Monday, December 15, 2008

A Problem With Google Analytics Part 2

In a previous post I talked about discovering a glitch of some sort with Google Analytics. (Check it out here.)

While sitting around with my roommate the other day and watching him play around with his 3G i-phone, I decided to ask him to visit the blog to see if the wireless phenomena occurred with the AT&T service. Much to my surprise, Google Analytics could still not figure out his log in location. In fact, as you can see in the image above, his visit is listed as coming from Dallas, TX.

Later that afternoon, we were at a friend's apartment 14 miles away from ours and I asked him again to log in and to click around a few times to make sure that I could confirm his identity. (One of the pluses of using this tool on a blog is that most people tend to not click on anything; therefore, a multitude of clicks will indicate that it is him.)

Two interesting things occurred:
1) His location was listed as Texas again
2) Oddly enough, his location was listed as Addison, TX a suburb of Dallas whose center is 14 miles from the center of Dallas.

I am going to go out on a limb and chalk this up in the coincidence column rather than believing that the maps of Chicago and Dallas were swapped in Google's computers somehow.

However, I would like to point out a few things:
1) Once again, wireless 3G log-ins do not seem to be traceable with Google Analytics.
2) The location seems to be random.
3) A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet with a representative from Omniture and I discussed my discovery. He said that it was not too far fetched that Google Analytics could not find the location of wireless log-ins. In fact, he said - paraphrasing - that Omniture is aware of the phenomena and it collects multiple forms of data on wireless log-ins to triangulate the real location of users.

While Google Analytics is great and free, it's good to know that people do get more when they pay for a service like Omniture.

(Note: In the interest of full disclosure, my meeting with Omniture was in a classroom setting. I have yet to use Omniture in a business setting. If there's anyone out there who does, then feel free to leave a comment.)

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