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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
    I am checking something out and need to know how to tell the difference beween say a linkshare impression cookie and a tracking cookie.
    Can anyone help?

  2. #2
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    The Swamp

    Sending you a pm.

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
    got it and replied..thanks

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador
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    January 17th, 2005
    Can you post the answer here, I am curious too....

  5. #5
    Join Date
    February 28th, 2005
    There are several ways to track visitors to a website. Unfortunately depending on the method deployed the results can be drastically dissimilar. A example of inaccurate results are the packages that just take into account 'hits'. Often times these packages just look at how many times someone 'hits' your site and can be fooled by someone just hot linking an image off your site. Another example of what inflates the results using this method would be if you had 5 images being called from your site, your stats would show 5 hits. This of course isn't accurate because every person that hits your index page will display all 5 of those images. In theory, using this method you'll show 5 times the users visiting your site than actually exist.

    Tracking is a very useful tool to determine performance if exactly the same tool is used to interpret the performance of one or more sites. For tracking based on server log files, it's also very important to have the same type of logging on all sites that are compared with one another. In addition, the following also needs to be taken into account when comparing multiple site performance or multiple tracking products:

    1) What is considered a page view? Some systems only consider a visitor as having a page view once a user has viewed the page for at least 30 seconds.

    2) What are considered unique visitors? In the case of cookie based tracking, is the system set to have their cookie expire immediately upon closing? Is it set to expire 30 days from the time the browser is closed? 24 hours? Is the cookie set to have no expiration?

    Often times a visitor refers to a distinct IP address that visits a website. Unfortunately this isn't a foolproof method of tracking due to users visiting through proxies, firewalls, etc. Using IP address tracking it particularly thrown off for users of AOL due to the complex proprietary proxying AOL uses. To put it simply, when a user is connected through AOL, each click from the user is likely to come from a completely different IP address than the click before. If this isn't taken into account, lesser tracking products can artificially inflate AOL visitors.

    For IP address tracking, there are ways to combat the above. The IP address, cookies, session ID's, browser/platform, and UserAGent string information can all be combined in an attempt to track the user as accurately as possible through the duration of their visit. This way is very accurate for tracking most users. Although this doesn't solve the problem with AOL users, it considerably increases the accuracy of tracking these users.

    As accurate as this method can be, two systems both using this method rarely show the same traffic due in part to other variables such as the following:

    Cookie based tracking:

    Cookies are basically a piece of text that a server can store on a users computer for later retrieval. Several pieces of information can be stored in this cookie. Some will just store a UserID and others will store the first time you hit the site and every subsequent visit after that point. One of the biggest advantages to cookies with regards to tracking unique visitors is a visitor can be assigned a unique UserID when he visits a site. This cookie will be completely unaffected by the previous talked about proxy/firewall limitations because this ID will be unique regardless of the IP address the user came from. In a cookie based affiliate system, a cookie is set when you hit the initial site or order form, then is retrieved later on after you hit the confirmation page.

    There are 2 popular ways to track via cookies.

    3rd-party cookies
    A 3rd-party cookie is a piece of javascript code that resides on someone else's server. The javascript code is embedded on every page that needs to be tracked. There a few disadvantages with cookie based tracking, the largest disadvantage is with 3rd-party cookies. Many web browsers, including the newest Microsoft Internet Explorer throw up a security message when a 3rd-party cookie is requested.

    1st-party cookies
    A 1st-party cookie is a piece of javascript code that resides on the same server as the site. This has the same advantages as the 3rd-party cookie, but it lacks the 3rd-party cookies fatal flaw of throwing a security message within the browser.

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