Hear – Listen – Communicate

Some pretty good cases for VIA not RT
February 2, 2009, 10:44 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

This is a continuation of Anil Batra’s : ReTweet Demystified

I wanted to add to the discussion the following link describing the (via @orginal) syntax   retweeters-anonymous.org   Which is primarily used by Tweetie (iphone app).

The article made some good points in that RTs simply push the same message along, duplicating messages and congesting the network.  Tweetie (to my knowledge) is the only one promoting via, which allows for your own contributing comment along with the original tweet (which of course has the original URL).

 From Their Site:

Tweetie currently has a button called “Repost Tweet” that makes it easy to create “via” style posts. Because “via” and “RT” mean different things, perhaps there should be two buttons… one for “mentioning” a tweet (via) and one for “forwarding” a tweet (RT).

This also provides many advantages/disadvantages in tracking the effects of your web analytics and social media initiatives.  I think it is too early for a definitive answer but would be a great way to comment!:


  • Your original tiny URL is used.  The more twitter is monetized, the more RT’s may have revised Tiny Urls for tracking.
  • Reduced spam on hashtags where the same message is repeated with no added value.
  • I see this as a possible practice to decrease the spamming “RT’ing” that is starting to occur.  The “via” will allow for at least another ~100 char of added creativity. (or at least a different score for the effort)



  • All Referring traffic from twitter within Web Analytics tool.
  • There is definitely a lack of current support for via
  • With more traffic flowing back into twitter, this most likely changes many assumptions made in current (and improved) capacity planning.  I liked the whale as a novelty.


My $.02. and a little more than the 140char the following tweet would allow:

Our Tweet

Call for the release of Whitehouse.gov web metrics
January 23, 2009, 10:24 pm
Filed under: Enterprise web analytics adoption, Personal, Taking action

I and others it the web analytics community quickly noticed that the new Whitehouse.gov website was using WebTrends to keep track of the site’s traffic patterns.  http://www.informationweek.com/news/security/government/showArticle.jh

It was also noticed they are using the web-beacon as opposed to log file analysis.  Bold move, considering this was quite an issue last time it was tried. http://portland.bizjournals.com/portland/stories/2006/01/09/story5.html. In any case, it seems that the Obama team has made exceptions (or did WE make the exceptions) for the YouTube cookie. Here is an exceprt from the whitehouse.gov Privacy statement.

This persistent cookie is used by some third party providers to help maintain the integrity of video statistics. A waiver has been issued by the White House Counsel’s office to allow for the use of this persistent cookie.

I think the great cookie debate could go on forever.  The other alternative is to use this non-commercial and publicly owned website to showcase what web analytics really consists of.  Instead of trying to explain to laymen what is being captured (or at least captured by the whitehat users) is not PII (Personally Identifiable Information) they can simply review what is being captured in the form of WebTrends reports.  The public and government can use this information to guage what the public is looking at.

In a bid for a more open gov’t this could help inform consumers and may even help the WAA define standards.  While my first draft to the Whitehouse was much more long-winded, the US gov’t is only interested in the first 1000 characters of what you have to say 😉 So here is the version that made it through.  I will certainly post the outcome, I am sure it will not be as easy as this.

The Web Analytics community has noticed that whitehouse.gov is still utilizing WebTrends Software in order to measure its internet traffic.

It is my understanding that this is publically available data.  In what forms and which specific data can be shared under the new transparency polices created by President Barrak Obama?

If HITS are for idiots – are Page Views for dummies?
December 30, 2008, 9:59 am
Filed under: Enterprise web analytics adoption

So the world’s oldest web metric is made famous by such pundits as Jim Sterne and Avinash (however, I see it EVERYWHERE online) definied as:

HITS: “How Idiots Track Success”

True, and in reality it is essentially every request made to the web server.

Within the WAA standards a Page View is defined as “an analyst definable unit of content”.

That said, are Page Views the same deal? Would a definition even help without true vendor adoption?  Should we now ignore this metric much like we did Hits?
“Romeo, Romeo” … a hit is still a hit by any other name.

Page Views used to be summed up nicely as the “number of times people view a page”. JS tracking solved all those weird hits from being counted.  A Page View was now a Page Views.  Then came “event tracking”, “Web 2.0”, click-tracking. video analytics, AJAX (enter “HTML binding” buzzword here). Now, when you as an analyt and/or dev team add these new tracking features, does the report viewing audience know these are or are not being counted? While we may agree or disagree on the actual definition the true issue is, what are YOUR profiles configured for?

While every solution has its definitions and limitations. If you are using any method to track a non traditional loading of a Even your Avg Time Viewed and Page Views per Visit are increasing.  This might make some people happy, and does show greater engagement, but is inflating many other metrics. 

This may not be an issue if you own the web analytics system, the tagging on all site, the reporting of data, etc. But if you manage a large website that may distribute data across several organizations through several profiles this is a large concern.

Implimentation Questions:

If you implement “Click-tracking” or “video-tracking” where are those hits being counted?

How would I calculate Avg Plays Per Video? Comments per Post?

If you are filtering out these events, is this the same profile users get the AVG time viewed report from?

In my next post I will both promote the great flexibility of WebTrends on how you can assure you are tracking what you need, as well as how you will need to calculate key metrics such as Total Time Viewed, Total Page Views, etc.

Thanks for listening.

This is not a blog
November 30, 2008, 9:01 am
Filed under: Personal

This is not another personal and professional blog about me. If this were a blog the first post would talk about my love for my wife and three troublemaking daughters family and friends and such. Or, if a business blog, the first post might be about my job. as a web analytics program manager . This is not a blog.

This is not another web measurement blog. If this were a web analytics blog the second post would either be a:

  • Top 10 predictions (or recap) post(1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10),
  • Debate on bounce rates,
  • Definition of new KPI’s,
  • scorecards or
  • how hard/easy/needed/increasing/disposable the measurement industry is.

Instead I may blog, post, tweet, reply, or ramble on about a topic close to my captalistic sole, such as how data (when not used as a crutch) can enlighten us with quick assumptions decisions. It may begin with a reason to track the number of people using IE 6 your Intranet, or a WebTrends custom report, or even how you can effectively tell management to stop asking for reports, and start demanding results…on something. Name that thing.

This is not a blog to promote my Bosilytics skills and/or get me us hired. IF this were a blog the first, second, third, and preceding rambles posts would be written according to the Chicago Manual of Style while the spell-check would not fully pass Word, Word Press, Open Office, or any other spell-check, but would again fit the standards. I am a perfectionist. I take the time for these things during the day, but, this is an opportunity for me to quickly share what I know. What I don’t will probably become clear and that is spelling 🙂

Now that expectation are clear…here’s to 2009.