What is 'wrong' with having counters?

  • rtchar
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I have noticed that several times in the past, contributors have put down sites that display counters.

OK ... I agree that counters displaying "customers served" like some kind of hamburger store are not very useful. At times I don't even believe the numbers are factual. :)

However, I am really starting to enjoy third party topsite counters.

When you go to a site that is trying to sell advertising, you usually see some statement about how many visitors they are receiving monthly or yearly. How many are independantly verifiable ---> NONE.

I think if you are serious about selling space on a site there **should** be some kind counter proving your claims.
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  • madmonk
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but using the display counters can be misleading too. ie. I can spam and add shameless plugs in forums and other high traffic online places, hence my traffic can significantly increase for the month or so... if i am shameless enough....
  • Bigwebmaster
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I agree with madmonk. Those third party counters can still easily be manipulated so its still hard to trust.
  • rtchar
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Post 3+ Months Ago

That is true ... I gotta remember the 'criminal elements' out there.

Guess I am just not devious enough to think of these things. :lol:

Those problems could be easily detected.

The real question is ... would webmasters really want verifiable statistics?
  • madmonk
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Post 3+ Months Ago

yeah, i should think so.
  • phaugh
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If I were buying advertising on a site I would want to see the raw logs from the server. This will give you exact traffic information as well as where the traffic is comming from. Having a billion visitors a month is no good if they are not looking for what you are offering. Being able to see the search terms used to get to the site you are advertising on will be invaluable.
  • Axe
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Aside from the fact that, as has been said, they're easy to fake.. What good does it do?

If you've got a low number, people are just going to think it's a crap site that nobody visits, so they go elsewhere. If you've got a high number, people are going to think you're just showing off, and go elsewhere.

Your visitors knowing how many other people visit the site isn't important, as long as you know :)
  • rtchar
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Quote:
I would want to see the raw logs


Good luck ... if they even know what you are talking about, not everyone has access to raw logs. Then you are assuming they would actually give them to you.

Quote:
a billion visitors a month is no good if they are not looking for what you are offering


Agreed ... but isn't that what your ad or link is supposed to do, qualify potential customers?

The point is that every time I have been approached, the first question that comes to mind is "What's in it for me?".

Is there a reliable way of determining where to put ad dollars? Short of shelling out and measuring results after the fact.
  • dyefade
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Post 3+ Months Ago

rtchar wrote:
Good luck ... if they even know what you are talking about, not everyone has access to raw logs. Then you are assuming they would actually give them to you.

I would think any site with enough traffic to warrant paying for adverising on will have logs available.

IMO, it just looks amateurish to have a counter. What commerical/popular sites have them? I can't think of any off hand.
  • rtchar
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Quote:
What commerical/popular sites have them?

Every single one of them. :lol:

Just because you can't see them doesn't mean they are not there!

Cookies are just another form of counter. Bigger sites just have more resources, so they can record more details than just raw counts.
  • dyefade
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Post 3+ Months Ago

rtchar wrote:
Quote:
What commerical/popular sites have them?

Every single one of them. :lol:

Just because you can't see them doesn't mean they are not there!

Cookies are just another form of counter. Bigger sites just have more resources, so they can record more details than just raw counts.

well obviously i meant visible... ffs
  • madmonk
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what does ffs mean?
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madmonk wrote:
what does ffs mean?


for F**k sake

:shock:
  • rtchar
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Like I said earlier ....
Quote:
I agree that counters displaying "customers served" like some kind of hamburger store are not very useful.


BTW - I've seen dozens of heavy hitters with topsite counters on their pages. Some even have multiple counters.

Not only do they often pass PR ... some of them are even sending a little traffic my way. :)
  • rtm223
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Post 3+ Months Ago

rtchar wrote:
Cookies are just another form of counter.


How does that work?
  • rtchar
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Quote:
How does that work?


OK you are not a newbie ... so obviously you don't want to know how to create or track cookies. :lol:

What is it you would like to hear about?
  • rtm223
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rtchar wrote:
Quote:
How does that work?


