Web Analytics Needs Standards Bad

 

Is the Web Analytics Association doing anything? I am not being sarcastic, I really do not know. What I do know is that when you install any Web analytics program, each one will report different numbers. Today, I installed an open source analytics program named AW Stats just to test this. AW Stats reported about three times the level of daily visitors then Urchin 5.7. Even Urchin 5.7 compared to Urchin 3.0 reported widely different visitor counts. We need standardization.

In the mean time, if you are a publisher and you want to inflate your visitor counts, simply demo all the analytics programs and see which one produces the highest visitor count. Then tell your potential advertiser that figure. I hear Bryan Eisenberg, one of the founders of the Web Analytics Association, will be on Webmaster Radio: Wizards of Web today at 12:00 EST. Well that was an hour and 45 minutes ago, so maybe I missed it. Would have been a good question to ask.

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Comments:

Blair Miller

05/23/2005 07:42 pm

Not that I don't agree with you, but don't be so quick to blame AWStats. We had a similar issue with our installation of AWStats after we made some changes to what information was being collected in the Apache log files. Over the next month, it appeared as though the number of hits we were receiving was cut in half. Turns out, a huge part of this had to do with the way Internet Explorer requests a PDF file from the server, essentially grabbing one or two pages at a time, and creating 10-12 log entries in a row. Because we weren't collecting very much information for each log entry, AWStats assumed that EACH of these requests (by the same user) was a distinct hit... Once we started collecting more information, it was able to discern the one-after-another hits as Explorer being a piece of junk (the PDF plugin, actually, but I'll not resist calling IE a piece of junk, given the opportunity) and started reporting more accurate (though also more disappointing) statistics. You can find more info here, and then Google/Yahoo your way to the rest: http://www.caucho.com/support/resin-interest/0212/0360.html

Barry Schwartz

05/23/2005 10:28 pm

Not putting blame on a specific program, I didn't mean to at least. There is no doubt that there are large differences in all stats programs based on how they measure a "unique" visitor. They are never a 100% accurate nor do I expect them to be. But even look at the link to the urchin 5.7 to 3.0 comparison.

George Smith

05/24/2005 12:01 pm

Have you tried <a href="http://www.nettrackerlite.com">NetTracker Lite</a>?

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