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#1 rrmccabe

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Posted 16 October 2002 - 04:27 PM

I have been playing the log analyzers for the last 2 months and always end up walking away frustrated because one is just perfect but... it doesn't do one thing.

One thing I would like to see that does not show up often is the ability to see the path the visitor used when viewing the site. Page a to c to e, etc.

I tried out that hits tracker deal that webposition uses and that was really nice, but I was afraid to add all the extra script code to highly optimized pages.

Wusage has some nice features but the interface is so poorly designed it is hard to use.

This will be used to view either downloaded log files or view them via FTP protocol.

Any suggestions?

Rich

#2 Guest_PhilC_*

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Posted 16 October 2002 - 04:37 PM

Hi Rich,

I was chatting about this with Ammon recently. He doesn't know of a good one, but I'll let him tell you that himself ;)

If you do come across one, be sure to let us know and we'll add it to the Resources Zone.

Phil.

#3 ricka

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Posted 16 October 2002 - 08:48 PM

I thought Ammon's JavaScript cookie thingy did that: http://www.webmarket...e-tracking.html

#4 Black_Knight

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Posted 17 October 2002 - 04:01 AM

I thought Ammon's JavaScript cookie thingy did that: http://www.webmarket...e-tracking.html


No, the tracking cookie is designed to track one thing only - ROI - in that it tracks each sale back to the original referral (up to 90 days prior to the sale). Even then, it is more of a guide to trends, since neither cookies nor JavaScript are 100 percent supported.

I was chatting about this with Ammon recently. He doesn't know of a good one, but I'll let him tell you that himself


Absolutely true. The tracker from WebSiteStory / HitBox displays the paths through the site, but is still very limited. Also, people with privacy concerns have done a lot to block web-tracking solutions because they are so often over-used.

Side note: CEXX.org leads users to very simply install a pre-formatted HOSTS file for windows that blocks almost all adverts and all widespread web-bugs (by telling windows that the domain they are on has the ip address of 127.0.0.1).

The best known and respected log analysers include:
Analog FREE. Combine with Report Magic for best results.
Funnel Web Analyser
FastStats
WebTrends
NetTracker (very powerful but expensive)

Do read the information at http://www.analog.cx...s/webworks.html about what tracking can realistically do, and more importantly, what it cannot do.
For example, with any reliability (and without cache-busting which can dramatically slow your site and still isn't 100 percent)...
You can't tell the identity of your readers.
You can't tell how many visitors you've had.
You can't tell how many visits you've had.
Cookies don't solve these problems.
You can't follow a person's path through your site.
You often can't tell where they entered your site, or where they found out about you from.
You can't tell how long people spent reading each page.
You can't tell how long people spent on your site.

#5 altyfc

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Posted 24 October 2002 - 05:47 PM

Hi Rich,

Have a look at my sig. The deluxe version of the tracking device does what you describe and can be monitored online in realtime.

#6 rrmccabe

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Posted 24 October 2002 - 10:25 PM

Well altyfc I was somewhat interested but your site is very misleading so I think I will pass.

The page http://www.web-stat....ex.shtml?id=332 talks about "Web-Stat comes in two flavors "free 30-day demo and full registered version"
and states $5 per month over and over again. Shows some sample stats including click path analysis.

It is not until you get to the end of the sign up page it lets you know that the service starts at $5 and goes up to $9.50 for the service you show in the example on the $5 page.

Please feel free to correct me if I am wrong but this is very misleading. Even though $9.50 is not to bad, I do not like the bait and switch routine.

Rich

#7 altyfc

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Posted 03 November 2002 - 03:13 PM

Yes, that's correct. That's why I stress "the deluxe version"...

#8 atapi

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Posted 13 October 2004 - 12:50 AM

This may sound strange but I love phplive.
Its supports referal tracking, tells you how many people are on your site and it can let you watch where they are on your site. By leaving this running I can tell where the client came from and get a real feel of how someone accesses the site. I find that logs are cold. But watching people live tells you the story.
They also have ad tracking built in.

#9 webmater

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Posted 19 November 2004 - 07:09 AM

That Funnel Web Analyser link above is dead.

