web a more fair, transparent place.

[..]

And today, these losing-their-jobs folks get to read a lot of shitty, poorly-informed comments from ppl who pretend they know just which PII could have been leaked or how their parent company mishandled data, or that their work was "creepy". It sucks. We can be better than that.

[..]

If you worked w/ Jumpshot, or got value from their data or reporting -- maybe you could say something kind today about that experience.

Hell, even if you're anti-data gathering, you won. They're gone. There's no need to beat up on a literally dead company.

[..]

Avast's decision to shut down Jumpshot is wrong.

Anonymized, aggregated data does not violate privacy. And this data source was out best shot at holding the tech monopolies to account.

Good day to be an anti-competitive monopolist. Bad day for everyone else. Blog post coming.


Sauce: https://twitter.com/randfish/status/1223306374798401536


I personally don't care either way on this, just like taking shots at a competitor when they are drowning. What's the purpose of pretending some moral high-ground. Just #MoneyOverEthics and call it a day. None of this will matter in 5-10 years.

It's going to be interesting to see how the SEO world adjusts to the new reality, search volume and click-thru data become even more scarce.
 

Ryuzaki

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Enter "Clickstream" - A very fancy way of staying Moz and Ahrefs was buying data from companies on what websites visitors were using.
Yeah, it wasn't just them buying the data either. It was ALL of the big players. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, etc.

I like how they care about protecting people, and only chose to do so when they got caught as the villain.

There's all kinds of products like this and probably a lot more sources of clickstream data for companies to buy. Even stuff like those "mac cleaners" you see on every single blog post about anything related to a mac. Every virus protection software. Tons of sources. But now there's a scapegoat to take all the heat and while it blows over operations will continue as usual. (Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby are examples of this in play in other "industries").
 

bernard

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Rule number 1 of late stage capitalism:

Everyone who has the ability to screw you over, will screw you over.

I wrote a post about this some time ago. About how it feels like almost all companies just really don't give a shit about the customer anymore.