A logo that says "Butter" in yellow text and "Cleaner URLs with the click of a butt-on" in a smaller blue text.

Butter URL cleaner

Why share an ugly URL that is packed with UTM codes, tracking info, and other crap when you could share a URL with the word “butt” instead?

With the Butter extension for Chrome, you can wipe that crap away with the click of button. This cheeky extension replaces tracking tokens from a URL and replace them with the word “butts”.

a screenshot from Chrome that shows a long url that is packed with tracking tokens. The Butter Chrome extension is also visible on the right side of the URL bar. Underneath the URL is a pop up message that has a cleaned up version of the URL. Instead of all the tracking info, it has a "?ref=butts" on the end of the URL.

Once the Butter extension is installed and activated in your Chrome browser, it will light up when it detects that you are on a URL with a UTM code. Simply click on the Butter extension and it will copy a shortened URL to your clipboard.

Download the extension and try it on this pages’ URL.

“What is a UTM code?”

UTM codes are snippets of code attached to the end of a URL. These codes are usually used to help marketers track who is visiting a site and where they are coming from. For example, if you click almost any link from a Facebook post, you might see a strange URL that looks like this: https://docpop.org/butter/?fbclid=tHbpBptHpt&tracking=d3rp
In the above example, the “?” signals that a string of UTM parameters will follow. The “fbclid” is the name of the first parameter being tracked. In this case, it’s a UTM parameter that Facebook adds to outbound URLs. Then there’s a “=” sign followed by “tHbpBptHpt” which is a unique tracking token that would fall into the “fbclid” parameter. Sometimes UTMs can contain multiple tracking codes, in which case a “&” is used to indicate the end of one code and the beginning of the next. These UTM codes are usually only used for tracking and are not needed for the URL to function correctly. Butter scans URLs for tracking codes, then replaces the unique tracking token with “butts”, so when Facebook are checking their UTM analytics, they’ll see “butts” instead of a unique ID.

“What if I like UTMs?”

Hey, that’s cool. I love Fernet, but I know some people hate it. The goal is to give consumers more control over the links they share. Butter only removes UTM codes when you choose to use the extension.

“Can I use a word other than ‘butts’ instead?”

No. Next question.

“Why ‘butts’?”

Imagine a dark smokey room filled with marketers. They’ve been up for days working on their latest campaign and are finally seeing the results in real time. One of them points at the screen and another nods positively before taking a long drag off their cigarette before rolling their chair closer to a nearby printer that is constantly printing. The marketer does a double take, then drops their cigarette to the floor. They rip a sheet from the printer and bring it closer to their sweaty face. “You guys” they say, “why does this UTM code say ‘butts’?” Doesn’t that sound fun? I thought so.

“What was the inspiration for Butter?”

Remember when stores started pushing users to sign up for membership cards? The cards were the only way to get special deals at stores like Safeway and Walgreens, but they were also used to track consumers. So friends of mine would occasionally swap cards with each other just to confuse the marketers. Butter is a throwback to those days of swapping membership cards and giving power back to consumers.

“Where is the source code?”

Butter is on GitHub. If you have any contributions you’d like to make, I’d appreciate it. In particular, I feel like the code could be streamlined a little more. It also seems to ask for permission on a per-site basis, but I’d prefer if the user could grant permission for all sites they visit with just one click.