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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Bleys's Avatar
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    New Source of Global Webstats

    There was an old thread around here where we debated browser usage (FF vs. IE. vs. Safari. vs. Opera), and we thought it best to rely on the global web stats of TheCounter.com. The reason being that they favored "technical users" a lot less than the W3C stats, and weren't dialed into one type of user the way most of our own stats would be. They seemed to be a good cross section. These type of stats are useful in many debates about computer technology usage (i.e., OS X vs. Windows vs. Linux, is 800x600 still used?, etc.).

    Anyway, the point of this thread is that there is a new source we may be able to look to for these statistics.

    Dan Grossman's W3Counter service just launched a global stats page yesterday.

    http://www.w3counter.com/globalstats/

    It tracks just under 1000 sites now, but that will grow as the counter service grows (and as a user myself, I can say I am very impressed with it--so I am sure it will grow quickly).

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  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard cmuench's Avatar
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    I too am a user of the stats service and I love it. The global stats is a great feature. Can't wait for it to be the next thecounter.com stats wise that is.

  3. #3
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    a stats counter like that will only accumulate stats from the types of sites that use a stats counter

    interesting, yes -- but not necessarily an accurate sampling of the web
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    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    Especially since this just got featured on d|gg which is a big nerd hangout

  5. #5
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vgarcia
    Especially since this just got featured on d|gg which is a big nerd hangout
    I definitely considered that. After hitting the front page the first time, I excluded the W3Counter site from the script that generates the report. It's not in any way tainted by all that techy traffic, but as a whole the rest of the sites may still lean that way. Not by much, though -- the largest sites I'm tracking are a real-estate listing site, an online gaming forum, and a blog about road trips.

    W3Counter's been out there since 2004, and still gets a lot of its new users from TheFreeSite and other freebie sites -- no tech slant there.

    The screen resolution stats W3Counter recorded are all within 1% of what OneStat announced in their press release in June:
    http://www.onestat.com/html/aboutus_...solutions.html

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Bleys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by r937
    a stats counter like that will only accumulate stats from the types of sites that use a stats counter

    interesting, yes -- but not necessarily an accurate sampling of the web
    What types of sites use a stats counter? Are there any types of sites that don't use a stats counter?

    In my experience, almost anyone who runs a website, at somepoint, likes to know how many people visited their website (and most like to know how they got there). Whether for business or technical reasons, or for simple curiousity.

    Perhaps there are type of people who don't use stats counters (i.e., mainly novice webmasters who don't get know or care that they exist, I would guess), but I doubt there are type of sites that don't have a use for stats counters. I could be wrong... but I'm not seeing it now.

    And if it is people, and not sites--then the variety sites you exclude should generally be as varied across the spectrum as the types of sites you include. Which would make the stats as accurate a reflection of the web as a whole as you can get. (Depending, perhaps, on how Dan has marketed the site and to whom, so far).
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  7. #7
    SitePoint Guru SG1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Grossman
    The screen resolution stats W3Counter recorded are all within 1% of what OneStat announced in their press release in June:
    http://www.onestat.com/html/aboutus_...solutions.html
    I find it interesting that the Netherlands and Germany have less users who use 800x600 than the U.S. In fact the U.S has 2x the population use 800x600 than these 2 european countries. Could it be that the U.S population is less internet savvy than these 2 countries?


  8. #8
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SG1
    I find it interesting that the Netherlands and Germany have less users who use 800x600 than the U.S. In fact the U.S has 2x the population use 800x600 than these 2 european countries. Could it be that the U.S population is less internet savvy than these 2 countries?
    Both the Netherlands and Germany are major import and manufacture hubs for LCDs and LCD technology (Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands?). When Netherlands employed a tax on import of LCDs for a short period, a lot of the business moved back to Germany, and the Dutch government eventually reversed that tax.

    There's probably been better availability and price in those countries than the US, where many people didn't upgrade until recent years due to high prices. Now that Dell and other major manufacturers include LCDs with many new computer purchases, the US is catching up.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Enthusiast fullphaser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vgarcia
    Especially since this just got featured on d|gg which is a big nerd hangout
    its interesting that it is hit by the ???? and the numbers for Opera are still less than 1% I thought that 60,000 hits most probably firefox and Opera would put IE somewhere atleast higher, and IE 7 lower than opera, the little bugger must be getting alot more hits than the ???? than. is "d i g g" a bad word?
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  10. #10
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fullphaser
    its interesting that it is hit by the ???? and the numbers for Opera are still less than 1% I thought that 60,000 hits most probably firefox and Opera would put IE somewhere atleast higher, and IE 7 lower than opera, the little bugger must be getting alot more hits than the ???? than. is "****" a bad word?
    As I said above, W3Counter.com itself is not included in the reports to avoid any possible skewing like that.

