AWStats “Add to Favorites”

Do you also get these weird “Add to Favorites” reports from AWStats ?

Add to favourites

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.

The future

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.

6 Responses to “AWStats “Add to Favorites””

  1. Colin says:

    Thanks…I was wondering that myself. And I had heard about the favicon issue. The interesting thing is that my “added to favorites” stats changed over time in a way that made sense.

    As the site got better, the % rose. Who knows. I hope people are bookmarking!

  2. Edmund Burke says:

    Thanks for pointing us to the Forum, because my initial search concerned the estimated Add to Favourites note, and that subject has been well covered here.

    Edited by admin (off-topic)

    Keep up the good work….peace and love
    Syd Burke

  3. Tim says:

    That’s for the info, when I saw 148% I almost fell over 🙂

  4. Steve says:

    Thanks, that helps to understand my statistics – particularly given that a number of my visitors use firefox or macs.

  5. Mark says:

    Thanks for a clear and informative post, we were wondering just how it calculated the figures as some were up around 150% which seems a little impossible to say the least.

    It would be a shame if the statistic was removed from Awstats as compared to a fix being made for it, it is a handy little stat as some of our clients like to get an idea on that.

  6. skyline says:

    Great explanation. It would be sweet if there was a true way to track that figure.


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