Software // Information Management
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7/27/2007
10:52 AM
Phil Kemelor
Phil Kemelor
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Packet Sniffing for Web Analytics: Not Dead Yet

You could be excused for thinking that packet sniffing-based data collection for Web Analytics was long gone. Like log file analysis, packet sniffing fell out of favor with the advent of page tag-based data collection. Proponents argue that packet sniffing is superior because data collection becomes "hands off" once the collection appliance is installed between the router and network switch. There are no tags to maintain, nor log files to administer. On the other hand...

You could be excused for thinking that packet sniffing-based data collection for Web Analytics was long gone. Packet sniffing -- or network-based data collection -- was the basis of web analytics pioneer Accrue Software's technology in the mid '90s, but like log file analysis, it fell out of favor at least in the US market with the advent of page tag-based data collection. Proponents argue that packet sniffing is superior because data collection becomes "hands off" once the collection appliance is installed between the router and network switch. There are no tags to maintain, nor log files to administer. On the other hand, if a data collector fails, you have not data.So, what if you want to consider using a packet sniffing solution? You won't find this data collection method available from major North American vendors anymore, but there are potential alternatives.

RTmetrics by AuriQ deployed their packet sniffing solution in 1996 and has established its presence in the Japanese market, among others. The company has headquarter offices both in Tokyo and Los Angeles. CCMedia, a Taiwanese company founded in 1999, is also committed to the packet sniffing technology, and recently opened a US office in San Jose. And finally, Metronome Labs, based in Pittsburgh, integrates its network data collection solution with the Webabacus Analytics solution sold by the UK's Foviance.

Phil Kemelor is founder of PKWeb Communications, a Web strategy and measurement consultancy, as well as the lead analyst and author of The CMS Watch Web Analytics Report.You could be excused for thinking that packet sniffing-based data collection for Web Analytics was long gone. Like log file analysis, packet sniffing fell out of favor with the advent of page tag-based data collection. Proponents argue that packet sniffing is superior because data collection becomes "hands off" once the collection appliance is installed between the router and network switch. There are no tags to maintain, nor log files to administer. On the other hand...

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