On Tue, Apr 29, 2008 at 10:45 AM, Paul Tweedy <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:

> Yes indeed, and to be open and clear on the purpose of this - the value
> in the query string is appended to the item page URI depending the
> logical page area in which it appears - Featured, Most Popular, etc - so
> we can do clickthrough measurement of how traffic arrives at item pages
> and how the site design is performing in relation to the content - which
> can inform future iterations/tweaks of the UI to make it better. Plain
> old HTTP_REFERER (which we certainly do also have for general user
> journey reporting) can't give us this granularity.
> It's a bit of a hack, certainly, but not the worst one we could have
> come up with. :)

Thanks for the explanation. It's tricky to balance the need/desire to
track referals (which may be for good reasons like informing site
redesign or more nefarious reasons like tracking clicks from marketing

I find the redirect method to be the most intrusive, such as the one
used on the BBC homepage, where all the links start with
http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/.. Okay, so it's mostly invisible to the
browser, but tend to right-click, 'copy link location' and paste into
e-mails/blogs a lot - and in these cases it's annoying to then go and
copy the 'real' url.

The query string method introduces multiple URIs as mentioned above.
(I wonder how many blog posts etc link to iPlayer pages with the query
string left in).

I guess the problem is that there's no 'proper' way to do this. You
could track HTTP_REFERER, but that can't always be relied-upon. Or you
could use some javascript, but that doesn't work if javascript is
turned off. Or you could rely upon cookie-based session tracking, but
that doesn't work too well with cookies disabled and is complicated
when your site is across numerous servers and sub-domains.

Ultimately, I think, you just have to accept that you can't track
everything, and go with the less intrusive, more-or-less accurate
solutions. With a big enough sample, the data should be good enough

Perhaps the controversal ping attribute is the answer:

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