#10 bwelford

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Posted 19 November 2004 - 07:24 AM

Funnel Web Analyzer can be downloaded via this website
http://www.funnelwebcentral.com/

I find this excellent and it does show quite a deal of information on paths that visitors took through the website. I use it every day and it does a great job for what it attempts to do. Since it's free, you can't beat it on ROI. :P

#11 Black_Knight

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Posted 20 November 2004 - 12:29 AM

Since it's free, you can't beat it on ROI

Ooh, careful there, Barry, as that's a common misconception. That if the investment is zero then it must have maximum ROI. However, consider the following:

I have a tool that was free that allows me to make an extra $2,000 per month. As you say, that's great ROI. However, another tool that I know of costs $2,000 but allows me to make an extra $3,000 per month rather than just $2,000 extra (so, it performs 50 percent better).

Over two months, the tools both have the same ROI in bottom-line profit terms (one made me $4,000 extra profit with no investment, while the other made me $6,000 extra profit minus the $2,000 the tool cost, for $4,000 total profit). But once past the 2 months, the tool that cost $2,000 has paid off the investment and is now 50% more profitable than the free tool. Which really offered the higher return on investment? Depends on timescales, but in the mid to long term, the one that cost offers a much higher ROI. :)

#12 bwelford

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Posted 20 November 2004 - 06:25 AM

Sorry, Ammon, I'm a mathematician. For me ROI is a ratio. Dividing something by nothing gives you Infinity. I've always liked Infinity. ;)

#13 Black_Knight

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Posted 21 November 2004 - 02:41 AM

Interesting idea, Barry. An example of the phrase: "there are lies, damn lies, and statistics!"

For me, Return on Investment is amount the amount of return you get for your investment. Getting a return of $2k on an investment of nothing isn't as good as getting a return of $5k on an investment of $1k. That's not just because the real world profit is obviously higher.

I can multiply a $5k investment by 2 and get twice the return, but you know what happens when you multiply nothing - you still just get nothing.

#14 bwelford

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Posted 21 November 2004 - 06:46 AM

Ain't that just the truth. :P

#15 wmflan

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Posted 02 December 2004 - 07:21 PM

Returning for a moment to B_Ks post of 1Sept in this thread, and the sobering article by Stephen Turner at www.analog.cx, I ask the question: If the only thing you can know for certain is requests, what are the Web Statistics people sellling us? I've been playing with the (intriguing) trial from ClickTracks (nod>B_K), but I wonder if this material is made-up? It's made more confusing by the fact that the article's author is linked to (works for, owns...) ClickTracks. How do the members reconcile this?

#16 Black_Knight

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Posted 04 December 2004 - 06:30 AM

Talking about stats in terms of tracking helps to reconcile what happens. Go to an area of land and you will not find the tracks of every creature that ever passed over that land. Tracks can be obscured, and not all passing creatures leave tracks.

So tracking is always giving only a partial picture, and not necessarily a representative one. However, it's all you have. It is usually more than enough to help you succeed.

Many things are partial-pictures, imprecise and not always representative. We plan ahead with no true prescience, no idea when we might be ill, have an accident, be subject to chance events, nor even when we may eventually die. However, people who plan ahead most often prove far more effective than those who do not.

Tracking solutions will not tell you everything. But those who use them effectively are usually a lot better off than those who do not.

Hope that helps somewhat.

#17 A.N.Onym

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 06:35 AM

In a quest for a detailed log analyzer, I stumbled on this thread and wanted to remind everyone of this discussion, enlightened by Ammon.

Edited by A.N.Onym, 29 July 2008 - 06:37 AM.


#18 iamlost

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 12:05 PM

Thanks, Yura.

There is a wealth of information in the Cre8 archives. Great idea to highlight something from the past uncovered during research. From the tech depths of four eons millenia centuries years ago. :)

I have found an interesting parallel in the mindset of good stats analysts and real world trackers. By looking at what is there now, how it moves/changes over time, and knowing the terrain/site they can often make leaps of intuition/imagination and actually 'arrive' ahead of the person being followed.

Often it is not which tool that is best so much as how one uses what one has.

Off Topic offtopic
Note to Kim: consider publishing The Book of Ammon Johns or The Wisdom of the Black_Knight. Or both :)




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