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From "Leif W" <warp-...@usa.net>
Subject Re: [users@httpd] What is unique? Access stats and IP's
Date Fri, 05 Sep 2003 16:03:02 GMT
Ditto to the points Joshua and Bill made.  I've seen the problem of trying
to identify unique visitors from the perspective of a shopping cart
application.  The application programmer lost many nights sleep working out
the intricacies of a home-brew solution, which in the end was maybe 95% at
best.  You've got to try cookies, server-side credentials (i.e. logins), URL
tokens (but they can be bookmarked or linked URLs), IPs, server-side session
timeouts (all imposed in the application), client-side session timeouts
(cookies, expires, etc.).  There were even more intricate checks going on
which I was not privvy to.  The case of a shopping cart being able to
uniquely identify a new, or returning visitor is in some regards more
critical than generating stats.  The problem that occured sometimes was the
case of incorrect recognition, and revealing of private data to the wrong
party or parties.

Generating a state-layer on top or outside of a fundamentally stateless
protocol is not a trivial matter and is at best only an estimation.

Leif

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Eric Frazier" <ef@kwinternet.com>
To: <users@httpd.apache.org>
Sent: Thursday, September 04, 2003 8:49 PM
Subject: [users@httpd] What is unique? Access stats and IP's


> Hi,
>
> I just wanted to get an opinon. When you consider the idea of a unique
> vistor, the brain dead way of doing that is to say, one IP one visitor, or
> one cookie one visitor. But aside from cookies, when using IP address, you
> do have to take into account that a vistior from an IP address at 8AM may
> very well not be the same vistor as at 8PM because they are both behind
the
> same firewall/proxy. So one option is to consider that every unique ip
> address within an hour is considered to be a unique vistor. But that seems
> off as well because then if you compare overall stats and compare the
number
> of unique vistors by sorting by unique IP daily, vs the number of unique
> vistors by sorting the IP hourly, the daily number can be like 3 times
more
> than the hourly. So now I am starting to wonder, are we really just left
to
> using cookies for this? What bugs me about that is the stats I see from
our
> sites for Javascript turned off in browsers is actualy pretty high, so if
JS
> is off, I would not at all be shocked to see cookies being rejected as
well.
>
> Maybe the only way is a hybrid of if the cookie was rejected then consider
> the ip, but if there was a cookie for that connection then ignore any IP
data.
>
> If any of the above makes sense to you, and you have an opinon about it I
> would love to hear it.
>
>
> Thanks,
>
> Eric
>
> (250) 655 - 9513 (PST Time Zone)
>
> "Inquiry is fatal to certainty." -- Will Durant
>
>
>
>
>
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>



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