EU Cookie Legislation and Your Chartbeat Data

What’s a cookie and how does Chartbeat use them?
Most data providers track certain visitor behavior by using cookies. Cookies can tell things like the difference between a new and returning visitor. That way you can deliver content that makes sense for them.

That return-state of a visitor is the one and only way Chartbeat uses cookies, never for any kind of personally identifiable information collecting or monitoring. You can read all about how we pull data in our technical docs.

How does the EU Cookie Legislation affect Chartbeat?
Recently, the EU passed legislation governing how websites can collect and use these cookies (as well as similar visitor tracking techniques like HTML5 LocalStorage). This law discusses website visitors’ options regarding the cookies set on their browser.

While each country in the EU has yet to finalize how and when they’re putting the law into effect, the UK has done so already.

Lots of our client partners are in the UK, so we’ve made this transition an easy one for you guys. We’ve already updated our JavaScript to work without setting cookies.

Here’s how to do it. Within your Chartbeat JavaScript, just set an option in your configuration to disable cookies:

    _sf_async_config.noCookies = true

With noCookies set, the Chartbeat cookie (_chartbeat2) will never be created.

How does this change affect what I’ll see in my dashboard?
As we mentioned, Chartbeat currently only uses cookies to track if a user is new or returning. So, when you set noCookies to true, Chartbeat will not be able to tell if a user is new or returning. In the future, other metrics may depend on the presence of the cookie, but we’ll keep you posted on anything that does.

Depending on your implementation, you may have some visitors allow cookies and some not. If that’s the case, Chartbeat would report new and returning values for only the visitors who have allowed cookies.

As always, if you have any questions hit up our Chartcorps on Twitter or via email.

Hacking Chartbeat

The number one reason Chartbeat is as awesome as it is? We exclusively hire awesome people. And the backbone of our awesome resides in our team of engineers.

When you hire world-class engineers, you need to give them freedom to build and create. Some people think that’s a scary challenge. We don’t. Because we’ve developed a unique and crazy successful solution.

Percent Time
It’s fairly common in the tech world to have “percent time,” or a set amount of time given to employees to explore ideas outside of the set product roadmap.

The thinking here is that when you allow engineers the ability to scratch their own itches, you end up with happier hackers, less burnout, and most importantly new ideas. Many of the products you use every day started out as a small hack project like Google’s Gmail and Facebook’s birthday calendar.

We take this itch-scratching, happy-hacker time very seriously, though also a bit differently than most companies.

Every six weeks we press pause on roadmaps, projections, and meetings. During this week, affectionately known as Hack Week, everyone is given free reign to build, create, or design whatever piques their interest. The only rule is that you have to demo something once Friday rolls around.

Hacks range from data visualizations to monitoring tools to Arduino-powered empty-water-cooler sensors.

Chartbeat Labs
Hack Week projects are often way too amazing to keep to ourselves, so we blow them out and polish them up and share them through Chartbeat Labs, a public directory of awesome visualizations and tools built around Chartbeat data.

We’re still working on getting everything up there, but there’s a wealth of interesting stuff just waiting for you:

  • Around the World: A real-time map of who’s visiting your site and where they are in the world.
  • Big Board: For real time to be a success, you need to live in it, in a full environment of data. The Chartbeat Big Board is perfect for having an ambient view of activity on your site.
  • Universe: Your site is a galaxy of pages. Watch them pop in and out of orbit.
  • Traffic Control: You know there are people on your site, and you know what pages they’re on. Using Traffic Control, you can watch them move from page to page and understand where your most popular and most important paths are.
  • Big Board Mosaic (just for Newsbeat clients): Easily understand your traffic at a glance. Big colorful blocks that tell you how much traffic a page has, and where on the web they came from.

Most importantly, we try to open source anything and everything we can. We love seeing what you guys can accomplish using our API and your own data to create something truly unique.

Want to get in the hack game? Share what you’ve done with us on Twitter. Or if you’re the shy type, kick it over to us at