View Full Version : reliability
02-09-2005, 11:20 PM
hi, i have been using the free version of statcounter recently... but i've noticed that when my friends sign on to my websites, it gives me wrong locations... like my friend down the block would be registered as some obscure place on the planet...
whats^ with that??
02-09-2005, 11:40 PM
They use a database that tries to derive a location from the url and host information provided to it. The information is wildly inaccurate for me and, apparently, for at least a few others.
Even if everything were working properly, the location reported will always be that of the ISP and not that of the user. But everything is rarely working properly.
Part of the problem may be that some ISP's (like Comcast in some parts of the US) don't provide enough information in the host name to accurately place the source location. But there seem to be more problems with the db itself: Even when the ISP provides a host name that clearly identifies a location (as most US telcos do), the location will sometimes be misreported by SC.
02-09-2005, 11:44 PM
It depends on the friend's ISP - the ISP has to update the geo-location databases with correct information regarding the blocks of IP addresses they operate. ISP keep changing their IP adress blocks all the time, they don't always follow through with the updates.
Sometimes if the same ISP servicees different countries, only one would be used for all the IP addresses they have.
Furthermore if somebody surfs the net using an annonymizer service, thus going through some proxy servers, the IP address logged will be that provided by the anonymizer service, therefore not reflecting the actual IP or location.
02-10-2005, 06:35 AM
the ISP has to update the geo-location databases with correct information regarding the blocks of IP addresses they operate. ISP keep changing their IP adress blocks all the time, they don't always follow through with the updates.
But another thing it depends on is having the db vendor accurately record whatever information they get. I'm becoming less convinced that that is happening with the tool that SC uses.
Anyone who tries to use the information could probably provide too many examples of flakey information. Here are a few oddities from my current log:
Illinois, Chicago, United States, 0 returning visits
Chicago? Maybe. But I suspect it's more likely to be Kalamazoo, MI.
adsl-2-xxx-113.mia.bellsouth.net (Bellsouth.net Inc)
Connecticut, Hartford, United States, 1 returning visit
BellSouth in Conneticut? Maybe they bought some small outfit up there, but the form of the host name suggests that it's more likely to be coming from Miami in BellSouth's own territory.
Toronto-HSE-ppp3927962.sympatico.ca (Sympatico Hse)
California, Modesto, United States, 0 returning visits
Yeah. "CA" is the abbreviation for California, but not when it is at the end of a domain name. Again, I suspect that connection is more likely to come from Toronto.
I'd rather see SC just drop the location if the location db is this innacurate.
02-10-2005, 07:11 AM
Actually that presumed Toronto connection is mine, right from Montreal. Unfortunately Sympatico has an identity crisis, and it sometimes puts me through on a Toronto IP and other times on a Sherbrooke IP and rarely on a Montreal IP LOL! Sherbrooke is a smallish town about 50 miles from Montreal. Toronto is 350 miles, also in a different province. But the world is small on the internet :)
But this isn't just from Statcounter's geo-location database. It's how this ISP identifies itself for some ranges of IP addresses. California, regrettably, it ain't :lol:
Take heart, another geo-location player (www.whatsmyip.net) puts my Ip address at the same time in Alberta, and Sympatico does not even serve Alberta, as far as I know.
I think I'd like California better LOL!
02-10-2005, 04:25 PM
...Sympatico does not even serve Alberta, as far as I know.
I think I'd like California better LOL!
As a native of neighboring (err... or neighbouring) Montana, I feel I should come to Alberta's defense here. Much of the province is drop-dead gorgeous, after all. But -- alas -- I'd have to agree... I'd also take CA over that part of .ca.
I too use one of the ISPs that is misreported by its very nature. My Comcast IP is sometimes in Cherry Hill, NJ. Sometimes in Michigan... Mostly places I've never been close to, but occasionally the random match will actually turn up with "Seattle".
And I also agree that some of these things will happen with any location database unless the ISP's change their reporting methods. But the examples I gave are host names that do provide some info on user location. A different database design would allow clients like SC to use those host-name hints to get at least a little bit closer to identifying the user's ISP location.
02-10-2005, 04:37 PM
Well, my hostname says Toronto-HSE most of the time, sometimes Sherbrooke-HSE, or Quebec-HSE, rarey Montreal-HSE, depending on the actual IP address I have at the moment. But the geo-location of the IP may resolve to different places, depending on the geo-location database. The hostname comesfrom elsewhere, and is independent of the location.
I, on the other hand, have stayed put in the same house, in Montreal :)
I'm sure most people experience similar problems.
For some ISP's the location seems to resolve to their headquarters loaiton, regardless of the actual geographical area served. And then tehre are the errors.
None of my IP's should ever resolve outside of the terriotry served by Sympatico. If it does, then the geo-location database is incorrect at that moment. You query 3 such databases, you get 3 diffferent answers, possibly none of them correct. The updates may get propagated once a week or once a month, but IP reassignments happen continuously.
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