Monday, November 01, 2010

Ongoing Problems With Stats

The Blogger Stats accessory, which complements established third party products like SiteMeter and StatCounter, has been offered as a Blogger option since 2010.

We see periodic complaints about it's accuracy and functionality.
My numbers don't add up!
and
I can't get it to ignore my visits to my blog!
and
When I check my stats in the late afternoon, I show a number of page views for "today". If I check my stats in the evening (just a few minutes later, maybe), the stats for "today" show zero and the numbers, just seen for "today", now show for "yesterday".

There are multiple discussions in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, which open with one of the above topics, and which contain "answers" describing another of these concerns.

Some of these problems are caused by Blogger coding or design deficiencies, others by misconceptions of the blog owners, and still others are cause by security settings on the computers of the blog owners and blog viewers.

Until we understand the etiological nature of these problems, they will never be solved.

My Numbers Don't Add Up!

Some bloggers are treating their Stats displays like a balance sheet. They look at numbers by browser, by country, and by post, total up the figures in each category, and observe that they get different totals for each.

Unfortunately, stats can't display more than 10 countries or posts in any time period, shifting trends over different time periods, or pageviews generated for archive retrievals, label searches, and main page activity, as well as individual posts.

The bottom line here is that you should not expect any totals to add up to any definitive figure, such that totals between each category would be expected to balance, like your checkbook.

My Numbers Don't Start When I Started The Blog!

Some blog owners start a blog in 2013 - then wonder why Stats seems to show visitor activity in 2012.

This can happen because of several scenarios.
  • Somebody could have published a blog, using your URL, before you started using that URL. You could intentionally taken over an active URL - or you could have accidentally gotten that URL, after the previous owner abandoned it.
  • You could be looking at referer spam counts.
  • You could be seeing random traffic, from people who mistyped the URL of another Blogger blog.

Whatever the cause, those numbers are yours. Stats has no options to "correct" or "reset" your pageview counts.

The Option To "Ignore My Own Pageviews" Doesn't Work

The ability to have Stats ignore activity by the owner requires a cookie which carries this setting, from when you the blog owner select the option, to when you the blog owner surf the blog. The cookie is unique to one browser, on one computer - and in some cases, to different people on one computer.

If you have more than one browser, more than one computer, or more than one person using a shared computer, you will need to consistently select "Don't track ..." for each browser, each computer, and each user.

The cookie must be accessible across domains, since it's created from "Blogger.com", and read from "BlogSpot.com" - or whatever domain your blog is published under. It must also be persistent across browser restarts. The cookie will also be a problem, if you have more than one Blogger / Google account.

When you, the blog owner, use a computer which blocks third party cookies, or which deletes cookies when the browser is restarted, the cookie won't be available to Stats. With Stats unable to access the cookie, your pageviews will be counted by Stats, when you surf your blog. If you login to a second Blogger account, your pageviews will be counted by Stats.

If you share a computer with someone else - either with shared login sessions, or unique system logins - make sure that you are in agreement with the other person, or that you consistently use your own login session. A shared computer, logged in under another person's login, will not have access to cookies that you create, under your login. And if the other person clears cookies, under a shared login, your cookies will be gone.

And note that most anti-virus and firewall suites - and some high end NAT routers - also contain cookie and script filters. Every one of these accessories, that you have on your computer or your network, should be carefully checked.
Block tracking cookies
is a setting that one blogger found enabled, when he examined his firewall suite.

Yesterday Starts During My Evening - Not At My Midnight

From observing the complaints about stats resetting its counters daily, it appears that it's setup to reset counts for all blogs, simultaneously, at midnight UTC (aka "GMT"). Some blog owners contend that it would be more useful to them if the counters for their blogs was to reset according to their local midnight.

Imagining this to be a separate option for each blog, requiring over 24 separate reset processes (a minimum of one schedule per major time zone, worldwide), it's impossible to imagine how pageview counts could be reset at midnight, for all Blogger blogs. I suspect that using the UTC clock, to schedule all blog resets, is the only real possibility here.

The bottom line here? Just as with some Blogger problems in general, some problems with Stats may start with our computers.

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7 comments:

voyage-dans-la-culture said...

please why my stats dont working why ???????????????

Chuck said...

Voyage,

Either you have a known problem that you caused, or you have a known problem which Blogger has acknowledged.

Loribeth said...

This really isn't a very good answer. All the other stats that are tracked by Blogger know what the local date and time are. The time for the stats to reset should be set according to the what time zone is programmed in the blog settings, so a group blog would go by that setting and not by where the individual author is. This is purely lazy programming on the part of blogger.

Chuck said...

You're entitled to your opinion, Loribeth. I suspect that 23 / 24 of the world population is affected by the lazy programming - some worse than we in the USA.

If you feel so strongly, why not state your opinion in AppsSpot?

Maria Campos Loureiro said...

Hi everyone!

My pc isn't shared and I never visit my blog through any account other than the one I created it with or from anywhere other than home. I think I did everything right, but blogger stats is still keeping track of my page views! What can I do?

Carmelo Garcia said...

Are you saying that each time I am at a separate computer I need to "click"this option before I start viewing my blog? For instance, I'm on my phone and I click this option in the morning and by noon I jump on my computer to view the blog (should I than "redo"that click even though I clicked it the previous night from the computer? ) in other word, does it only work on one system at a time?

Chuck Croll said...

Carmelo,

You have to set this option, on every browser and every computer that you use.

Cookies are unique, by browser. Every different browser, on every different computer, has its own set of cookies.