OK you are not a newbie ... so obviously you don't want to know how to create or track cookies. :lol:

What is it you would like to hear about?


Lol, well I can see how cookies can be used to <b>enhance</b> a hit counter, I was thinking of checking how popular each of my stylesheets where, by using an invisible hit counter, counting instances of cookies, or you can filter out people, what ever.

What I can't see how cookies alone can be used to count hits. Maybe it is possible, but at this moment right now I can't see how....
  • phaugh
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"Not only do they often pass PR ... some of them are even sending a little traffic my way." - how do counters pass PR...most of the ones I'm familar with want you to link to them in order to use their counter....wouldn't this be leaking PR from the site that has the counter on it?
  • rtchar
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Quote:
how do counters pass PR...


The ones I have been playing with on my site are actually topsite lists ... they display a small graphic on your site indicating your rank in the top 100 sites for a specific theme or topic. Ranking usually depends on traffic statistics, collected by the site.

If a visitor clicks on the graphic, a list of topic related sites are displayed. So you can send or receive traffic from the list.

Some of these lists are actual links on pages with PR ... some are not. :)
  • phaugh
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I see what you mean...but you are leaking PR from your site because the counters are linking out to other sites.....you are passing more PR to them because you have less out going links from your page and the pages that the counters link to have lots of links so the PR is diminished.

How about writing a script that logs visits to your page into a DB and then displaying that info on your own page.
  • rtchar
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Post 3+ Months Ago

rtm223

Once the cookie is installed on a users machine (However, not all users allow cookies), you can check or update the cookie at any time.

In your case...

Each time a user enters your site, you could check for the cookie. If it exists this is a returning visitor, read the stored value and load the last stylesheet visited (add 1 to returning visitor counter).

Otherwise try to write a new cookie with a value representing the default stylesheet (add 1 to new visitor counter). If the user selects a new style, update the value representing the last selected stlesheet.

Depending on how you want to process the data you could keep track of how many times a style was selected (name popularity). Or, you could keep track of last style selected by users (style preference).

I am sure there are many more things you could think of doing. :)
  • rtm223
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Yeah, that was exactly the process I was considering using.

But the thing is, the cookies have nothing to do with counting hits, the hits still need to be counted on the server, else when you want to view the hit count you will have to grab the cookies from everyone's computer....
  • phaugh
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Not to be picky but....I think you are confusing hits with unique visitors. A request to a single page will render serveral hits or more...as far as server stats are concerned. Each element on the page that needs to be retrieved will yield a hit in the server's stats log.
  • rtchar
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I think we are bordering on the 'scripts forum' ... you may want to ask for more details over there. :)

But to complete this discussion ...

Quote:
cookies have nothing to do with counting hits


Depends on the script used to process the cookies, I mention above when counts could be added.

Quote:
when you want to view the hit count

The total (new+returning) is the number fo hits. Simply store these numbers on your server so you can access the count anytime you wish.

Quote:
you will have to grab the cookies from everyone's computer

CAN"T BE DONE ... there is no way to retrieve cookies unless they visit your site again.

Quote:
Each element on the page that needs to be retrieved will yield a hit in the server's stats log.

phaugh - you are correct but the scripts are designed to only register once per page load. The script is usually tied to a single element, like an image.
  • phaugh
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I prefer potato chips to cookies anyway :)
  • rtchar
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Quote:
how do counters pass PR...


Talk about ironic .... guess what my #1 back link is? :lol:
  • phaugh
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Post 3+ Months Ago

hummmm...the counter site...lol

Guess there's some merit to them after all....where do we signup ;)
  • rtchar
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Post 3+ Months Ago

There are plenty of topsite lists out there.

The ones I use are specific to my theme category.
  • Axe
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Post 3+ Months Ago

topsites and counters are not the same thing though.
  • rtchar
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I know I tried to make that correction a while back ...

But most of them do provide daily or monthly hit counts, if you click on the image. So they do exactly the same thing as the image with numbers, but you get to compare your site with others in your theme.

I have also been watching two or three other sites with similar traffic and comparing our growth in traffic ... really quite fun. :)
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