Exhibit 2 of the article, "Get into E-Commerce Without Betting the Store," ( JofA , May99, page 60) explains the difference between a "hit" and a "visit" to a Web site.
The term "hit" was initially used by the information technology (IT) community as a rough measure of Web site activity. The only tool available to measure it was the log on the server set up to monitor technical events, not the pages being viewed on a user's browser.
When the term was first used, one hit usually referred to a person looking at a single page on a Web site—this is no longer the case. Today when a user views a single page on a Web site, the complex technology required to deliver the requested content, advertisements, games and other information will generally trigger multiple hits. A single page may result in dozens of hits being recorded in the Web site log.
Since this is the virtual world, there is also a qualitative side to consider. Not all viewing has the same value since pages can be delivered to a robot or spider (a computer program used by a search engine), an auditor performing tests to verify Web site activity or internal users of the site. Such usage is not representative and should, therefore, be distinguished from more "typical" activity, if not ignored entirely.
For help, there are several companies that currently provide consistent and meaningful measurement and reporting of Web site activity.
Richard E. Prendergast, CPA
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