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Remove The Contaminating UTM_* Values In URLs In Google Chrome and Firefox

Perhaps it’s just me but when I see something on the web that I want to share, I go through this little routine to clean up the URL before sending it out to friends and others. If you use Google Reader as your RSS feed reader, you might notice the URLs in your address bar turn into something like this:

www.server.com/2011/interesting_article/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed+site+(site)&utm_content=Google+Reader

utm url 500x26 Remove The Contaminating UTM * Values In URLs In Google Chrome and Firefox

when all you need is this:

www.server.com/2011/interesting_article/

The UTM values are added automatically and increase the length of the URL significantly to RSS feeds that use Feedburner as an analytics source for their RSS feeds. UTM stands for Urchin Traffic Monitor and provides greater details in a website’s logs, giving better insights into the visitors’ experiences. The analytics can be fed into Google Analytics or Urchin from Google to be graphed and charted. I don’t care about the website being able to analyze my visit but I have to suffer the consequences with the longer URL. How can we get rid of the UTM values from the address bar automatically?

Google Chrome

Google Chrome has an extension called Tracking Token Stripper. In Chrome, you can just visit that link and choose to install the extension. From then on, any link you follow with those UTM values will

Extension page 500x302 Remove The Contaminating UTM * Values In URLs In Google Chrome and Firefox

Another option for Chrome is a different extension called Unburner. Tracking Token Stripper is the only one I’ve used and it has excellent ratings, so I can’t vouch for Unburner though it sounds equally viable with its latest update.

Mozilla Firefox

In Firefox, there is no add-on specifically for cleaning up the UTM values in the Location Bar (Awesome Bar), which is where I’ve been searching for quite a while. Fortunately, Firefox has its catch-all add-on GreaseMonkey. With GreaseMonkey installed in Firefox, you can install one of a few scripts from UserScripts.org that sanitize the URL:

UTM Stripper is the script I have installed and it does the job exactly as I hoped.

How It Works

Both the Tracking Token Stripper extension in Google Chrome and the user scripts in Firefox/GreaseMonkey work in very similar fashions: You click on a link with UTM_* values in the URL, the page loads with the full URL, a second later the URL is changed to no longer have the UTM values.

This approach works nicely because it resolves the negative consequences and un-friendly URLs for the visitors but doesn’t reduce the information provided to the website or change the load time at all. Now, I’m able to copy+paste URLs and share them without having to meticulously go through the routine of removing the Urchin values.

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