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  1. #1
    Senior Member Webzarus's Avatar
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    I've noticed many post mentioning Google Analytics or some other off-site stats and or logging programs... Since I've only used Google Analytics on a handful of small sites that really don't have that much traffic... I don't have a valid comparison to actual "server logs" with extended properties turned on...

    I've been using the same log file reporting software ( not going to mention here ), for many years and get GEO location updates on a monthly basis...

    The log files can drill down to State, City, Organization... they provide paths, search engine queries that are brought in from links ( referrer data )...and a whole lot more... Pretty powerful stuff...

    My Question is... has anyone made a comparison "side by side" between the information you can get from google analytics or some other off site reporting vs the server logs.... and if so... what are the benefits of each ???

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  3. #2
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    I have with Analytics and LiveStats (when they were still around), AWStats, and SmarterStats. Did it once with Webalizer too, but that was just because a client thought Webalizer was the absolute be-all and end-all of stats packages. Took about three screens to convince him otherwise.

    Advantages of Analytics:

    - traffic counted is actual human traffic for the vast majority of cases.
    - benchmarking with other sites, when you turn it on...although this is still fairly crude as it only covers a handful of top-level categories
    - reports can be created using Javascript event handlers, although I've only done this a couple of times
    - customizable reports that can actually track referrals down to querystring, although it would be nice to see non-search referrals tracked that way in future iterations
    - integrates with Adsense/Adwords and shows clickthroughs based on keywords, referring sites, etc.
    - tracking of browser information (since JS can report things like screen resolutions, etc). It can even report Flash users when Flash can be detected.
    - can track multiple sites with a single login, create profiles, etc. When you manage as many as I do, that's a pretty big deal.
    - you don't pay for it!!!

    Advantages of log referral software (other packages in general, no specific examples pertaining to one piece of software or the other):

    - bots can be tracked and displayed, so you know when crawlers and things hit
    - more tracking of human traffic since no JS is required, although software that isn't updated often can track bot traffic as false-positive human traffic
    - better calendar interfaces, generally speaking (Google's date picker is awkward and occasionally buggy)

    I stopped using paid stats programs because of Analytics. I just didn't see the point in paying for something that provided my clients and I what they were after for free.
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  4. #3
    Junior Member
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    Jun 2011
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    Yeah, Analytics really killed the market for tracking software. I got a sales call from one of the big companies, and I asked the sales guy outright what he could offer that I didn't get for free from Analytics. He really didn't have an answer... he just offered me a free trial so I could "see for myself." I passed.


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