About page, donation link, style changes, ToS & PP preview, and analytics

I’ve been all over the place working on various pieces of my Early Access Launch plan. I just pushed a release that shows some of that work, but much more is coming soon.

About Page

In order to (1) create a place for the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy to eventually live, (2) give me a place to put a donate link, and (3) give new users some new information without having to sign up, I’ve created an About Page.

Donation Page

I’ve had several people ask for a way to donate to Shmeppy. Ya’ll are way to nice to me already, but if you want to very directly help me make Shmeppy a reality, feel free to send me some money through PayPal. A link to that page will be stick around on the About Page.

Terms of Service and Privacy Policy

I’ve started “writing” (more like deriving…) a Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for Shmeppy. Unfortunately I don’t have the resources to create one from nothing with a lawyer, which is what I’d like to do in order to make a very user-centric agreement. But Automattic (the folks behind Wordpress) have a decent enough open-sourced ToS and PP that I’m changing around.

Please give me some feedback if you love legalese! The in-progress documents are hanging out on GitHub for your perusal.


Last week I mostly worked on some analytics code that pulls metrics from Shmeppy’s logs. My intention is not to use a third-party service for this. Here’s a lengthy explanation about why I want to do this and why I think it’s important:

The current state of affairs on the internet is that ad networks are capable of watching your activity across most websites (even innocuous ones like my blog are a part of this because I use Google Analytics).

I’d like to watch your activity across Shmeppy, fairly closely, so I can know things like “how many of my users sign up and then only visit a few times ever again” or “oh damn people really don’t like going through that email verification flow”. This requires getting as much identifiable information as possible from your browser, even when you’re logged out, so I can tell that a request you made for the home page and then for the login page is you and not two different people.

This can definitely be a little weird privacy-wise, it’s essentially like I have someone collecting data on what people are doing in my storefront. However this shouldn’t require giving that information to a third party like Google who will then also use that information for their own ends. That would be like someone following you from storefront to storefront and collecting data on what you do everywhere (which is what happens on most of the internet).

So I’m draining time into writing analytics code that would be much easier if I used something like Google Analytics, but hopefully my effort makes the web a slightly better place, or at least doesn’t make it worse.

Also, as an aside, I’m happy to share the code of the analytics scripts I’m writing. There’s nothing inherently secret there. If you’re interested in this, let me know. It’d take some effort for me to open source (or at least make it publicly available) so I don’t want to bother unless there’s some decent interest.