Plausible Analytics is an open-source project dedicated to making web analytics more privacy-friendly. Our mission is to reduce corporate surveillance by providing an alternative web analytics tool which doesn’t come from the AdTech world.
The full-time team is based in the EU and consists of Uku Taht and Marko Saric. We are completely independent, self-funded and bootstrapped. The legal entity is incorporated in Estonia while we work remotely and flexibly.
Independent, self-funded and sustainable by the subscription fees our users pay us
Our goal is to grow a sustainable open-source project funded solely by the fees that our subscribers pay us. We are not interested in raising funds or taking investment. Not from individuals, not from institutions and not from venture capitalists.
This is why Plausible Analytics Cloud is not free as in beer. Our business model has nothing to do with collecting and analyzing huge amounts of personal information from web users and using these behavioral insights to sell advertisements. We choose the subscription business model rather than the business model of surveillance capitalism.
When using Plausible Analytics, you 100% own and control all of your website data. This data is not being shared with or sold to any third-parties. Since we don’t make money from advertising, we need to charge a fee to keep the project development going, to stay in business, to continue putting effort into improving the project and to cover our costs.
Our current MRR is $3,038 with 483 paying subscribers (last updated on August 7th, 2020). MRR stands for Monthly Recurring Revenue and it measures the total amount of subscription revenue that we expect on a monthly basis.
Is it possible to have privacy-friendly web analytics?
We founded Plausible Analytics to create a privacy-friendly alternative to very popular and widely used surveillance capitalism web analytics tools that are installed and tracking user behavior on the majority of websites online.
Some people don’t use analytics at all and that’s fantastic. We don’t push our solution on people who don’t want to track anything about their website visitors. We also encourage server log analysis as a privacy-friendly solution. Unfortunately, server logs have a big bot detection problem.
From speaking to many website and business owners, it is evident that going without any analytics at all or using server logs is not a viable alternative for the majority of them. Most of them want some useful insights into what their efforts result in. If privacy-activists insist they switch to server logs or they remove analytics completely, they will just keep using privacy-intrusive options that they are used to.
Our goal is to reduce the number of websites and businesses online that run proprietary, user-hostile and privacy-invasive web analytics products. We do that by providing them with a competitive, useful and actionable analytics product that at the same time respects the privacy of their website visitors.
What makes Plausible Analytics a more privacy-friendly alternative to the average web analytics tool?
We are completely open source so anyone can view, review and inspect the code we’re running to verify whether our actions match with our words
We minimize any data collection in general and whatever we do track is kept fully secured, encrypted and hosted on a server in the European Union to ensure it is being covered by the strict laws on data privacy
We do not track and collect any personal data or personally identifiable information. Comparing Plausible Analytics to server logs, in server logs you can see all the IP addresses of your visitors and details on when they visited your site while there is no way to get any kind of personal data from Plausible Analytics
We do not track individual people. All the data is in aggregate only
We do not track people across their devices. All the data is isolated to a single device only. There is no way to know whether the same person visits a site from more than one device
We do not track people across websites and apps that they visit. All the data is isolated to a single website only. There is no way to know what other websites someone visits
We do not share or send the data to any advertising companies or any other third-parties in general. The data is not monetized, mined and harvested for personal and behavioral trends. The website owner completely owns and controls the data from their website
We have an in-built feature that we recommend all website owners use to open up their stats to the public and share it on their site to be fully transparent so their visitors and anyone else can view the data that they have access to
See our data policy for the full list of data we do collect to display your web stats, which metrics we use the data for and a more technical view on what actions we take to make Plausible Analytics privacy-friendly and compliant with the different privacy regulations.
How do you prevent Plausible Analytics from going from “Don’t be evil” to “Be evil”?
Plausible Analytics is a fully libre and open source startup. Everything we do is transparent and in the open. We share our website traffic stats with the public, we share our revenue numbers with the public, we share our development work with the public and our roadmap too.
Plausible Analytics code is free and open source under the most permissive Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) license. This means that there are no restrictions on redistributing, modifying or using Plausible Analytics for any reason. You can take it and use it any way that you wish.
Good intentions are not always enough and being open source is the best way to prevent us from going from “Don’t be evil” to “Be evil”. Our code is not proprietary and our users are not locked down so we have to be the best business running this codebase. The threat of forking is a real threat and if we make some evil choices or sell out to some evil corp, you can take the code and have your own Plausible Analytics. This keeps us honest.
Imagine if you had the same choice with your favorite proprietary and closed source app so if they decided to change the strategy, to make user-hostile decisions or to sell out to a corporation with different beliefs, the community could simply take over and keep alive the product that they love while ignoring the new development. You can do that with Plausible Analytics.
Is there an ethical way to do marketing for a startup?
Our main marketing strategy is content marketing. We simply publish posts that we think people may find interesting and useful. Then we share that content on our social media channels (our only official profiles are on Twitter and on Mastodon). We also share this content in the different niche communities and aggregators that we are a part of.
Some of the people that discover our content and find it valuable end up signing up for a Plausible Analytics account too. Read more about our content marketing process here.
Here’s what we don’t do:
We don’t do any paid advertising or paid marketing campaigns on social media, on search engines and anywhere else. There is nothing inherently wrong with advertising if people give their proper consent to it or if it is contextual only without any personalization, we just don’t do it.
We don’t pay anyone to recommend Plausible Analytics to their audience be it via referral programs, affiliate programs or other types of sponsorships. There is nothing inherently wrong with affiliate marketing as long as it is always prominently and clearly disclosed to the people, we just don’t do it.
We do not participate in any link buying or link selling to game the search engines to send us more traffic
We ignore all unethical proposals such as those that offer us to buy contact lists of customers of other web analytics products
A large percentage of our growth can be attributed to website and business owners who love to use Plausible Analytics and decide to share their Plausible Analytics experience with the world.
We are grateful to everyone who shares Plausible Analytics as without people spreading the word about us it would be difficult for us to grow and achieve our goal. Thank you!