Non-Java Traffic Stats with Link Refferals?
June 17, 2006 8:22 PM   Subscribe

I have been looking for a non-java web traffic stats service that provides referral link information. I have only been able to find non-java ones that do not provide this information (they just count hits but don't tell you where they came from). I need non-java because sites like lulu.com etc. don't allow java services like the very good statcounter.
posted by Moose to Computers & Internet (14 answers total)
 
Erm, I think you mean Javascript not Java. The two are completely unrelated and totally different technologies. I've never heard of a web stats tracker that uses Java, as the whole bloat of having to wait for a JVM to load just to track a hit would be insufferable. But there are zillions that use JS.

So, it's not really clear what you're asking here... am I correct that you're not talking about server side log analyzers like AWstats? If you have access to the logs this is by far the best way to go compared to futzing around with javascript. But it seems like you not only don't have access to the log files but you are using some hosting provider that won't even let you put javascript in the page? What kind of torture is that? For like $10/year you can get a real webhost without any of that BS.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:17 PM on June 17, 2006


If you can embed an image on lulu.com that is hosted on your own server, let's say a 1x1 invisible gif, you can then just read your server logs and/or use something like AWStats, Weblizer, or Analog to track your visitors.

If you can't even put in an image, then you're SOL.

Let's say your server is moose.com, and your invisible gif thingy is named lulu_site_tracker.gif. You would include something like <img src="http://moose.com/lulu_site_tracker.gif" /> in the source for your lulu page. Every time someone pulls up your lulu page, they will also be pulling up your invisible image, and your webserver will record the traffic. Then just use AWStats or whatever to look at it.
posted by evariste at 9:23 PM on June 17, 2006


And yeah, Javascript and Java are very different languages. You meant "Javascript".
posted by evariste at 9:24 PM on June 17, 2006


But even loading an image from another server will send the referer of the lulu.com page, not the referer that linked to the lulu.com page, which is what (I presume) is desired.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:28 PM on June 17, 2006


Rhomboid-only if the referer was lulu.com in the first place, I would think. Maybe I'm mistaken, but if I was writing a web browser, that's the way I would do it: I would send along the referer string of the page the person clicked to get to the image, not the string representing the page the image is embedded in. That would seem sort of pointless.

Besides, wasn't the fact that it works that way the very reason for the big hubbub about invisible GIFs and privacy a while back?
posted by evariste at 9:33 PM on June 17, 2006


Hmm...on a cursory Googling, you seem to be right.

--- 6. WHAT INFORMATION IS SENT TO A SERVER WHEN A WEB BUG IS VIEWED?

* The IP address of the computer that fetched the Web Bug
* The URL of the page that the Web Bug is located on
* The URL of the Web Bug image
* The time the Web Bug was viewed
* The type of browser that fetched the Web Bug image
* A previously set cookie value
I could settle this by doing an experiment right now, but I'm way too lazy at the moment.
posted by evariste at 9:39 PM on June 17, 2006


And this seems to confirm that that would be common web browser behavior, so you were right, Rhomboid.
posted by evariste at 9:44 PM on June 17, 2006


It's very simple, the browser sets the referer for the page that loads the image. So if you store an image on thirdpartysite.example.com and load it from lulu.com the referrer seen at thirdpartysite.example.com is lulu.com, regardless of how the person arrived at lulu.com. The only way to get the referer one up the chain would be to use javascript in the lulu.com page to pass this on to thirdpartysite.example.com, e.g. "document.write('<img src=http://thirdpartysite.com/someimage.gif?from=$document.referer')"
posted by Rhomboid at 9:47 PM on June 17, 2006


And obviously that's of no use to answering the question since JS seems to not be available.

As far as I know, if you can have neither access to the actual server logs nor the ability to place javascript in your own pages, then you will have a very hard time getting meaningful statistics. Though I urge to you get a different webhost if this really is the case because that is extremely restrictive if true.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:52 PM on June 17, 2006


Yeah, files loaded because they're referenced in a page get a referer from the page that contains them, not the page that led to the page that contains them.

If you can't use JavaScript you're basically stuck here; you need either a server-side script running to collect the referer data (which I assume you can't do because if they don't allow JS they're sure as hell not going to allow server-side programming) or a client-side script that submits data back to a server-side script running somewhere else.
posted by ubernostrum at 10:06 PM on June 17, 2006


*cough* so yeah, of course I knew what the difference between java and javascript is. No, really I do.

Thanks for the help. The reason I use lulu.com is simply because I seem to get a reasonable amount of traffic for a site that just has some guys (as in mine) home demos on it. and they let me put up as many mp3s for free and make them available for others to download. But the no javascript thing blows. They used to do it but security reasons or something prevailed.

So I do see how many people hit the site each day but no refferals. That's the javascript bit right?

So is the answer 'forget about it if no javascript', or did I detect a method brewing in that last post by ubernostrum? if so, i will need more explanation because I am afraid phrases like 'server-side script' mean little to me ... as yet :)
posted by Moose at 10:38 PM on June 17, 2006


Yeah, forget about it. ubernostrum meant that maybe lulu.com would let you run your own arbitrary code on their server to track your referers, but if they don't even trust you to put a snippet of javascript on there, it's pretty much a given that you are untrusted as far as that's concerned.
posted by evariste at 10:59 PM on June 17, 2006


Lulu.com has the referrer data you seek. You might contact their customer service department and explain why they should provide it to you, and any other artists who use their service.

How much traffic are you actually seeing? Shared web hosting is pretty cheap these days. There are providers who provide pretty large bandwidth allowances for pretty damn cheap, and that way you own your URL and all your traffic data.
posted by Good Brain at 11:10 PM on June 17, 2006


About 100 visitors a day, which isn't heaps but it's more than none and it's not like i am trying to get this (too busy for that). Back when I could track the refferals (before they banned javascript) I noticed that most of the hits were coming in from search engines. Search terms like "free music download", real generic stuff like that.

I have a theory, that I have seen supported around the place, that the reason my page even gets into the top 100 google pages (or whatever, I haven't checked) for such a popular search term is because lulu.com (and other sites like amazon.com, blogger.com etc) are 'authority sites' that will generally 'lend' a little of their search engine power to your efforts within their structure.

So my point is that to pay to host my stuff somewhere that I don't get any traffic (without putting in bulk effort) would be less constructive than the status quo, i.e. free mp3 hosting/distribution without refferals.

Comments? Suggestions? Pizza?
posted by Moose at 11:57 PM on June 17, 2006


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