    If you're curious, here are W3Counter.com's browser stats, after being on D|gg.com's homepage twice this weekend:

    Code:
    1	Firefox 1.5		58%
    2	Internet Explorer 6.0	24%
    3	Opera 9.0		3%
    4	Firefox 1.0		3%
    5	Internet Explorer 7.0	2%
    6	Mozilla 1.8		1%
    7	Mozilla 1.7		1%
    8	Opera 8.5		1%
    9	Internet Explorer 5.5	1%
    10	Safari 2.0		1%
    Off Topic:

    Seeing as this page seems so popular, what improvements do you want to see? My first two ideas are daily archival, comparisons between dates, and the addition of two more panels -- top 10 search engines used and color depths (to keep it even).

    I want to work on the code for identifying search engines, though, as it's pretty rough and only checking for ~20-30 SEs.

    Browser identification is more robust, with a 500kb database of useragent to browser patterns, updated approximately weekly. Detection is attempted at both client side with JavaScript and server side through HTTP headers.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Bleys's Avatar
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    Dan, archiving of the stats would be great (I mentioned that on your blog). Also, Javascript on/off stats would be nice. And if you can swing it, plugin stats (like % with flash, quicktime, shockwave, etc. installed) would also be nifty. (I don't think your regular stats do that yet, though.)

    Off Topic:

    Quote Originally Posted by fullphaser
    is "d i g g" a bad word?
    Around here, yes. For reasons I won't get into (suffice it to say it is on the filtered word list because SitePoint likes D|gg so much, not the other way around).
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  12. #12
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bleys
    Dan, archiving of the stats would be great (I mentioned that on your blog). Also, Javascript on/off stats would be nice. And if you can swing it, plugin stats (like % with flash, quicktime, shockwave, etc. installed) would also be nifty. (I don't think your regular stats do that yet, though.)
    JavaScript on/off I can do without much trouble

    Code:
    mysql> select * from counter_summary.javascript;
    +----+---------+----------+
    | ID | enabled | disabled |
    +----+---------+----------+
    |  1 | 1010336 |    44032 |
    +----+---------+----------+
    1 row in set (0.00 sec)

  13. #13
    SitePoint Wizard
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    I will have to sign up and get my site in the counter, which is primarily Opera and Firefox.

  14. #14
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    dig banned sitepoint, so sitepoint banned dig.

    Anyways...

    What types of sites use a stats counter? Are there any types of sites that don't use a stats counter?
    Are there any types of sites that do not use a free stat counted that requires a link back? Yes, most professional sites do not. So you're going to by default have a larger sample of traffic for amateur sites or non-profit sites, or just less adept webmasters who do not know how to setup their own stat tracking on their site or who do not know that Google Analytics exists. What type of sites do these people tend to run? I'd guess myspace-ish like personal sites. Sure, there are exceptions, but you're talking statistics, not exceptions.

    I'm not entirely sure what kind of bias you'd get, but there is definitely the potential for one.
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  15. #15
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    Yep, you'll rarely find counters on the professional sites; they don't want to share that sort of information with others and the have they resources/money to create or buy into their own internal system. Also it doesn't look good having a counter graphic visible in a lot of cases, only exception is something like eBay but users control most of their pages so it already looks disorganised.

  16. #16
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Bleys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aspen
    Are there any types of sites that do not use a free stat counted that requires a link back? Yes, most professional sites do not. So you're going to by default have a larger sample of traffic for amateur sites or non-profit sites, or just less adept webmasters who do not know how to setup their own stat tracking on their site or who do not know that Google Analytics exists. What type of sites do these people tend to run? I'd guess myspace-ish like personal sites. Sure, there are exceptions, but you're talking statistics, not exceptions.
    I don't think I buy that.

    Obviously you probably won't be getting a top 100 or even top 1000 web property on a hosted service, but that doesn't mean your stats are excluding a specific type of site (except "large" site, perhaps--but if you take the top 1000 most heavily trafficked sites, you'll find them all over the map in terms of type of site (subject matter)).

    Also, Dan offers a paid version that doesn't require a link back. And you say "or who don't know Google Analytics exists" ... What?! I've used both and prefer W3Counter. What makes you think "professional" webmasters or those who are "in the know" would use Google Analytics and not use W3Counter?

