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How does the AOL system affect site statistics?

I'm dazed and confused

     
12:51 pm on Jan 26, 2001 (gmt 0)

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Hopefully somebody out there has a clear understanding of this topic as the more I think about it the more involved it becomes.

This is how I see things:

1) A person using AOL requests a page from my server.
2) Multiple AOL spiders come and grab the HTML, images etc.
3) The AOL proxy them serves them the page.
4) The next time an AOL surfer views the page they recieve the cached version.

I can see how this would influence number of hits - multiple spiders will increase hit number if only 1 person views a page, but reduce it if many people view the same page.

How does this system affect session numbers?
What about referer information?

Please correct my outline above if it is not accurate, I'd really like to know what really goes on.

8:27 pm on Jan 26, 2001 (gmt 0)

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As you can imagine, we've had numerous discussions about tracking visitors. Take a look at skirril's post in the thread at [webmasterworld.com...] and follow the link mentioned to this doc [analog.cx]. It addresses the problems with tracking visitors in general and mentions some of the specific problems with AOL. It should answer most of your questions.
3:33 am on Jan 30, 2001 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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What you are looking for, can best be found at:

[webmaster.aol.com...]

They won't cache a .cgi? page with a question mark in it (session numbers). However, I was surprised to see they will cache some types of cookies.

 

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