Website stalking?

Google Analytics is a useful tool, but is it a blessing or a curse?  When designing our website we made the decision that it should be as informative, useful and interactive as possible for our clients so we resisted the temptations of Flash animation and other web trickery and designed the site to be simple, easily edited in-house while also having an interactive client area.  Naturally we were interested to know who, when and what people viewed on our site.  Gaining access to this information meant that we could, over the course of time, tweak and adapt the site to our clients needs.  We were recommended Google Analytics and this has definitely done the job. There is no mistaking how useful this information can be, particularly from a marketing standpoint but after two years we have discovered that there is a clear downside.

Not all visitors to our site are clients, some are suppliers, some are partners we collaborate with, some are just random visits from interested people, and some come from other businesses/competitors. This is all as it should be.  However what happens when an unhealthy pattern of visits develop. ie when an known/unknown address visits your site a bizarre number of times.  For example, we love IDEO, we are all big fans and during the odd lunch hour one or two of us might log into onto their site. Yet should IDEO to look at their Analytics account they would only see an average of one visit per month at the very most from our studio. There is simply no reason to visit them more regularly than this, as it is doubtful that the site would have been updated in that time.  In comparison our Analytics account shows a visitor who has averaged 20 visits per month for the last year alone.  Of course we would like to flatter ourselves that we are fascinating and our website absorbing but we are just not daft enough to believe it, and we cannot help but think this is all a little fishy. What on earth are they doing? After over a year of this we finally decided to seek advise and were subsequently counseled that this activity was clearly ’suspicious’ eeek!.  So what do you do? Do you block the offending IP address? And if you do this will another pattern not develop? i.e. will those individuals not simply start accessing the site from somewhere else or from home and then what to do?  block these addresses also and where would it end?

I think it’s fair to say that when we started Nomad we were idealistic and we have not lost this despite some bruises along the way.  So it goes against the grain to block someone from our site. Yet, this is really annoying/strange/scary.  We have not come up with an answer to this and would really appreciate any thoughts people out there have on the topic.  Do others have this problem and if so how do you deal with it?

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    • Debra Fontannaz
    • October 21st, 2011

    I am kinda having the same problem

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