    Certainly there exists the potential for some sort of bias, but I really don't think it will be a bias toward any type of site. Like I said above, the bias might be toward a type of webmaster, not a type of site. Which doesn't really affect the validity of the stats as a look at the general state of Internet users as a whole. As you know very well, Chris, webmasters often operate sites on a large variety of subjects, regardless of how experienced they are as website owners. I would imagine your sites attract a number of different types of Internet users.

    I think the stats presented there will more than likely display a fairly accurate cross section of the web.

    EDIT
    : I didn't really say the above the best way I could have. The bottomline: You're talking about a type of person ("professional" websmaster/webmaster of larger site) who would not use a web stats program like this, not a type (variety) of site. In terms of getting an accurate cross section of web usage, if the stats are spread out across enough sites, and a large enough variety of sites (forums, services, blogs, content sites... on a variety of different subjects), the stats should be a fairly accurate view of the web as a whole.

    I further don't buy the premise that Google Analytics is some how more attractive to "professionals" than W3Counter. I consider myself a "professional" site owner, and find W3Counter to be a better service.

    And I might also not buy your premise that large, professional sites won't use a hosted services. I think a large number of big sites utilize third party services all the time. Many of the largest blogs (some making in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per year) use Feedburner. And many very large web properties use WebTrends hosted services.
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  17. #17
    SitePoint Wizard Young Twig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Grossman
    Off Topic:

    Seeing as this page seems so popular, what improvements do you want to see? My first two ideas are daily archival, comparisons between dates, and the addition of two more panels -- top 10 search engines used and color depths (to keep it even).

    I want to work on the code for identifying search engines, though, as it's pretty rough and only checking for ~20-30 SEs.

    Browser identification is more robust, with a 500kb database of useragent to browser patterns, updated approximately weekly. Detection is attempted at both client side with JavaScript and server side through HTTP headers.
    I'd like to see something like:
    Code:
    Internet Explorer (57%)
    	IE 6.0 (51%)
    	IE 5.5 (6%)
    Firefox (12%)
    	1.5 (8%)
    	1.0 (4%)

  18. #18
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    You can for your own websites

  19. #19
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    I would like to see Google stats or any other major search engines.
    I guess there's more than geeks on those web sites.

    Everyone has the right to dream.

  20. #20
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    I further don't buy the premise that Google Analytics is some how more attractive to "professionals" than W3Counter. I consider myself a "professional" site owner, and find W3Counter to be a better service.
    Google Analytics does not require a link back or a little graphic, end of story.

    I didn't really say the above the best way I could have. The bottomline: You're talking about a type of person ("professional" websmaster/webmaster of larger site) who would not use a web stats program like this, not a type (variety) of site. In terms of getting an accurate cross section of web usage, if the stats are spread out across enough sites, and a large enough variety of sites (forums, services, blogs, content sites... on a variety of different subjects), the stats should be a fairly accurate view of the web as a whole.
    Having a site from every niche is a far cry to having an accurate distribution of all visitors. We're not talking about reach, we're talking about the accuracy of aggregate statistics.

    Do you deny that more new/poor/amateur/hobby webmasters tend to use free services as opposed to pay services or in-house services?

    Do you deny that new/poor/amateur/hobby webmasters, when taken as a whole, tend to produce a more of certain types of sites than other webmasters?

    If not, I invite you to check out the "Sell Your Site" forum and count how many sites are either about MySpace or file sharing, or some other youth counter-culture fad.




    When I took psychology in college the professor gave us an example of how not to interpret our observations. He noted that children from homes with new appliances tended to get better grades in school. Couldn't one then conclude that appliances create intelligence? That would be silly, rather the new appliance and the smart child are both results of the same cause, educated parents.

    Like smart kids & new appliances, Dan's customers & the webmasters of the aforementioned sites, tend to be from the same place.



    Now I'm not saying that Dan has a poor service, I'm sure its excellent and serves it's demographic well. Rather I'm simply questioning your claim of improved accuracy. Surely you must admit that Dan's demographic is at least 5% more likely to create a certain type of amateurish youth culture site. That means your statistics could be off by as much as 5%.

    I'm also not saying that Dan's aggregate statistic service is a bad service, but rather simply that all statistics should be taken with a grain of salt and it is important you understand where the data is coming from and what type of skew, if any, it could have. In this case I think there is a decided skew towards youth culture sites.
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  21. #21
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    Code:
    mysql> select count(*) from websites where public = 1;
    +----------+
    | count(*) |
    +----------+
    |     1262 |
    +----------+
    1 row in set (0.00 sec)
    
    mysql> select count(*) from websites where url like '%xanga%' or url like '%myspace%' or url like '%livejournal%' or url like '%geocities%';
    +----------+
    | count(*) |
    +----------+
    |       31 |
    +----------+
    1 row in set (0.00 sec)
    Not that I disagree with you. Interpret what's there as you will.

