Why Clicky validates your traffic

A couple users in our forums were just talking about how their Google Analytics reports are unreliable because people have copied their GA tracking code (for reasons unknown) onto their web sites, and now the traffic from these other sites is being reported in GA alongside the "real" traffic that should only be getting logged in the first place.

We had no idea GA allowed this to happen and frankly, we were surprised to hear it. If I was a griefer, and I owned a high traffic, off-color web site, I might get my lulz by regularly including the GA code from other random sites in my own web site's HTML. Hypothetically, of course :)

This is one of the reasons we chose to validate your traffic against your registered domain name before logging it. And this was one of the very, very first things we ever did when we were designing Clicky. We're talking October 2006, before Clicky was even available to the public. This has caused headaches for some users over the years, e.g. if they mistype their domain when registering, or their domain changes but they don't update it on Clicky, then no traffic gets logged. But for the most part it's worked well for everyone, and to make it flexible we have offered (also from day 1) a "mirrors" option to add additional domains that are authorized to log traffic for a certain site ID.

We don't know if other analytics services do any validation, but if not, maybe we should add another bullet point to ye olde matrix. I imagine Google may do this for support reasons, so they get as few questions about "why aren't my stats working" as possible, but we still don't agree with it. We get support questions about this maybe once a week, but we have no problem helping people out with it.

What do you think?
17 comments |   Aug 11 2010 5:43pm

Viddler rolls out Clicky integration

When we announced our new video analytics a few weeks ago, one of the things we mentioned is that Viddler was integrating Clicky directly into their flash player - except it wasn't quite ready at the time. This is really wonderful because tracking video interactions is not quite as easy as we'd like it to be. You have to embed videos with their Javascript API enabled, which is not the default for any service, and then you have to add a bit of extra code so that their API talks to our API... etc.

Viddler, on the other hand, was already using Clicky for their own site and started talking to us a few months back about making Viddler tracking fully automatic. This is actually what motivated us to make this feature in the first place. We knew all these services had APIs but we didn't really want to deal with them. Of course, we ended up writing libraries for two of the top services (Youtube and Vimeo) as well as a library for tracking HTML5 videos anyways, because that's how we roll.

Well, the wait is finally over. Viddler has just announced that their integration with Clicky has gone live. Any of you who have at least a Pro account and have Viddler videos embedded on your web site, you should start seeing data automatically in your Content > Video report, without having to do a gosh darn thing.

We're really excited about this because not only are we one of a small handful of analytics companies to offer video analytics, but as of now, I believe we are the only analytics service to have fully automatic integration with a large third party video provider.
4 comments |   Aug 10 2010 11:53am

When did visitor XYZ first visit my site?




We've only been tracking this data since mid-April, with this release. So for loyal visitors, you may a see a lot of dates around mid-April. That's a bummer, but it's also part of the reason we've been waiting to release this feature - we wanted to have at least a few months of data. We now have almost 4 months so we feel it's good to go.

This feature will be particularly useful to those of you who use our goal system. We use goals to track when people upgrade to our premium service so we can see it right in our stats. (Of course, we have an admin area to see all of this data too, but it's more fun when it's in your stats). As you can see in this screenshot, taken from a visitor today (with all identifying info removed), this person first visited in... well, mid-April. The point is, we immediately know how long this person has been coming to our site before upgrading, and we can see it right in their session details. Fun!
9 comments |   Aug 06 2010 2:03pm

HTML5 video tracking

We've just added a new library for tracking HTML5 videos. The best part is that since HTML5 videos are native browser elements with a common API across all browsers, all you have to do track these videos with Clicky is to add one line of code to include this library on your site - and that's it. It will automatically find all HTML5 video elements on any page it's installed on, and interface with our video API to track people playing these videos.

HTML5 video is still in its infancy, but it is the future of online video and we are happy to provide great support for tracking it. Have at it!
5 comments |   Aug 02 2010 11:40pm

An update on Google and Ajax

Who remembers this story from February 2009? This is when Google began testing the use of Ajax in its search results to speed up page loads. It definitely makes things faster and Google said speed was the sole reason behind it. The problem is that the search query is now hidden behind the hash tag of the URL, and browsers don't send hash tags with referrer data. In other words, analytics services like Clicky can't get the search term that the visitor used to find your site.

We raised a small fit about it because we think knowing what your visitors are searching for to find your site is an extremely important aspect of running a web site. I claimed that they would have some way to keep the searches integrated with Google Analytics, but Google denied that was possible. I don't really believe that - they are able to integrate AdWords data into Google Analytics just fine - but whatever.

Anyways. Google stopped doing it for a while, or at least dramatically reduced the number of users who "get" this feature, because I didn't see any plain "google.com" referrers in our stats for quite a while. Recently though, I've been seeing more, and in particular, the last couple of weeks.

We get a lot of emails about this, people asking us how could the referrer possibly be just "google.com" and nothing else.

Well, this is the reason. And we're getting a bit tired of this question :) So, as of about an hour ago, when we see a referrer come in that is just "google.com" (or any other TLD) and there is no path and no query, we're simply going to pretend the referrer doesn't exist. The downside to this is that previously, at least you knew they came in from Google, even if you don't know what that search was. Now you won't know even that. But, you have to consider our perspective too. This is mainly about about support.

The other option would be to keep the same referrer in there and just make up a "fake" search, e.g. "Unknown", so you would see that for visitors who had an unknown search term from Google. But we're afraid there will be a lot of people who take this literally and think someone is actually searching for the term "unknown" and then they will think Clicky is broken.

From a support perspective, we think the best thing to do is just filter these out. But please let us know how you feel about this decision, or if you have any other ideas.

Update: We hear you. None of you like this. We'll be removing it later today and coming up with something else. We liked the idea one of you listed, of having it say "unknown" but then just linking that to a help page explaining what it means. We'll probably do something like that.
14 comments |   Aug 02 2010 12:20pm

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