[sf-lug] Web Log Analyzers

Andrew Fife afife at untangle.com
Thu Dec 6 17:10:10 PST 2007


>From what I've read from some Open Source web analyzer docs, there is no
>real way to get these kinds of statistics since:
>1.  an IP address does not necessarily represent a person
>2.  dial-up lines can get different IP addresses for each call
>3.  NAT based routers show all users at one IP address
>4.  more than one person can use a computer
>5.  etc.

As I understand it, you are basically citing the different between
javascript based tracking methods (Google Analytics) vs. log based
tracking methods.  Javascript work better for all of the reasons that you
mention and adds the benefit of tracking the flow of users from page to
page.  Yet, javascript tracking will dramatically under-report if you have
lots Firefox visitors because a relatively high number of Firefox users
block the scripts that javascript relies on.  

While I agree Ernest that Google Analytics could be a good fit for your
organization, in my experience, it does not provide 100% reliable data.
For example, this week Analytics tells me that I am getting web visits
from Google paid search, when in fact, I do not have any paid search
campaigns running and 68% of the visits are reported as new.  As of yet,
my Google account rep cannot explain why this is the case.  Lots of other
little oddities like this with Google Analytics if you look closely.  

Bottom line, my advice is that you need to search for a javascript based
tracking software but I can't offer much more detail than that.   


Andrew Fife
Untangle - Open Source Security Gateway

650.425.3327 (O)
415.806.6028 (C)
afife at untangle.com 

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