Ohhh Go: GoDaddy’s JavaScript Lost of Trust

January 19, 2019

Tracking Trust

It became known recently that GoDaddy took it upon themselves to add JavaScript Tracking Code to their customer’s websites. GoDaddy said that the reason they did that is to monitor the websites’ performance and for the safety of their customers. That is fine, and they have the right to monitor the servers’ performance. But what they do not have the right to is to not inform their customers about the monitoring, and to not offer them an opt-out notice either in the account or through email.
The tracking code may actually slow down the websites or break them entirely depending on what other code you have on your website. The code is from GoDaddy’s Real User Metrics (RUM) system, which is a means to “identify internal bootlenecks and optimization opportunities by inserting a small snippet of javascript code into customer websites”. GoDaddy says, “We don’t collect any user information with RUM. The data we collect allows us to improve our systems, optimize DNS resolution, improve network routing and server configurations.”

GoDaddy Admits JavaScript Was Flawed

GoDaddy admitted that the JavaScript code could have impacted website performance and customers should be aware of what might be causing slowdowns or outright breakages. Most customers are not expected to be impacted by RUM, but websites running Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) or with pages ending with multiple ending tags might be more susceptible to breaks or slow performance issues.
GoDaddy does provide an opt-out solution but you have to know that you want to opt-out, but GoDaddy does not make it easy. You have to go to myh.godaddy.com, click the “…” button. “Help Us” and “Opt Out”. So like I said it is not intuitive.

Is It Too Late for the GoDaddy Giant?

Now that the information is made public about the use of the JavaScript injection GoDaddy has decided to turn off that functionality within the RUM system.

Take Aways

Some big take aways:

  • JavaScript Have the Potential to Slow Down Websites. (Reason: It is an additional request that is made to the web server to provide GoDaddy with performance information about the website.)
  • It mostly is affecting AMP pages (Which there are not a lot of websites that are running AMP pages unless you are a news or media website.)
  • GoDaddy has turned off the JavaScript code from being injected into your website.
  • GoDaddy did not let customers know about the JavaScript Tracking Code. (Which could have been easy because I know as a GoDaddy customer I get several e-mails that offer to sale me additional products, so they could have just sent an e-mail explaining that new code was going to be placed on our websites that would have the potential of site slow downs or performance impact and that you can go to this link to find out more information and to opt-out of the tracking.)

Final Thoughts

I am a GoDaddy customer and have been promoting them to my customers and people I come in contact with. I do not think I will continue to support them in the future. I am going to be moving my customers’ sites over to a new host when it is time to renew.
I appreciate GoDaddy taking the action to try to rectify the situation, but for me it is a little too late. I wish GoDaddy all the best, and I’m sure that they will be fine.]]>

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