I am old enough to remember the counters on web pages. If memory serves, my first web page lived in a "neighborhood" of GeoCities. The next cool thing after you went 'live' was to add a counter to your page. They looked like little odometers and they increased by 1 every time someone loaded your page. It was cool to watch the visitors rack up, especially once you rolled over your first 1,000. You learned to visit your own site multiple times a day. It seemed to advance more rapidly the more often you checked it.

Things have gotten a lot more sophisticated since then. Web page analytics keep track of not only how many visitors per day but also where those people came from, what kind of device they were using, and far more information. In fact, it's a little scary how much you can see on your analytics dashboard. Most web pages use Google Analytics, a free service from your favorite search engine, email provider, advertising agency.... Then one day you were shopping for something online. You switched over to social media and adds for things you had been looking at started following you around the web.

Yes, they are tracking you. While Google Analytics promises not to sell your data, the free service comes with a cost. In this case, they drop little cookies that allow them to basically track all the places you go. Which is why PilgrimPriest.us is no longer using Google Analytics. Our new service isn't free but the costs are covered by my generous patrons. It tells me enough about my visitors to know what's happening, and it doesn't drop cookies that would require your approval (per GDPR). It's a win-win. And it takes me back a little bit to a simpler time on the web when we all had little counters.

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