If you pay attention to the blogosphere, there has been a ton of buzz about MyBlogLog (Shoemoney’s MyBlogLog category is a great place to start). One of the things that caught my attention was the comment someone made that MyBlogLog was actually shopping the user data that their script collected, not just looking to sell the MyBlogLog product (that Yahoo eventually bought).
Now consider the data they have. They know the source of all the traffic to your page, but also how often an AdSense or YPN ad was clicked, and which specific ad was clicked (similar to how an AdSense tracker script can track specifics about the AdSense ads clicked on your page). And since MyBlogLog is now a Yahoo company, that is a lot of information Yahoo now knows about their biggest competitor and their ad serving and just how many people are clicking on AdSense ads. They can easily compare and contrast the relevancy of ads on the page (arguably, YPN’s biggest problem at the moment) not to mention CTR data and even ad specifics, such as which Adwords advertiser ads on a page are being clicked the most.
Generally, MyBlogLog does not share personal information about you with other people or nonaffiliated companies
Does this mean that if a company is affiliated, they will share that crucial ad click data with them? There is no mention of what companies are considered to be an affiliated company, however. Couldn’t they decide to make everyone an affiliated company if they wished to share their ad click data? At this time, I do not know what they are using this data for, but they definitely are keeping track of your ad clicks.
In light of this information, all YPN & AdSense publishers should be aware that the MyBlogLog script is tracking all your ad clicks on your site. If you are fine with that, leave it on your site, but if you are concerned about what this data could be used for (what if your competitor became an affiliated company and got a hold of all your AdSense and/or YPN data?) you should remove MyBlogLog from your site.
Are they using your ad clicks data for evil? Obviously no one knows the answer to this question except the MyBlogLog team. But they certainly have not been forthcoming over the fact they are tracking your AdSense & YPN clicks either.
For all the nitty gritty, including all the technical evidence that backs it up can be found here.
Added: I just want to make it crystal clear that I don’t believe Yahoo added this ad tracking script themselves, for several reasons. First of all, I know many, many Yahoo people and I would have a hard time believing they’d do this. Second, knowing many engineers at Yahoo as well, I know they definitely wouldn’t steal code – especially so blatantly – from another source.
I would be willing to bet that this was in place since the beginning or at the very least, the early days of MyBlogLog. And it is quite possible that Yahoo did not know the MyBlogLog team was even tracking this, much less using this data for nefarious reasons. The responsibility lies solely with the MyBlogLog team, and the only connection with Yahoo is they happened to have bought it.