Friday, September 03, 2010

Stats And The "Don't track your own pageviews" Option

The recently released Stats feature, which competes with well known third party products like SiteMeter and StatCounter, has the option to block your own visits from being counted.

This option is required by any serious blog publisher, as anybody who wants to rely upon the accuracy of the visitor meter of choice is certainly going to want to see information about their readers - without the distraction of their own activity.

The "Don't track your own pageviews" setup wizard explicitly warns us
In order to do this, Blogger must add a tracking cookie to your browser.
Here, we see another instance of the well known need for us to check our browser and computer, thoroughly, for any cookie restrictions.

Look for the "Don't track your own pageviews" link, to the right of the activity graph on the Stats "Overview" sub menu. You will need to do this separately for each browser, on each computer, that you use.

If you're watching your Stats displays carefully, you selected "Don't track my pageviews", and you notice that your pageviews are still being included in your Stats displays, you're going to need to examine your browser and your computer settings, for any cookie and script restrictions, and correct any settings, as necessary.

Since this is another feature that's enabled using a script run from "Blogger.com" and read from "Blog*Spot.com" (or whatever country code alias that affects you / custom domain your blog is published under), you're going to have to check the "third party cookies" browser setting, to start. Next, check that you have cookies from "Blogger.com" set to "Permanent", not to "Session".

If the problem is not solved by enabling "third party cookies", and setting "Blogger.com" cookies as "Permanent", check the computer and the network, for any anti-virus, firewall, security appliance, or security suite, which might contain a cookie or script filter. And, do not clear cookies, without considering the consequences.

If access to your blog is subject to Country Code Aliasing, setup your filters to permit the CC Alias of "blogspot.com", for your location. Any filters on your computer need to allow the proper trust level, for your local alias of "blogspot.com".

This is a problem which only you, the blog owner, can correct - and it's one which Blogger cannot code around. And, since this setting is specific by individual browser, it's going to be a constant challenge for people with multiple browsers and computers - as well as for people with mobile / pocket computers / smart phones.

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29 comments:

Mycologista said...

Actually it says "Blogger must add a blocking cookie to your browser". So I can't tell if I'm supposed to BLOCK cookies or ALLOW them. Blocking cookies to my blog seems awfully counter-intuitive...
Anyway, I can't figure out what I need to do to make it stop. Is it that I've set Firefox to empty the cache and remove all cookies when I close the browser?
I'd love to get this figured out and hope you can enlighten me.

Chuck said...

it says "Blogger must add a blocking cookie to your browser". So I can't tell if I'm supposed to BLOCK cookies or ALLOW them.

You allow Blogger to drop cookies on your browser, to block them from tracking your own pageviews. If Blogger can't drop cookies, and if BlogSpot (or your custom domain) can't read the cookies, your own pageviews will be tracked.

Blogger calls them "blocking cookies" because they are used to block tracking of your own pageviews.

Bloggin Rookie said...

It doesn't work. Period. I have allowed the cookie probably 50 times the last two days, & it still tracks me. I have all my permissions set in Firefox & the computer & it still doesn't work.

When I look at the list of cookies allowed it's there. But if i go into stats, it isn't. Statcounter works. This is just a Google failure.

Chuck said...

I have allowed the cookie probably 50 times the last two days, & it still tracks me.

OK, did you allow "third party cookies"? That is a separate setting, completely. And, it's essential.

Mycologista said...

I've had "allow 3rd party cookies" enabled in Firefox (the only browser I use) since the beginning of time. I go to "Stats" in my blog, check "don't track my own pageviews", hit "save", of course, and it never sticks--I mean I can go right back to my stats and it's unchecked, and I can clearly see myself as a traffic source, if I check in on my own blog.
Lots of people have this issue; I hope it gets fixed soon, or that someone will tell me how to do it right. A minor issue for me--still appreciative of all that Google offers, for FREEEEE!

Olivia J. Herrell said...

Hmmm, where IS the stat counter in Blogger? I can't seem to find it.

Thanks for your help, that rebel, Olivia

Olivia J. Herrell said...

Never mind, I found it. DOH!

Nelson Muntz said...

I hope that block tracking cookies will solve this problem. I blocked first-party third-party and do not collect data for use by InPrivate filtering. I Hope this work now and stop tracking my own views!

thank you!

Nelson Muntz said...

I tried this like 20 times and it doesn't work. It keep tracking my own pageviews. I need more help than that.

Chuck said...

It keep tracking my own pageviews. I need more help than that.

Nelson,

The best advice that I can offer is that you check your computer and network, for any anti-virus, firewall, security appliance, or security suite, which might contain a cookie or script filter.

There are millions of computers all over the world, each with its own different combination of applications (like a browser) and filters (like anti-virus, firewall, security suite), and each will differently affect your ability to use Blogger.

This isn't a case where Blogger can help you, nor can I do so. I'll advise / coach you - but you have to do the detail work.

socionerd.com said...

All third party cookies are allowed in my browsers still it counts the visits. Blogger seriously needs to correct this mistake. Its all misleading otherwise

William Belle said...

The empirical evidence is leaving me a tad perplexed. I have the option to not track my pageviews turned on; I have verified all cookie settings.

From within stats or posts, if I click on a link to a page, it opens up in a new window and is NOT tracked. However, if I click on a link on that page in this new window, the next pageview IS tracked.

