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Q: Searching for a Commercial User Tracking Solution (sim. Nielsen Netmeter) ( Answered 3 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Searching for a Commercial User Tracking Solution (sim. Nielsen Netmeter)
Category: Computers
Asked by: ace2222222-ga
List Price: $200.00
Posted: 20 Nov 2005 02:32 PST
Expires: 20 Dec 2005 02:32 PST
Question ID: 595384
I am looking into ways to record and analyse the online usage
(websites and other online activity email, messenger, etc.) of a user
group. I would like to know if there are solutions on the market, that
are commercially available (i.e. Nielsen would probably not sell their
system to thrid parties).

Technologically it will most likely come down to running a local proxy
on the client or making him connect over an external proxy. But i
could also think of modified usage of a "watch your employee"
software. It would be great to have a set of options for this task.

Request for Question Clarification by webadept-ga on 20 Nov 2005 03:07 PST

There are several ways to do this. The way that Nielsen Netmeter
employees theirs is by installing the Nielsen Netmeter on the client
systems, running in the back ground, which sends user activity on the
internet back to their databases. This Nielsen Netmeter is installed
and located at {92CA8ACC-4E99-4A2A-93F1-B2C5CADC8613} in the registry,
if you are infected/oops I mean featured/ with the software tracker.

--"On a regular basis, panelists that haven’t returned Internet
activity data over a minimum period of time, or have uninstalled the
NetMeter, are re-contacted and asked to re-join the panel. A permanent
survey monitors the de-installations to better identify the reasons
for leaving the research program. All panelists are given access to a
member section on the recruitment website. From there, they have the
opportunity to redownload the meter if they have purchased a new
computer or update their demographic profile. To ensure up-to-date
profile information for reporting purposes, panelists are also asked
to review and update their entire demographic profile on a periodic

The NetMeter system requires that the program be installed on the
client. If you are going to be using the tracking through a single
network with a single point of access to the Internet, it would
probably be better to have the tracker on that point of access rather
than trying to maintain it on each client. This also eliminates the
possibility of "user tampering". Also there is the hassle of Spyware
Detectors reporting it and trying to remove it when on the client.

I would love to answer the question for you, could you please give
focus to what type of system would work better for you, or let me know
that broader is better and I'll find samples of software for each type
of tracking.

The draw back of Proxy systems of course is the speed problems. Though
they say that Proxy systems help with speed, I've never found this to
be true in the real world. Router reports could be a simple way of
getting the information you are looking for as well. Some routers have
very extensive reports for user activity.

Clarification of Question by ace2222222-ga on 20 Nov 2005 04:23 PST
Thanks for the fast feedback!. What i plan to do is technically the
same as Nielsen does but not with the focus on general audience
measurement, rather to answer our clients specific questions around
user behaviour. The application would  need to either run on the
client PCs or we could use proxy making the user modifiying their
access configuration accordingly (or by using a small programm for
this). I am aware that this is a major effort and i have a own Nielsen
like software developed by our Team, but i was wondering if there is a
better solution than developing everything on our own...

Request for Question Clarification by webadept-ga on 20 Nov 2005 09:03 PST
Hi again, 

What type of language will/does your Team use? I'll see if there is an
open source project out there that you can bend to your will, or a
commercial one you can buy and have customized.

I'll also look at a few proxy ideas but that may not be what you are
looking for, it sounds like much more work on your end, than making a
utility (something like ghostsurf).

Subject: Re: Searching for a Commercial User Tracking Solution (sim. Nielsen Netmeter)
Answered By: webadept-ga on 20 Nov 2005 09:42 PST
Rated:3 out of 5 stars

Here is an open source project that does what you want done. It is a
client proxy which allows reporting of browser activity. When I was
talking about Proxy in the area above I was thinking of non-client
proxys. These days however, proxy can mean so many different things.
Basically what Netmeter, and the program I have for you here are, are
proxys. They are gateways you go through (with your browser) instead
of going directly to the internet.

Swiftsurf is created for Linux operations, but it is open source and
very stable. Your Team should learn quite a bit by going through the
source code of this project.

A java tool to spy on HTTP connections. Shows conversations within an
intuitive GUI. Allows the requests and responses to be modified before
submission. Great for web application development or students.

Xml Proxy Spy:
A full java project. The project use the technique of proxying
requests to be able to records its. The swing interface will let you
recording the http requests and produce a scenario that you can replay
as you want. A full swing GUI

If these don't cover what you are looking for, please let me know
using the Clarification function and I'll get back to you as soon as I



Clarification of Answer by webadept-ga on 20 Nov 2005 09:46 PST
Something to keep in mind with the OpenSource projects; they are
developed by people who have experience in coding what you are looking
for, and could be a great resource for you as well.


Request for Answer Clarification by ace2222222-ga on 21 Nov 2005 10:03 PST
Hi! Sorry but those links were not what i am looking for. Local
proxies per se are not even 5% of such a project. The software needs
to have a server component for data storage and analysis. My question
in other words: Is there a commercial individual user tracking
alternative to Nielsen? I though that maybe a software for enterprise
monitoring could eventually be modified, as the functionality is
similiar in many parts.

Clarification of Answer by webadept-ga on 21 Nov 2005 10:29 PST
Okay... I'll look into that area and see what is available. 


Clarification of Answer by webadept-ga on 14 Dec 2005 10:27 PST
Hi again, 

Appologies for the dealy.. 

This package looks like what you are looking for.. could you confirm that for me?


ace2222222-ga rated this answer:3 out of 5 stars
Helpful response a bit late. Thanks!

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