Jumpshot, a popular marketing analytics tool, will be shut down by parent company Avast following controversy over the unauthorized sale of user data.
Ondrej Vlcek, CEO of Avast, states in a press release:
“Avast’s core mission is to keep its users safe online and to give users control over their privacy. The bottom line is that any practices that jeopardize user trust are unacceptable to Avast. We are vigilant about our users’ privacy, and we took quick action to begin winding down Jumpshot’s operations after it became evident that some users questioned the alignment of data provision to Jumpshot with our mission and principles that define us as a Company.”
The decision to shut down Jumpshot comes after an investigation into its harvesting and selling of user data was published by Vice earlier this week.
Vice reports that the data in question is highly sensitive and was supposed to remain confidential. Documents obtained by Vice reveal how the Avast antivirus program collects data from people who have the software installed on their computers. Data harvested by Avast is then repackaged by Jumpshot and sold to many of the world’s largest companies.
Some of Jumpshot’s clients paid upwards of a million dollars for products with an “All Clicks Feed,” which is designed to precisely track user behavior across websites. In Jumpshot’s own words, from a piece of marketing published last month on Twitter, it collects “Every search. Every click. Every buy. On every site.”
Why This Matters to SEOs
Jumpshot may be responsible for supplying data to premium SEO tools. The loss of this data could impact how searches and clicks are calculated by these tools going forward.
It’s too early to tell what kind of impact this will have, as there is currently no timeframe for when Jumpshot will completely terminate its data services.
Jumpshot will notify customers “in due course” about the termination of data services. At that time, I can only assume software companies who pay for Jumpshot’s data will notify users about any changes.
To be sure, this is a developing story with more details still to come.