The New Face of Web Analytics - A Paradigm Shift
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Until recently Web statistics have been generated by parsing raw Web logs. There are several disadvantages to this approach:
- Time and resources consumption. On a larger website, the amount of sheer processing power required to analyze log files necessitates an additional server simply for that purpose. And depending on the processing schedule, these stats can be anywhere from a day to a week behind.
- Unreliability. Log files track users by their IP addresses. In todayís world, where ISPs pool IP addresses and proxy servers cache data to serve to multiple users, this is simply unacceptable. Trending algorithms can only guess at usersí paths and sessions by a text trail of IP logs. And a thousand people may be viewing your website from a cache on the proxy, leaving you with information on only one hit from the proxy server itself!
- Partiality. There is really only so much information that a server can detect and record from a visitor. A few minor browser details can be seen, and the pages that are viewed. Nothing can be detected from the clientís perspective that tells what he or she does while on a particular page.
Coming of age however, is the on-demand, hosted ASP Web analytics technology platform. Not only does this technology answer the limitations of log file solutions, but it also provides for a far more advanced, insightful perspective of Web users. Iíll provide a brief explanation of how this technology works, and the remainder of the article will be dedicated to a vendor-neutral explanation of the features and benefits of these systems.
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