Re: Tracking hits to PDFs on the web?

Subject: Re: Tracking hits to PDFs on the web?
From: Lou Quillio <public -at- quillio -dot- com>
To: Tom Johnson <thj -at- tampabay -dot- rr -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2006 22:58:58 -0400

Tom Johnson wrote:
> Does anyone know how to track hits to PDFs on the web?

Two ways, Tom.

The first and best is log analysis. Yeah, scripted logging is cool
and immediate, but a good log file analyzer goes places it can't.
Do both.

If you must have scripted tracking of PDFs, it comes at a usability

The usual way is to *not* directly link to the PDF file, but to a
page that invokes your logging script then immediately does an HTTP
redirect to the PDF file. This way, traffic stats flow into your
scripted analyzer's database as usual (Mint, Google Analytics, etc.)
and the user doesn't notice -- *unless* he assumes he can
right-click-download on the link you provide. That will fail, and
that's the cost.

My advice is to use scripted logging for what it's good at, but
analyze logs for binary file traffic.

A third way is to provide a landing page for your downloadable
binary file, without the redirect. Obviously this page's traffic
can be logged with script, and maybe add value by explaining how to
do the actual download, but you won't know for sure if the final
download step took place. Only logs will tell you that.

Binaries are *on* the Web, but they're apart.


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Tracking hits to PDFs on the web?: From: Tom Johnson

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