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I'm really approaching this whole website tracking thing from several different angles...

At work, everything is based on javascript tags - that is to say, you can capture session events (like people entering details into forms) as they happen, but you couldn't capture the contents of the form after submission, because the javascript on the outcome page wouldn't have access to the post variables.

On LJ, everything is based on web bugs and coding things up very specifically. So I can code LJ to respond to specific requests from my server (like this) which then allows me to grab data easily. But I can't capture any server-side or session variables on LJ.

Then on my own site, I don't have the expertise to use javascript to capture data, so everything is based on server-side data that gets bounced around via submitted arguments, cookies, and just general code executing prior to the page being served.

It's basically three very different approaches to tracking online behaviour and understanding user interactions, and sometimes it gets just a little frustrating that I can't use Technique X on Site Y - I often forget what I can and can't do on each site, then get met with disappointment later...

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But wouldn't you get bored if it were all the same?

Gosh no. If all three sites I have to work with could handle both server and client side scripting, along with giving me the ability to write backend scripts to basically enable interfaces between sites, I would rule the bloody world....

Then clearly the developers had you in mind when they created such discordance ;)

It makes me wonder though...

Well, not really.... I mean, I could do all of those things on my own site, except:

1. I don't have the number of users that LJ does
2. I don't have the team of analysts that work does

So #1 precludes the sort of stuff I'd like to use the data for, and #2 prevents me from actually having the resources to actually get through all that data....

If I ever moved AMA to my own server, it would however be bloody awesome..

Have you ever put serious thought into it? Moving it to your server I mean.

Lots. It's not a path I want to go down, but I could if I had to, and I could do some really neat stuff with it...

But I haven't the time, or the attention to boring detail....

Fair enough. Seems like there'd be endless possibilities. Not to mention if you had some sort of adverts running, with the number of hits on AMA you could earn some serious pocket change.

Maybe, maybe not, as the ads would undoubtedly be based on click through, not just page hits. Plus he'd have to factor in the membership dropoff and come up with a way of attracting new members once it's outside of LJ's search framework...

That's the biggest benefit of running it inside LJ, the fact that it's discoverable to a large userbase, who experience painless access. Moving away from that and you have resistance from an extra sign-up process, extra work to be discoverable and so the problem of the community stagnating due to no or few new members.

They're not insurmountable problems but they would impact growth and diversity.

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