  22. #22
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Bleys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aspen
    Google Analytics does not require a link back or a little graphic, end of story.
    Fair enough... but as far as I know it's also a strictly javascript counter, and so will dmscount a small percentage of of your visitors. "Professional" webmasters will probably know that, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by aspen
    Do you deny that more new/poor/amateur/hobby webmasters tend to use free services as opposed to pay services or in-house services?
    No. I don't deny that.

    Quote Originally Posted by aspen
    Do you deny that new/poor/amateur/hobby webmasters, when taken as a whole, tend to produce a more of certain types of sites than other webmasters?
    Yes. I would deny that. I don't think the experience/professionalism of the webmaster has much discernible bearing on the subject of the site they create. The only difference is that newer webmasters are probably less likely to use more technically sophisticated technologies.

    Quote Originally Posted by aspen
    Like smart kids & new appliances, Dan's customers & the webmasters of the aforementioned sites, tend to be from the same place.
    Here's where you're making a mistake again. You're talking about the type of webmaster, not the type of visitor those sites. It doesn't matter who MAKES the site, it matters who VISITS the site.

    Having observed friends and family members who are not technically adept, I can tell you with certainty that they will visit whatever sites Google tells them to visit or whatever sites the lists of links on pages they're on tell them to visit. It doesn't matter what the site looks like, and it certainly doesn't matter who made the site. They'll visit professionally made and amateur sites with equal distribution.

    So what matters in getting an accurate cross section for these global stats, in my opinion, is having a varied pool of subjects--nothing to do with who made the sites.

    Quote Originally Posted by aspen
    Rather I'm simply questioning your claim of improved accuracy.
    Improved accuracy over what? As far as I know, all I said was that it was another source of general webstats and that it should be a fairly accurate cross section of the web as a whole, especially as the service grows and attracts a more varied pool of sites.

    Quote Originally Posted by aspen
    Surely you must admit that Dan's demographic is at least 5% more likely to create a certain type of amateurish youth culture site. That means your statistics could be off by as much as 5%.
    Nope, I won't admit that at all. I really don't know. To assume that a free service like Dan's will attract more of those types of sites, as you are doing, is erroneous, in my opinion.

    I think it matters how Dan advertises and where HIS traffic is coming from more than anything else.

    Quote Originally Posted by aspen
    I'm also not saying that Dan's aggregate statistic service is a bad service, but rather simply that all statistics should be taken with a grain of salt and it is important you understand where the data is coming from and what type of skew, if any, it could have. In this case I think there is a decided skew towards youth culture sites.
    Of course all the data of this type needs to be taken with a grain of salt, unless it is a very carefully organized study with a hand selected sample that guarantees a varied pool (and even then you get a bias from whoever selects the sites for inclusion). I still feel that Dan's stats are likely a fairly reliable source of general web usage trends.

    And I don't agree that they will skew toward youth culture sites. I see why you think that, but I don't agree with your assumptions.
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  23. #23
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    There is a big difference between professional sites that are less likely to use a free counter, and ones that would. I know of many internet users that visit two or three major websites daily and never go beyond those websites. Basically the sorts of people who will have Internet Explorer and maybe a toolbar from their ISP or portal. These sorts will not appear in a stats system like this.

  24. #24
    SitePoint Wizard dreamscape's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bleys
    but as far as I know it's also a strictly javascript counter
    I don't know of a single person using Google Analytics to just count visitor stats. Everyone I know who uses it does so on a commercial site, and in addition to stat counting, mainly uses it to track funnels and things like ROI, cost per visit, revenue per click, etc, etc...

    The main point of things like Google Analytics, earlier versions of Urchin, and other similar tools, IMO, in fact is not to be a stat counter. They're designed to be a collection of analytical tools (hard to guess from the name, huh?) that lets site owners better understand their user's experiences and track marketing performance (in the words of both Urchin and Google). They're not even in the same category as stat counters, IMO.

  25. #25
    SitePoint Wizard mcsolas's Avatar
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    Germany?

    I find it interesting that 12% of the visits tracked came from there, behind only the united states.

    Im curious if this is an accurate statistic for web traffic dispersal?

    If so, it looks like my sites 3rd language might be german.


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