Hit counters, ISP tracing, and web statistics

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I have added a hit counter to the index.shtml file on a website=20
(http://maryland.sierraclub.org/baltimore ) I am maintaining. It is =
simple, and I just show the total number of hits since the date I =
it, and the number of days and the average hits per day. But I know that =

many of those hits are from search engines and bots, while I want to=20
determine just how much use the website is getting from "legitimate" =

<!--#include virtual=3D"/cgi-bin/counter_SCGBG.pl" -->

When I view the access logs, I can find the hits that are being counted =
searching for "GET /SierraClubBaltimore/index.shtml HTTP/1.1". I found =
the IP address for my own access of the web page is, which =

resolves to Verizon, which is my ISP. This is not the IP address of my=20
router, or my computer, but it is shown as my DHCP Broadband Connection. =
can find the IP address of my router in the network properties, and I =
use it as a web page where I must log in and then I see the IP addresses =
the PC (wireless adapter) and the Coax connection.

Other IP addresses are for Microsoft Bing, Yahoo Slurp, Comcast, =
Amazon, Broadstripe, Antietam Cable, and other entities, none of which=20
really identify the original user. I suppose there are other pieces of=20
information that might help make the determination as to the validity of =
hit in terms of being useful to gauge the activity of members and others =
are actually using the web page for their own information.

I have seen some web counters which show total hits as well as total =
hits, and sometimes they are organized per specific days and even =
charted to=20
show usage over a period of time to see the days and time of day for =
activity. I suppose the only sure way to get more meaningful data would =
to request a name or email address from the user, and that might have =
unwanted effect of dissuading people from using the website.

We are having a meeting tomorrow to discuss the website and other means =
communication among members, event and outing leaders, and the general=20
public. Some ideas that have been proposed are a CMS such as Drupal,=20
Wordpress and DotCMS, or using things such as Facebook, Yahoo and Google =

Groups, Ning, Twitter, and other social networking sites. But there is =
point in devoting a lot of effort to set something up if it is not used, =

although it might be used more if we put a lot of effort into it to make =
attractive, "cool", and easy to use.

Thanks for any ideas,


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