Remember when everyone got worked up over Adobe tracking access to upgrades using Omniture’s deceptively-named URL?

Go to Digg’s front page and keep an eye on your browser’s status bar when you click a story. Before you see the messages normally associated with loading a page, did you catch “Looking up”?

Why wouldn’t Digg want to track users’ clicks? Collecting data on the most-read stories could be invaluable for modifying algorithms. Comparing who clicks and who doesn’t could help identify bots. Identifying and catering to the most valuable users could make Digg more valuable in turn.

But Omniture monitors a lot of sites, and content from pages they monitor can be communicated back to them with javascript. Like Google or Tacoda, the data they collect on you from across their network is extremely valuable when used to target ads and content.

Digg is sacrificing user experience, too. Instead of the click pointing you directly to the story, it first has to send a request to Omniture’s server with information on the story and wait for the response. Sometimes it’s quick, sometimes it’s slow, but they’re making you wait every time while they spy on your clicks.

If you’d rather not have Omniture tracking your Digg activity, you can always intercept requests to their URL by editing your “hosts” file and inserting this line:

To find your hosts file or learn more about how you can modify it to protect your privacy, check out the Wikipedia entry: hosts file.

What about you? Do you care if your clickstream data is being recorded by a third-party vendor that could be tracking you across the internet?