This morning, I posted a support query in the deep and authentic WordPress.com Support Forum concerning previous discussions of the “Quantcast Pixel” that is loaded for each WordPress.com blog.  It seems that if you visit the Quantcast site, anyone can get information on your WordPress.com blog just by entering your blog name at the end of the Quantcast URL.  Here’s the text of my support inquiry — I have added the screenshots for this article:

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I have seen Quantcast discussed here in the support forum:

http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/how-to-paste-tracking-code?replies=6#post-1165976

http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/serious-problem-with-happiness-engineer-response?replies=19#post-1143204

http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/why-have-i-not-recieved-any-stats-for-the-past-two-days?replies=3#post-1132797

http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/desktop-vs-mobile?replies=3#post-1155049

On http://BolesBlogs.net — a Pro-level WP.com paid blog that is, and always has been, private — I see this public information on the Quantcast site:

https://www.quantcast.com/bolesblogs.net

On my newer, public, http://BolesBlogs.com Business-level paid WP.com blog, I see no public data available:

https://www.quantcast.com/bolesblogs.com

I checked the HTML of for both blogs, and I see the Quantcast code.

I decided to write to Quantcast, as some have recommended in the above support threads, to try to get the full report. Here is their response:

Thank You for contacting Quantcast!

I QAed your website and it looks like the WordPress pixel is firing. However, if you want data to collect under your own Quantcast account for your websites, you must implement your own pixel. Your unique P-code is [redacted] (as seen once you log into your account). If you have access to changing your HTML please review the following instructions to insert our tag:

If you’re using Joomla, Drupal, or the WordPress Platform (as opposed to WordPress Hosted) as a Content Management System then you must have access to the files being hosted by your web-hosting provider.

The easiest way to become Quantified is to place your Quantcast tag in a common file that is loaded on every page, such as a footer. For most implementations of the three CMS listed above, common files are usually in the ‘Themes’ folder and are labeled something like ‘footer.php’, ‘index.php’ and so forth. Simply open the file on your computer, add your Quantcast code at the bottom of the file, and re-save the file to your web-host.

At that point, you can login to your Quantcast account submit your site to be scanned in.

I know we cannot load our own pixel, so my question is this: Is the Quantcast pixel that WP.com currently loads for us, Automattic proprietary information, or does it belong to us as blog owners as well?

If the pixel is proprietary, why are people able to see public results on the Quantcast site?

If the pixel is public, why is Quantcast telling me I have to have my own pixel in order to see their results?

Finally, no matter what the answer to the above two questions — why are the stats for a private blog publicly visible on the Quantcast website?

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Were you aware of this Quantcast trick to get public stats for WordPress.com blogs that you don’t own or operate?

I will keep you updated on responses from the official Support Thread if any interesting information is shared.

Posted by David Boles

David Boles was born in Nebraska and his MFA is from Columbia University in the City of New York. He is an Author, Lyricist, Playwright, Publisher, Editor, Actor, Designer, Director, Poet, Producer, and Boodle Boy for print, radio, television, film, the web and the live stage. With more than 50 books in print, David continues to write 2MM words a year. He has authored over 25K articles and published more. Read the Prairie Voice Archive at Boles.com | Buy his books at David Boles Books Writing & Publishing | Earn the world with David Boles University | Get a script doctored at Script Professor | Touch American Sign Language mastery at Hardcore ASL.

7 Comments

  1. That’s crazy about the information being publicly available! I wonder why people would want that kind of information available.

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    1. I find the whole thing fascinatingly perplexing, Gordon, because the Quantcast “trick” to view WP.com blogs on their site is freely shared in the support forum, but, in practice, it doesn’t really make sense — especially for private blogs and for what one would think is proprietary information between WP.com blog admins and Automattic.

      As a Contributor to this blog, you can’t see any of the backend WP.com stats for this blog — stats that, I believe, are at least partially quantified by Quantcast — yet you, and anybody else in the world, can visit the Quantcast site and, theoretically, get this blog’s stats, or any WP.com blog’s stats — as you wish!

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  2. UPDATE:

    Be sure to visit the WP.com support forum to read the official trending thread updates:

    http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/quantcast-query-for-wordpresscom?replies=5#post-1166375

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  3. all very confusing ………………… hope you get an answer soon.

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    1. It is definitely odd and confusing. No changes today. No reply from Quantcast.

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  4. I wasn’t aware of this at all. Just another scary thing on the internet. I wonder why the public would want information like this on blogs? is there an option to have your blog removed.

    The only real use I can see for this is if someone would doing some in depth research.

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    Reply

    1. There is, theoretically, a way to remove the blogs — but it isn’t simple or automatic.

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