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  1. #1
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    websidestory.com - HitBOX ClientSide Audience Analysis vs. Standard Log File Analysis

    have anybody ever heard of this company - websidestory.com? ( www.websidestory.com )
    anybody has any experience/opinion on them and teh service they offer?

    we have a meeting with them on Thursday, and i just wanted to get a feedback from you guys so that i'll know better what questions to ask etc.
    Thanks alot!
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  • #2
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    nobody can help???
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  • #3
    Supreme Overlord Spookster's Avatar
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    Never used them. What is it that you are purchasing from them? They offer many different products/services.
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  • #4
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    HitBox Client Side Audience Analysis
    mainly what i am interested in knowing is how their technology compares to log analizing technology and what the advantages/disadvantages of both.

    we are not purchasing yet - just meeting tomorrow with their sales rep. but i am not sure what questions to ask to determine how much of what is said to us is marketing and how much is true. that's why i am posting here. hoping somebody can give me real world feedback on their HitBox technology.
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  • #5
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    never heard of them but ...

    What is my site's most popular content?
    Which referral sources (such as keywords, search engines and affiliate sites) bring the most visitor traffic?
    Which sources bring the most orders, customers and revenue?
    What navigational paths lead to the most conversions?
    What is my site conversion rate?
    How long do visitors stay on my site?

    all exept the last of the above can be gleaned easily from your existing server logs which I see you already appreciate, though presenting them in the graphical format you prefer is another matter.

    Edit: in conjunction with your online sales records/data


    how many hits are you getting ? thats the crux of the matter , firepages.com.au would cost $509.change per month based on thier 'proffessional' service .... !! for 2-3 months money you could afford to pay someone to write a custom log anaylser for you, ... in fact for a lot less but I am taking the dark side as an example.

    so again I have no knowledge of thier service or how cool the results are formatted but you are paying basically for that.

    Also find out how they are gaining those stats , I assume they will require links on your site to either be redirected through thier own clickthrough's or by adding logging code to your pages, the second is prefereable from a performance point of view (depending on exactly how they implement that)

    best I can come up with sorry!
    Last edited by firepages; 11-14-2002 at 01:25 PM.
    resistance is...

    MVC is the current buzz in web application architectures. It comes from event-driven desktop application design and doesn't fit into web application design very well. But luckily nobody really knows what MVC means, so we can call our presentation layer separation mechanism MVC and move on. (Rasmus Lerdorf)

  • #6
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    they e-mailed me a "promotional" pdf file. here are some of the things they say in it:
    "Log-based Web site traffic analysis tools don’t reflect traffic to a Web site, they merely analyze log files. Common estimates are that 20% of the typical Web site traffic is actually served by caching servers.i Additionally, Web servers log HTML requests rather than an actual page viewed by the surfer. This results in a large disparity between requests and actual audience measurement. WebSideStory has observed discrepancies between requests and page views. In fact, moving our counter code from the top to the bottom of a large Web page can result in a significant difference in total page views. This stems from the fact that surfers often move to another page before the page they have requested loads in the browser. So although a request is made to the server, the entire page was not viewed."
    "[search engine spiders] skew the statistics gathered by log-based systems because they are counted right along with real browser hits."

    how does that sound to you?
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  • #7
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    and yes, we are currently using WebTrends and our reports look very nice, so we are not looking for a prettier "presentation" of results.
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  • #8
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    and on the note of
    Also find out how they are gaining those stats , I assume they will require links on your site to either be redirected through thier own clickthrough's or by adding logging code to your pages, the second is prefereable from a performance point of view (depending on exactly how they implement that)
    "To use the HitBOX counter the only requirement is to embed our counting code into your Web pages."
    how that code counts the statistics is yet TBD. probably sends something to their server or whatever. i don't know.
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  • #9
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    "estimates are that 20% of the typical Web site traffic is actually served by caching servers"
    true for static pages (I wont argue the percentages) , but not for dynamic pages , depends how much of your site is truly static and how much server-generated.