I find this behavior quite unexpected. Hmmm, is this a bug? If there is something with my cookies, I have not yet found it.

wqbelle@gmail.com
http://wqebelle.blogspot.com

Chuck said...

William,

Every Blogger feature that involves cookies becomes quite frustrating, and perplexing.

Even when Blogger knows that a problem exists, and sometimes even acknowledges a code problem, finding any such problem is complicated by the thousands of extraneous problem reports from bloggers who cause their own problem, by having a cookie or script filtering security setting on their computer.

The "new window" detail of yours is very interesting. Thank you for contributing.

William Belle said...

Another thing I've discovered

From "Edit Posts" you click on view, your pageview is NOT tracked. However, I have the adult content warning turned on which means before I view the page, I must accept that I am going to look at adult content. If that warning pops up, my pageview IS tracked. However, after I've done this once (you only have to do this once per visit), the next pageview is NOT tracked.

Curious. If I may quote Hamlet Act 1, scene 4, 87–91: Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

I have now come to realize that if I'm delighted sometimes by the hits on my blog, I must remember that this delight must be tempered with the knowledge it is partially me fascinated by my own words. Hmmm, kind of narcissistic, eh? :-)

mel said...

Don't track your own pageviews isn't working for me. I see the link that says that, I click it, I select the radio dial that says to not track me and when I check it again it's still selected and yet it is still tracking me. Why do I think so? Because I am using Mac OS 10.5.8 and Safari 5.0.2 and it identifies all views as coming from Mac and Safari. If I was part of a group of online graphic designers I might buy the part that it wasn't just me. I'm pretty sure most of my knitting and crochet buddies are on Windows, etc.

Besides that, I do have the preferences set to allow cookies.

I suppose it's ok for now (perhaps even a relief) that I'm just talking to myself, but after a while it's going to be annoying that posting and editing and learning how to use the site is just tracking me.

tmac said...

I also canot successfully set to "not track my own page views"...I set to allow cookie insert by Blogger.com, check the "do not track" option, but nothing works.

Mtn Doc
10-30-10

Chuck said...

TMac,

Maybe session cookies?

The Deptford Croppy said...

Really helpful, thank you!

SariBelle said...

Hi Chuck, The first time I had this issue I was directed to your article, allowed third party cookies, and was able to select "don't track my pageviews".

Now for reasons unkown it has reverted back to "track my pageviews" and again I can't change it back. All my browser settings are to allow third party cookies and blogger.com and blogspot.com are both on the "Allow" list.

I'm assuming it is Norton which is blocking them but I can't figure out how to find the setting in Norton, let alone change it.

Any ideas?

Thanks heaps for the article.

HC said...

This just flat out does not work. I use Chrome with a Mac and have all third party cookies allowed, and to not expire at end of session. I have no anti-virus software installed and no firewalls. My pageviews are still tracked. I've tried this with Firefox and Safari also -- same thing. I have tried this at least thirty times using every combination of technique: set prefs, close browser, reopen it, reset, restart computer, clear all browsing data, reset, restart, etc etc. Thx for all you do, but this is a Google problem.

Chuck said...

HC,

Strictly speaking, all problems with Blogger are Google problems. That said, all problems with Blogger can't be solved by Google - and even with the problems that could be solved by Google, not all will be solved by Google.

You may have to do some of the work. A problem with Stats failing to not track certain activity is in no way an outage. If Google never gets around to solving this problem, I would not be surprised. Every week, they get new fires to fight, that are both 1. More urgent, and 2. Affect more people.

Pure economics suggests that you won't ever be able to exclude your pageviews from Stats.

What make / model modem and router do you have, connecting your Mac to the Internet?

evaonlife said...

Seriously... The fact that the option "don't track my pageviews" changes back to "track my pageviews" right after you changed it, must be considered a blogger/google-problem. If they can't solve that one they should remove the feature entirely.

evaonlife said...

Another reason to remove the "Don't track my pageviews" feature:

"Pure economics suggests that you won't ever be able to exclude your pageviews from Stats."

If this is true the feature is BS.

Chuck said...

Evan,

You completely misunderstand my comments. An epidemiological analysis of forum reports show a complete lack of any affinity, for people complaining that "Don't track my pageviews" does not work.

If you have watched Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken for any amount of time, you will have seen what the forums look like, when Blogger breaks something. The volume of problem reports is unmistakable. What you have right now, with "Don't track my pageviews" not working, clearly has no volume, suggesting that it's a Blogger problem.

And even given the slight chance that it might be a Blogger problem, it is of such low volume that other problems are going to bump it, continually, in the queue. That's the "pure economics" issue.

So if you can't get the feature to work on your computer, then it's BS - for you. But it works fine for me - and for thousands of other blog owners.

Sorry, but I will continue to insist that epidemiological analysis of forum posts points to a client side problem - ie your computer.

mel said...

agree.

evaonlife said...

Well, I can only congratulate You and all the thousands of bloggers who got it working!

Chuck said...

Configuring layered security can be a lot of work - but you have to do it, because it's something that Blogger cannot do for you.

tech1no said...

I tried everything and blogger still counts my own tracks. - really annoying my blog is http://insidetechlogic.blogspot.co.uk/

which is a blogger blog and it seems to be always counting my tracks. :(

Chuck Croll said...

Tech,

Thousands of blog owners are using Stats successfully, without their activity being counted.

If you have tried everything, and Blogger still counts your activity, then you have not tried enough.

http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/2010/11/blogger-layered-security-and-you.html