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%s customers are browsing here now
Do you think this is a good idea?
Morgenhund




msg:630694
 9:49 am on Dec 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

I wonder whether putting on pages "... customers are shopping here now" is a good idea or not?

Pros:
- it might persuade customers this is a popilar and "crowded" site
- when Google indexing pages, this may show pretty numbers :)

Cons:
- some customers might think you are not honest with these numbers
- might reveal your competitors some data for analisys

So what people do you think?

 

Raymond




msg:630695
 10:11 am on Dec 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

might reveal your competitors some data for analisys

Just this alone is bad enough. Revealing any of your statistics to your competitors is a bad idea.

Just my 2 cents.

Corey Bryant




msg:630696
 12:10 pm on Dec 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Stats were popular back in the late 1990s. I think in this day and age, most merchants want to keep as much information as confidential as possible.

-Corey

Leosghost




msg:630697
 12:17 pm on Dec 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

don't

Morgenhund




msg:630698
 1:02 pm on Dec 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Kewl :)

One of my competitors does this.

It would be nice to gather and track this data... if they did not have a simple counter on their pages as well. Why bother gathering? :)

pageoneresults




msg:630699
 1:07 pm on Dec 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

I wonder whether putting on pages "... customers are shopping here now" is a good idea or not?

Personally, I think it is a great idea. I've done it on a couple of sites that I manage. Actually it is a little simpler and we just show the current visitors on the site (not on a specific page). The clients liked it after I showed it to them and I explained the pros and cons. Both client were like; "Who cares what the competition sees. If and when they catch up to us, maybe then I'll worry about it."

There is very little data someone can extract from a number that show visitors on the site. In fact, the only data they can see is how many visitors are on the site, period. Per page might be a little different as then someone could determine which pages are the high traffic ones and start to disseminate them. These are things I typically don't worry about. If a competitor has that sort of time and money on their hands, go for it. Analyzing a single page isn't going to do much for them as there are hundreds, if not thousands of other pages that all impact that one page. ;)

Morgenhund




msg:630700
 1:21 pm on Dec 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

pageoneresults:

Theoretically, it can be a huge threat.

Imagine the following scenario:
1. Your competitor has a counter on their page.
2. Time to time, they make AD campaigns (for example, you noticed they hang out their banner on a higly visited and expensive for ADs news portal).
3. Comparing amount of visitors before, during and after comapign, you might consider, which type of AD campaign brings how many visitors?

Approximately knowing conversion ratios, you might even calculate amount of extra orders generated by every special campaign!

Thus, you have a great chance to calculate possible ROI and effectivenes of every campaign type, without making expensive experiments -- actually, without spending a single cent.

pageoneresults




msg:630701
 1:26 pm on Dec 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Theoretically, it can be a huge threat.

Personally I don't think it is a threat. And, you can manually adjust the numbers. I can set it so the site looks like it has 1,000 visitors on it. That wouldn't be much help for the competition would it? It's a sub-conscious thing for visitors only. The competitors can do what they wish with it. ;)

Comparing amount of visitors before, during and after comapign, you might consider, which type of AD campaign brings how many visitors?

Do you actually have that kind of time on your hands? Is it worth it? As I mentioned above, the data could be skewed purposely to prevent just that type of thing.

Morgenhund




msg:630702
 1:54 pm on Dec 23, 2005 (gmt 0)


Personally I don't think it is a threat. And, you can manually adjust the numbers. I can set it so the site looks like it has 1,000 visitors on it.

1. If this is a linear adjustment (get_visitors_num() + 1000), what I am almost sure most programmers [would] do in this situation, it still can reveal change of visitors number. If that campaign gives them 500 more visitors, you still are able to notice that they have 500 visitors more, unless they are so sophisticated that use some non-linear algo :)
2. I've even seen external counters on some pages. They are not so easy to fake, and even handier to track.

Do you actually have that kind of time on your hands?

