[thelist] Questions for web traffic gurus

Green, Janet JGreen at DesMoinesMetro.com
Tue Oct 9 09:37:49 CDT 2001

A while back I posted a question about web traffic, and one of the responses
contained a link to a brief article about the unreliability of web stats.
Today I was reading that article in depth, and have a question. Here's what
it said (in part)... 

"Most large commercial sites such as America Online... use large 'caches' on
the machines they use to service web requests. That means that once a user
looks up one of (their) pages, it hangs around in memory at that site in
case someone else wants to look at it. That way, things run faster... there
is no way whatsoever to determine exactly what effect this has on our
numbers - it could be a factor of two, it could be orders of magnitude.
Probably somewhere in the middle."

So I am wondering... is this still true? (The article was written in 1994.)
And, how do I find out if my in-house Windows NT/IIS server for
www.desmoinesmetro.com does this same thing (gives subsequent visitors
cached pages)? Are *my* reported numbers only a fraction of what Webtrends
tells me they are? 

I'd be interested in hearing further discussion on the reliability (or lack
thereof) of web traffic statistics. 


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