AWStats “Add to Favorites”
Do you also get these weird “Add to Favorites” reports from AWStats ?
Of course, this is too nice to be true!
How does AWStats estimate the “Add to Favorites” ?
Microsoft Internet Explorer was the first browser to display a small image next to the address of a web site. This small image is called favicon and it was loaded from a file located at /favicon.ico. This favicon was only loaded when the user decided to add the web page to his favorites (bookmarks).
AWStats uses this feature and counts the number of hits on the /favicon.ico file by users of Internet Explorer and compares the count to the total number of Internet Explorer users. As Internet Explorer was by far the most popular browser, this gave an accurate estimate of the percentage of visitors who added the web site to their favorites.
Why it does not work anymore
This estimate is not valid anymore for two main reasons:
– since mid-2006, when the Google Toolbar is combined with Internet Explorer, there are repeated hits on /favicon.ico even when the web site is not added to the favorites.
– since the beginning of 2007, the new Internet Explorer version 7 becomes popular. This new version of the browser tries to load the favicon each time a web page is viewed.
Although it would be technically possible to create a work-around that would exclude Google Toolbar users and Internet Explorer version 7 from the stats, this cannot be viewed as a good solution, as we can expect that the number of older Microsoft browsers will rapidly decrease.
We believe that “Add to Favorites” will disappear in future releases of AWStats.