How Accurate Are the Views for My Ad?



How Accurate Are the Views for My Ad?

Postby KeyPlayer » Sat Dec 19, 2015 12:41 pm

Short answer : VERY ACCURATE!

Long answer :

You may see a lot more views if you've posted on another website that shows view count. But are they counting bot views? We don't! Are they counting someone reloading the page as 2 views? We don't! Are they counting spammer views? We don't!

I can confidently say that the views you see are likely at least 99% real people, and each person is only counted once (with few exceptions -see below).

More technical details about views and how Texas Musicians Forum controls the view count so you will know how many REAL PEOPLE saw your ad :

Techie web experts all agree that there are more bots on the web now than there are people. A bot is an automated program that travels the web, viewing web pages (among other things). Some are good and necessary, such as Google or Bing bots that "read" web pages to add to their database in order to return relevant search results. We welcome these good bots, BUT WE DO NOT COUNT THEIR PAGE VIEWS. If you check the bottom of the home page (here), you will often see one or more of these bots listed as a visitor on the website. We identify them, and give them full access to the website so that your ads may show up in searches at Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc., but we do not add their visits to any view counts. Most classified ads sites do not do this.

Then there are bad bots - they're either building spammy search sites, or worse, they're looking for ways to submit spammy ads to websites or infect websites with a virus. We continually work to identify these bad bots and ban them from this website. Their first visit here may affect a view count, but then they are banned to never be counted again! Since we also ban visits from nearly anywhere outside of North America, and most bad bots come from places like China and Russia, very few of these bad bots ever get thru to begin with.

Now about counting real people and multiple visits or page reloads - there are only 2 ways a person's visit to your ad can count more than once :

1. They close their browser, then return later. It would be hard for us to block the view count on the 2nd visit, but we think it's ok because few people would do this unless they were genuinely interested in your ad.

2. They use certain privacy settings. This website identifies people by setting cookies - some cookies are for other purposes, such as remembering style info, remembering any preferences you set, etc. but we also set a "session cookie". The session cookie is used for the express purpose of identifying you for THIS VISIT ONLY and page counts is one of the things that looks at the session cookie - if you've already viewed the page during this session, later views will not be counted. Some people do block cookies in their browser, but we are able to track these sessions another way, so their page reloads still won't add to the view count. When cookies are blocked, a session id number is added to the link in the address bar. This is slightly less reliable than cookies, but works most of the time.

Very strict privacy protections - such as using Chrome Incognito - defeats both methods we use to track sessions. We don't see a lot of this type of traffic, but these visitors can be counted twice. The numbers are insignificant at this time though, likely because of the inconvenience of using such protections.

The bottom line - the view counts you see on Texas Musicians Forum is a very accurate count of the number of people who have viewed that topic or ad.

Oh - did the stuff about "identifying you" and "tracking you" scare you? Please don't let it scare you. ALL websites do this, and it is illegal to link cookies or session ids to personally identifiable information such as your name or email address. We would never do this, nor would any website that is even semi-reputable. Instead, tracking cookies and session ids are just a temporary anonymous id number assigned to your browsing session. You're tracked by this number until you close your browser. So yes, we can see that when you left this website, you went to facebook.com, but we still don't know who you are - we don't even know your user name - we only know that id # 123456 spent 20 minutes on our site then went to Facebook. This type of information is used by Texas Musicians Forum to help us determine how to improve your experience on our website.

Advertisers take this a step further - they place a cookie then use it to track all of your web activity, then use that data to serve up ads based on that activity. Google used to let everyone see this data but they've removed it and replaced it with settings that let you control your privacy (from advertisers, but not from google - kinda scary even though they are restrained by law). But there are other sites that will let you see the kinds of stuff Google and other sites may be collecting on you. Again, this won't reveal anything like your name but it does give advertisers a lot of information. Check out this site, which will show what an advertiser can learn about you just from data stored in cookies on your computer - http://www.bluekai.com/registry/ - some of what I saw about me there was laughable, but some was so accurate it was scary.
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"Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid." --Frank Zappa
KeyPlayer

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Re: How Accurate Are the Views for My Ad?

Postby KeyPlayer » Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:10 am

The information above is still accurate, but I wanted to let you know that a bad bot got into the website a few weeks ago and racked up a lot of views on some of the ads. Some ads got dozens of views from this bot, and there's no accurate way for us to correct this.

We continually monitor for bad bots, and block them when they're found. Thankfully, very few bots behave this way (many views of a single page), and this one was banned within a few hours of hitting the website.

I hate spammers and bad bots. :angry:
_____________________________________________________________________________________
"Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid." --Frank Zappa
KeyPlayer

User avatar

6 Minutes
 
Posts: 213
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 2:19 pm
Location: Fort Worth, TX


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