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From Rob Weir <>
Subject Re: [WWW] Web analytics
Date Sat, 13 Aug 2011 01:42:00 GMT
On Fri, Aug 12, 2011 at 8:52 PM, Gavin McDonald <> wrote:
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Rob Weir []
>> Sent: Saturday, 13 August 2011 8:31 AM
>> To:
>> Subject: Re: [WWW] Web analytics
> <snip>
>> Any web analytics package is going to track IP address and store a cookie.
>> That is how it knows what country you are from and whether you are a new
>> or a returning user.
> These days cookies are not reliable enough for analytics to produce accurate data.
> Lots of users these days have Anti-Virus programs running, Windows has it build in
> these days. These programs are trained to consider cookies as low risk but at the
> same time allow the user to delete cookies.
> Personally, I'll be treated as a new visitor to the site every week as far as analytics
> is concerned, as that is how often I clean out my cookies.

And that's fine.  There will always be a level of background noise in
the data.  Other factors include users who share machines, or users
that have multiple machines.  Because of that we shouldn't put much
credence in absolute numbers.  The interesting thing is the change in
numbers, the variation from the baseline.

For example, imagine we see a sudden spike in new visitors (or what
the analytic thinks are new users).  When that happens, is certainly
possible that this was just caused by a large number of repeat
visitors at the same time suddenly installing anti-virus that cleans
out their cookies on a weekly basis.  That is not impossible.  But the
more likely explanation is that we actually did have a spike in new

>From marketing perspective we can use this kind of info to gauge the
effectiveness of different outreach techniques.

> Gav...

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