Sending back UTM links

Internet

It really feels like a race-to-the-bottom for user tracking online. If you copy a link to send to a friend, or to write a blog post about, chances are you’ll have a ton of UTM spam attached.

They’re bad for several reasons:

  1. They’re a usability nightmare. Suddently, messy URLs to copy and paste are made even worse. GET request attributes don’t need to be in any order, so if you attempt to strip them off the end, you may inadvertedly remove a part of the required link.

  2. They break the idea of canonical links. And no, rel="canonical" metadata links aren’t the solution.

  3. They persist when context changes. If you copy a link from email and paste on another carrier (Twitter, your blog, etc), “email” will still be listed as the source.

Whenever a site includes a link with all this extra junk attached, I’m going to replace it with this:

http://example.com/?utm_source=SPAM_VICTIM&utm_term=STOP_POLLUTING_URLS&utm_medium=NO_REALLY&utm_campaign=STOP_UTMS&utm_content=IS_EVIL

Author bio and support

Me!

Ruben Schade is a technical writer and IaaS engineer in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person in bios. Wait, not BIOS… my brain should be EFI by now.

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