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Re: Hit-metering: to Proposed Standard?

From: Donald E. Eastlake 3rd <dee@cybercash.com>
Date: Wed, 20 Nov 1996 10:01:01 -0500 (EST)
To: http-wg%cuckoo.hpl.hp.com@hplb.hpl.hp.com
Message-Id: <Pine.SUN.3.91.961120095430.5326F-100000@cybercash.com>
On Wed, 20 Nov 1996, Benjamin Franz wrote:

> Date: Wed, 20 Nov 1996 05:22:56 -0800 (PST)
> From: Benjamin Franz <snowhare@netimages.com>
> To: http-wg%cuckoo.hpl.hp.com@hplb.hpl.hp.com
> Subject: Re: Hit-metering: to Proposed Standard? 
> 
> On Wed, 20 Nov 1996, Roy T. Fielding wrote:
> > 
> > I still don't believe that such count-forwarding is appropriate for a
> > proposed standard (experimental is okay), since I don't think that
> > people disable caching just to record hit-counts (which are already
> > known not to be an accurate measure of readers).  Most people disable
> > caching by accident, and those that do it on purpose are normally
> > looking for Referer and IP/hostname (more than just a request count).

I havne't been following this thread very closely and I don't claim to know
the answers but I can't let that pass.  A lot of people are billing based on
hit count and deliberately disabling caching so as to get that data as well
as other data.  That's was the experts at the W3C sponsored meeting some
months ago in Cambridge Mass (on how to decrease melt-down caused by web
traffic) who had studied the matter had to say. 

> ...
> 
> Attempts to finess the system for the sake of improving hit counting are
> doomed from the start by the simple fact that most *browsers* have their
> own user selectable options for caching that are completely independant of
> the standards: 'Check every time','Check once per session', 'Never check'.
> This *alone* is enough to make efforts to make proxies report hits nearly
> irrelevant. Are they reporting 20 repeat hits from someone who 'checks
> every time' or 1 new hit each from people who 'Never check'? You don't
> know. We don't know. NO ONE knows. A server can *guess* based on referrer
> and IP address in their logs, or come very close to exact counts by
> anti-caching. But the necessary abstraction of data by the proxies on
> summary reports for hit-metering will defeat these efforts in log
> analysis and passing raw log information would defeat the *purpose* of
> proxies. 

Perfection is not generally needed for utility.

> ...
> 
> Benjamin Franz

Donald
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Donald E. Eastlake 3rd     +1 508-287-4877(tel)     dee@cybercash.com
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http://www.cybercash.com           http://www.eff.org/blueribbon.html
Received on Wednesday, 20 November 1996 08:43:43 EST

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