    "search engine spiders] skew the statistics gathered by log-based systems because they are counted right along with real browser hits"
    nah, search engine spiders are logged and flagged as a seperate entity by the log analyser which is why most decent analysers will be able to produce search engine spider requests and frequency and depth etc.

    "moving our counter code from the top to the bottom of a large Web page can result in a significant difference in total page views"
    true... it still does not mean that the surfer saw the page!! but that the server dispatched it , non the less a valid point, but trends are still quite definable even when taking this into account (with enough data).

    Any system such as this vs raw logs is going to win in the usefulness stakes, most log anaylsers are not to hot on the presentation side of things and certainly not up to useful abstraction of data... so from that side of things the log-analysers lose.

    But... I still think that for the daft amount of money spent on such systems you could have a custom written solution for a pinch of the price, and probably with less performace impact (though that depends on the system utilized so I am guessing)
    resistance is...

    MVC is the current buzz in web application architectures. It comes from event-driven desktop application design and doesn't fit into web application design very well. But luckily nobody really knows what MVC means, so we can call our presentation layer separation mechanism MVC and move on. (Rasmus Lerdorf)

  • #10
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    "depends how much of your site is truly static and how much server-generated."
    all the pages are .htm

    "most log anaylsers are not to hot on the presentation side of things"
    we have webtrends and it looks good enough to us 9really not bad at all - has all kinds of neat tables and graphs)

    'and certainly not up to useful abstraction of data..."
    could you explain what you mean?

    "But... I still think that for the daft amount of money spent on such systems you could have a custom written solution for a pinch of the price, and probably with less performace impact"
    yea - this is pretty muh what my boss and i are thinking right now - they are too costly and similar results can be obtained for less amount of miney.
    they wanted to meet with our marketing guys instead of us, but we were you meet with us - if we think it's worth it, we'll recommend it to the marketing department.
    i bet our marketing manager would have been sold! she even fell for "we'll submit your site to 1000's of se every month and will guarantee you a top 10 listing" gimmic. - good thing i talked her put of it on time. lol
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  • #11
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    If all the pages are .htm then the chances are that they are not cached.

    "'and certainly not up to useful abstraction of data..."
    could you explain what you mean? "

    Well most analysers can tell you that say '16000 users entered on page a' , '10000 entered from page b' ... etc, but tracking those users from a-z and b-z and deciding whether page a users were more likely to buy anything than those entering on page b etc is beyond all anaylsers that I have used, though the raw data required to calculate that does exist in your server logs.

    "we'll submit your site to 1000's of se every month and will guarantee you a top 10 listing gimmic"

    lol I think its funny how trained marketers fall for their own BS I have given up with some clients and let them waste money rather than go blue in the face telling them they are being conned - you obviously did a better job than me explaining !
    resistance is...

    MVC is the current buzz in web application architectures. It comes from event-driven desktop application design and doesn't fit into web application design very well. But luckily nobody really knows what MVC means, so we can call our presentation layer separation mechanism MVC and move on. (Rasmus Lerdorf)

  • #12
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    Originally posted by firepages
    lol I think its funny how trained marketers fall for their own BS
    rotflmao
    so true!
    Goals are dreams with deadlines
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  • #13
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    these guys were supposed to have a phone conference with us yesterday, but they never called!
    Goals are dreams with deadlines
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  • #14
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    these guys were supposed to have a phone conference with us yesterday, but they never called!
    If their sales people don't call, I can't imagine their support people are any better.

    A couple of suggestions:

    - Never let marketing people make technical decisions. They aren't qualified. Ask them what they need then let your tech people figure out how to get it.

    - When it comes to statistics, remember the three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics. Getting the numbers is easy. Interpreting them correctly is an entirely different matter.

  • #15
    Supreme Overlord Spookster's Avatar
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    Originally posted by BrainJar


    Getting the numbers is easy. Interpreting them correctly is an entirely different matter.
    lol That's almost an exact quote from my statistics professor.
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