Deleting cookies inflates website traffic stats

Posted on Monday, Apr 23 2007 @ 09:25 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
comScore found that deleting cookies may be (artificially) pumping up web traffic, PhysOrg reports:
A growing number of Internet users have taken to erasing their computer's cookies, which are unique identifiers inserted on a user's computer that reveal what Web sites someone has visited. While this might not seem like a catastrophic event, the deletion of these cookies could lead to inflated traffic reports for a particular Web site, according to the report.

Each time a user visits a Web site for the first time that Web site deposits a virtual checkmark, or cookie, onto the user's computer. That cookie prevents the Web site from cataloging repeat visits from the same user, thereby creating a more accurate count of new visitors to a particular online venue. If a user's cookies have been erased, however, that person's computer is registered as a new user when they visit a Web site, even if they have been there hundreds of times before.

ComScore evaluated a first-party Web site and a third party ad server that each receives more than 100 million hits each month.

Researchers found that 31 percent of U.S. Internet users erased their first-party cookies over the course of the month. As a result, Web sites could be inflating their web traffic by as much as 150 percent, according to comScore.


About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.



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