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cb_WET - Web-Tracking - Short Info



Providers of Web content are interested in answers to the following questions:

  • How often is my site visited?
  • Which pages are visited how often?
  • What is the "location" of the visitor (IP-addresses or computer names, domain ...)?
  • What was the referring page (search engine, link page ...)?
  • Which Webbrowsers are used?
  • ...

Similar questions can arise in an Intranet:

  • Which pages are viewed, how often?
  • When is the use of Intranet particularly high/low ...?
  • ...

Using (personalized HTML-) mailings, the following questions arise:

  • How many recipients actually open the mail?
  • How long does it last, until a recipient opens the mail?
  • How quickly does the recipient react (e.g. with viewing a web page)?
  • ...

There are two common ways to collect such access data:

  • "Server-Logs": A webserver can write all client requests to logfiles, which can be (e.g. periodically) processed with an analyse-tool.
    The advantage of this method is the large amount of detailed data, which can be the base for different statistical analyses. A lot of commercial and freeware/shareware tools are available for those analyses. In order to run those tools, the server logs must be directly accessible.
    As the method of webserver logs was created for "technical information" about the server, it often does not cover the information needed for marketing purposes.
  • "Access counters" are provided as services from companies (e.g. Sitemeter, Showstat, ...), they are partially free or financed by advertising. This method usually works with CGI-programs, which write the data to a database system. Statistical analyses are generated e.g. automatically and are provided via email and/or web interfaces, the raw data is usually not available for the user. The advantage of such services is the relatively simple handling (integration into existing web pages) for the user of the access counter. The disadvantage: those services are hardly suitable for usage in an intranet or for analysis of mailings.

Based on the experiences with those two methods, a concept was developed by, which summarizes the advantages of webserver logs (large amount of detailed data) and access counters (simple integration into existing web pages) and provides additional advantages: cb_WET - Web-Tracking.

Mode of operation of cb_WET

  • The software cb_WET-Server is installed on a computer in the internet (or the intranet).
  • All web pages, which should be monitored, contain a hyperlink to a image file at the cb_WET-Server. The pages can be located at different Web servers.
  • When a webbrowser loads a page, it also requests the image file from the cb_WET-Server, which returns the file and logs the data of the request. This data can also be displayed online at the user-interface of the cb_WET-Server.

The log files generated by cb_WET-Server contain the data in a standardized format, the data can be analyzed with all common tools ("logfile analyzers").

Advantages of cb_WET

cb_WET offers the following advantages:

  • Server-spreading: cb_WET can monitor access to arbitrary pages (all or only selected), even if they are distributed on different webservers or websites.
  • Independence from other systems: cb_WET can be used independently of or parallel to other logging or tracking methods. The logfiles are available at any time for analyses. It is not necessary to access the logfiles from the webserver(s).
  • Standardized and extended logging: The data logged by cb_WET-Server contains all information, which is logged by a "normal" webserver and - depending on the configuration - much more.
  • High flexibility: The system allows the definition of "virtual URLs" - the requested URL can contain arbitrary paths and filenames. This means, that the structure of the logged URLs can be completely different than the directory structure of the "real" website. Thus, regarding later statistical analyses, the raw data can be improved (structured, grouped ...).
  • Simple handling: To define the pages to be monitored, it is only necessary to insert hyperlinks into the HTML code (as with traditional access counters). The software for the cb_WET-Server is easy to install and requires no complex configuration.
  • More accurate results: All parameters, which are necessary for "switching off" http caching mechanisms, can be configured easily.
  • cb_WET can be used for further functions. All scenarios, where a client requests files via http are possible. Clients could be webbrowsers, HTML enabled email programs, webenabled TV settop boxes, mobile phones with WAP, ...). Example: Monitoring of the response time and feedback from personalized HTML mailings.


The program cb_WET-Server must run on a computer, which is permanently connected to the "target network" (Internet and/or Intranet). This computer could be an already existing webserver:

  • cb_WET in the Internet: Computer (Windows NT/2000/XP) with permanent Internet connection, fixed IP-address or hostname via DNS.
  • cb_WET in the Intranet: Computer (Windows NT/2000/XP) inside the LAN, fixed IP-address or hostname.

To adapt existing web pages for the use with cb_WET the following sourcecode must be available:

  • Static pages: the HTML code
  • Dynamically generated pages: the code of the according scripts

Further information see: Detailed description

Comments, suggestions and ideas?

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