It can be automated to watch visitors surpluss and pull trigger exploring backlinks in G., for example.

Is it worth it?

It depends. If I am thinking about spending $300 + VAT pro day on that banner, I'd prefer to know how many extra visitors I would have. Preferable before I spend half of my AD budget there.

pageoneresults




msg:630703
 2:03 pm on Dec 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Comparing amount of visitors before, during and after comapign, you might consider, which type of AD campaign brings how many visitors?

Okay, after you spent the time to automate the process of doing this and you've captured your first dataset, what are you going to do with that data? How is it going to help you? And, what if the counter is inaccurate? What if the webmaster is doing something like this...

if application("currentusers") < 1000 then
currentusers = application("currentusers") + 1500
else
currentusers = application("currentusers")
end if

Personally I just think the fear is unfounded. Some of the stat programs you refer to I've seen and I seriously doubt that the data is that accurate.

What if the counter is so basic in nature that it cannot determine a real visitor from a bot? What if the counter is... What if the counter is...

I do believe the added benefit (for visitors) outweighs any concerns I would have in advertising the number of visitors on a site. If the site is popular, or in the process of becoming popular, those little sub-conscious messages to visitors play an important part. :)

madmac




msg:630704
 2:09 pm on Dec 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

what benefit is it to visitors to show a counter?

Some kind of collaborative filtering would be much more useful to them. For example, if they are on one area, show them other areas that were popular among people who most visited the area they are on. That is going to be far more useful to a visitor than showing them how many people are on the site.

Morgenhund




msg:630705
 2:12 pm on Dec 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Of course, this might be not so trivial :)

But now I seriously think it is better to fake that information not from the number of real visitors, but rather based on time of day and year, or even better: weather forecasting :)

jdancing




msg:630706
 2:14 pm on Dec 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

pageoneresults,

Most webmasters don't know what to do with their own detailed visitor logs let alone extrapolating some type of useful information from your 'now visiting' number.

JD

BradleyT




msg:630707
 4:24 pm on Dec 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Just multiply the true visitor count by 3.5 and you'll be good to go (although be sure to round up and not show a half a visitor).

otc_cmnn




msg:630708
 6:38 pm on Dec 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Old and cheesy - Been there done that. I never believe the numbers when I see them on other sites. It makes me think of the cheezy javascript snowflakes that were so popular 5 years ago.

We have built a great "Who is Online" tool in our admin area which lets us seeing how many people are really shopping, what pages they are on, how long the have been shopping, what is in their cart, etc etc. This is useful - a number on a page is not.

There are lots of more effective ways to make your site look popular and well used.

e.g.
- Have customer written reviews for your products. Looks cheesy when their are few but looks GREAT when there are lots. Even simple star ratings instead of written ones. Showing 379 people rated this product looks GREAT!

- Have a section for "Happy Customers" use title like
"what are our 100,000+ Happy customers saying about us"
And show a few random customer feedbacks.

Any other ideas?

Automan Empire




msg:630709
 6:15 am on Dec 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Instead of Visitors Online Now, how about just a total number of visitors counter? Yes, this has become commonplace, but big numbers there can be impressive, yet be harder for competitors to extrapolate useful data. Suppose the number is updated regularly, but is time-delayed by, say, a month. The most sophisticated automatic stat-gleaner tuned to your site by a competitor is still bound to the GIGO law- garbage in, garbage out. Let them correlate last month's results to this month's totally different campaign unknowingly. Let them think your killer campaign is a non-performer, after losing revenue trying to copy you. Call it webmaster judo.
Visitor counters don't have to be boring. A computer website counts visitors in decimal, octal, and hexadecimal- gotta love that kind of creativity all the way to the bank!

takeover




msg:630710
 6:42 am on Dec 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

I would only reccomend using a "users online display" if you receive high volume of traffic. It will make people feel more secure that 100+ customers are online with them. We have used in the past and our customers liked it.

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