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Page tagging technology..



3:51 pm on Jun 19, 2001 (gmt 0)

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I am investigating a method of statistics generation known as page tagging. As opposed to log file analysis, this involves the placement of a JavaScript at the bottom of each HTML page of a web site that you want to track visits to.

I believe Webtrends Live is one product that uses this method.

Just wondered if anyone has any comments on this method of reporting compared to log file analysis with regard accuracy / pro's con's etc.

Many thanks for your time.

4:09 pm on June 19, 2001 (gmt 0)

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Hi Borny, welcome to WmW.

The biggest downfall is no logging of non-javascript visitors.

I have used image/JS based counters in the past, and found them to bog down the page download time. However, these were widely used, free counters, which I'm sure had a lot to do with it.

If your page is in one big table, nothing renders until all externals are pulled. - Can be a big problem with these type of trackers.

However, if you are handling this on your own server, it might work out just fine, if you don't care about not logging non-JS visits.

6:13 pm on June 19, 2001 (gmt 0)

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been there - and i am in the middle of it (not my choice!)
Don't do it, all i can say is don't do it. I have to work with a another company who is placing "tracer tags" on my pages to track users. basically, it is javascript calling a blank image from their server. It has caused more problems and I will start huffing if I get into it right now. Best bet is look at your logs and use a database that allows tracking parameters.


9:03 am on June 20, 2001 (gmt 0)

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Hi Guys,

Many thanks for your replies, just what I was after.

6:14 pm on June 26, 2001 (gmt 0)

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In Denmark most major commercial sites use a system from RedSherrif that is scripting based too. I have used it in my work for some of the big portals here and I can only agree to what have been stated before: I sucks (sorry, but it do!)

1) You need to be 110% sure that you have ALL pages correctly tagged. If you miss one then the stats from that page is lost forever. There is no way to get it back. I have yet to se a single major site that can prove a 100% tagging rate - even with an agrssive "syntax-crawler" on a 24 hour hunt for mistakes. There will ALWAYS be mistakes.

2) The script add another server connection to each page. If you run banners too (usually from some kind of ad server) then you have at least 3 connections for each page. If just ONE of the servers is down or slow then that pages will stall. More server connections = more headache :-)

3) If the service provider you use mess up the system then you loose valuable stats. Even with RedSherrif (that is NOT cheap!) this happends now and then and when it do you will be loosing important stats for the day. If that day is in the middle of some campaign then it can be very "expensive".

4) Usually these systems is only updated every 3 hours, so you will never get "real" real time stats this way. Even though you dont need real time access to logs or stats every day, now and then it is nice to be able to pull last minutes logs if you need it.

5) You only have the repporting types that THEY choose to set up. You can't define new repport types or change or manipulate them in any way. Not even the small things you can do with WT is possible here :(

I only see one good thing about RedSherrif the way we use it in Denmark: We all use it! That way you can compare stats from one site to another - not from guessing, not from a panel, but from all the real traffic.

You can see the Danish stats here:

The way I see it, RedSherrif - and most similar trackers - are repporting tools used to run official stats. That's what it's good for. It is NOT a traffic analysis tool. You need far more flexibility then what it provides - if you ask me, that is ... :)


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