Anonymous visitor tracking

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Anonymous visitor tracking is the process by which a company tracks the visitors to its website, in order to glean commercially relevant information as to the identity of those visitors.

Methods[edit]

In July 2013 Matt Goulart of Ignite Digital claimed that an effort to identify anonymous visitors to corporate or sales websites had become commonplace.[1] One service, Paradot, tracks the IP address of each visitor to a website and then performs a reverse DNS lookup in order to see if a host name with valid information is found—other than a general telecom host.[2] This has been used by some companies to track visitors to their website and create a lead profile from those visitor for the company's sales.[3] Other services place anonymous cookies on the computers of the individuals that visit a corporate website, which allows longterm tracking of customers by alerting companies to repeat visitors and their usage patterns via an interaction with that cookie.[4]

A similar process used by Google is "goal tracking", which provides intermediary pages between clicking on a weblink and reaching the actual website, which ask for personal identifying information. This can be used to add to the personal information derived from anonymous visitor tracking results.[5] More recent methods include the attachment to a unique visitor ID to incoming IP addresses, regardless of whether they sign up for an official account with a website, in order to track their behavior in a similar manner.[6]

In 2008, Martin Jeffers patented software, "wherein the visitor information includes at least an IP address of the visitor and a query string; determining an entity associated with the IP address; determining at least one person associated with the entity; gathering contact information associated with the at least one person; and providing the contact information to the user when the contact information meets a pre-defined criterion of the user."[7] In January 2014 two inventors filed for a patent that described a further evolution of tracking, writing that with their system, "the host system creates a spectrum of fan engagement ('like' to 'buy') with quantity and value with a unique combination of data which may include but is not limited to anonymous visitor tracking, host account tracking, and data from Social Network graphs on host account holders."[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Adam Tanner (July 1, 2013). "Here are Some Companies Who Unmask Anonymous Web Visitors (And Why They Do It)". Forbes Magazine. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Anonymous Visitor Tracking". Salesforce. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Now Get More Leads". VisitorTrack. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Anonymous visitor tracking". Etrigue. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  5. ^ Sarah Milstein, J. D. Biersdorfer, and Matthew MacDonald (2006). Google: The Missing Manual. O'Reilly Media. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  6. ^ Stephan A. Miller (2012). Piwik Web Analytics Essentials. Packt Publishing. p. 226. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  7. ^ "SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR EXTRACTING CONTACT INFORMATION FROM WEBSITE TRAFFIC STATISTICS". Retrieved April 11, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Researchers Submit Patent Application, "System and Method of Analyzing User Engagement Activity in Social Media Campaigns", for Approval". Politics & Government Week. February 6, 2014. Retrieved April 9, 2014.