Are agencies allow to hold Google Analytics account data hostage?

dannanelli

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May 24, 2014
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I have a new client that is leaving their previous agency and the previous agency is holding their Google Analytics account hostage. They have added us as a user with limited permissions but will not allow us to keep the Google Analytics account once the transition is final. I have never really looked into this, but who really owns a site's Google Analytics data? Is it legal for someone to hold it hostage?

Does it depend on how the contract is written? Or does Google always own it? Or does the client by default? If anyone has any articles or experience with this, please do share.

Thank you!
 

Phil Rozek

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Hey Danielle,

I don't know for sure, partly because I've never researched that question, but based on my experiences I would say the only question is: who owns the Google account?

Google owns all the data, so the only variable is whose Google account holds the reins.

If GA was set up in a Google account the agency controlled, and the agency doesn't want to cough up access, the client is out of luck (as far as I know).

But if the agency got access to a Google account that the client set up, or if the agency set up a Google account for both the agency and the client to use, then of course that's murkier.

I suspect Google doesn't make recovery options really well-known mainly because it's so easy to reinstall GA (though usually that's at the expense of older data).

This post may help: How To Recover Your Google Analytics Account - Jeffalytics
 

Rich Owings

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JoshuaMackens

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dannanelli

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May 24, 2014
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@Phil Rozek Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. That article you shared was helpful. We have filled out a form asking Google for help so we shall see what happens.

I was curious if an agency was allowed to hold the data hostage and I guess the answer is not black and white; it depends on who created the account and the purpose of it. I was hoping that Google would view the client as the owner since it's for their website but what you said makes sense.

@Rich Owings Thank you for sharing that link. I'm sure many will find it useful. :)
 

Cherie Dickey

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Wow @Rich Owings - That's a great find! I also had no idea...Thanks!
 

Rich Owings

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I'm glad folks are finding it useful. It's been available for a long time, but you used to have to go through Google Ads support to start the process, which was really problematic if the client wasn't using Google Ads!
 

Susan

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Aug 15, 2014
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Tony Wang

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Oct 13, 2014
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I can confirm what Rich posted, I just went through this recently. Client was not using Ads, just analytics. As along as you can prove ownership of the website, you're good. Google contacted agency and after 2 days of no reply, they gave it over to me. And I'm pretty sure the agency set it up originally, it wasn't under the business owner.
 

Rich Owings

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As far as I can tell, it doesn't matter whether it was an agency or owner. Once you have access, you can drop other users, which may be a good idea if the agency was an obstacle to access.
 

Jen Currier

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Sep 18, 2018
Messages
8
Hey Danielle,

I don't know for sure, partly because I've never researched that question, but based on my experiences I would say the only question is: who owns the Google account?

Google owns all the data, so the only variable is whose Google account holds the reins.

If GA was set up in a Google account the agency controlled, and the agency doesn't want to cough up access, the client is out of luck (as far as I know).

But if the agency got access to a Google account that the client set up, or if the agency set up a Google account for both the agency and the client to use, then of course that's murkier.

I suspect Google doesn't make recovery options really well-known mainly because it's so easy to reinstall GA (though usually that's at the expense of older data).

This post may help: How To Recover Your Google Analytics Account - Jeffalytics
Great resource from Jeff Sauer - thank you @Phil Rozek
 

Jen Currier

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Sep 18, 2018
Messages
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