Like a great many web sites, I’ve got some difficult decisions ahead. New HTML specifications offer promising glimpses of compatibility and extensibility — XHTML, in particular — while at the same time widening the gap between current standards, and the hordes of folks still using 3.x and 4.x browsers. I have always maintained a rule of strict backward-compatibility, but for the first time I find that rule is getting in the way of progress… it’s unusually difficult to build pages — much less entire sites — that are congruent with, say, Netscape 4.07 and a 3G handheld device.

To gather some data for the decisions ahead I’ve embedded a script further down the page that reports Bloggle’s site statistics to WebTrends. After examining the mechanisms and privacy characteristics of a number of on-line statistics tools, I’m most comfortable with WebTrends’ method of aggregation — I think it has very little impact on user privacy. Moreover, I like it’s performance and its reliability. I *do* wish they offered a machine-readable privacy policy.

So, in the coming weeks I’ll be able to determine what the Bloggle aggregate looks like… in terms of browser versions, support for JavaScript, color depth and screen resolution. It’ll also be nifty to compare off-site statistics with those generated from my own web logs to get an idea how much caching is going on these days. I expect I’ll see a 20 to 30% difference in the page-view counts between the two mechanisms.

Meanwhile, Bloggle will be offering you a cookie or two… which you may accept or refuse as you like. Again… I have no desire to interfere with your privacy — or even your perception of privacy — I hope only to make Bloggle a very useful resource, and one that’s in-tune with its audience.

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