Webmasters Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for pro webmasters. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I've got this addon and want to hide the information they publish for our website. They show Popularity, IP address info, nameservers, etc.

Plus the traffic levels they report, 'popularity' reflects badly on anyone who uses them when traffic levels don't seem high and are not accurate.* It's like a shop displaying a counter of how many customers they get. Bad form to provide such information to the public.

How does one hide this invasion of privacy?

  • By not accurate, I mean they're subjective
share|improve this question

You can't. But then again, does it matter? Is it accurate? How do you know?

How popular a website is at best is a good guess. Even you don't really know because website statistics are subjective and difficult to measure precisely. What exactly is a visit? If a user surfs your site, stops for ten minutes, and then surfs it again, is that one visit or two? Were they reading a page for ten minutes? Or did they walk away? Is it the same person again or another user at the same computer?

If you have multiple analtyics installed for your website, as is commonly done by combining Google Analytics with server side software like Awstats, you will notice they offer different different statistics for the same website. (I have both of those abd Wordpress Stats for my blog and the three of them can vary widely in their reported statistics). The reasons for this is how they work (GA relies on JavaScript and may be turned off, etc) and how they define visits, sessions, users, etc. There is no way to get truly accurate numbers.

As for how others determine what is popular it gets more difficult. They don't have access to your stats so they really have to get creative in determining popularity. Some use the data that passes through ISPs to determine site popularity. Others use sources like Alexa who use spyware to track users' surfing habits. These methods works pretty well for heavily trafficked websites but starts to suffer from inaccuracies as you move further down the scale.

So, back to one of my original questions, how do you know it is not accurate? You, too, don't have access to other sites' statistics and I am pretty sure you lack the means to mine the traffic of ISPs or create a massive spyware network to track hundreds of thousands or millions of users. So how do you know that popularity number isn't accurate? I bet the number being reported by that addon is more accurate then how popular you think your site is.

But, once again, who really cares? By looking at what "features" that addon supposedly offers I'd say no one who knows anything about websites is going to use it. That information it offers is useless to the average user and pretty much everyone else, too. The few people who will use either are clueless enough that they shouldn't be a concern to you or already know how useless the popularity metric really is therefore rendering it meaningless.

share|improve this answer
Thanks for your reply and links, it's missing the point though of this question. I know because I do this for a living and yes it is subjective which is my concern; your average Joe doesn't know that however. Some fickle and short sighted people may compare one site's stats to another and draw conclusions. They shouldn't publish data or figures classing them as 'Popularity' which clearly undermines niche sites with less traffic, but higher conversion rates. – 524sd Jan 25 '14 at 18:29
You both validated my response and showed the flaw in your question at the same time. Do you really care what fickle and shortsighted people this? You shouldn't unless you're doing business with them and if they mention this extension to you you know they aren't worth doing business with. And popularity and conversion rates are not the same thing. Your site may convert well but that doesn't make it popular. The two are completely unrelated. – John Conde Jan 25 '14 at 19:25

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.