Curiousity for curiousity’s sake

I host a number of websites. I can get away with it because they are so low traffic that I could probably run the server off my cellphone; they don’t need powerful hardware or huge intartube pipes. And they are such low traffic because, for the most part, I have weird, eclectic interests..

But still, a few people share them, and there is a steady trickle of traffic at some of these sites.

Which makes me wonder a bit about who they are.

Sooo… I have a few tools to examine my server logs, and watch what arrives at my sites. Yes, I use some traffic monitoring software, but only ones which allow people to block them, and honour Do Not Track. And I anonymize the data, so if someone were to hack my server there would be no way to connect the data traffic to the… well, to the traffic.

I spy on people, but I make sure I do not know who they are.

Anyway, I know I capture only the tiniest fraction of the actual site traffic, most of which appears to be automated processes and spiders. The few ‘real live humans’ who show up are nowhere near enough to make any judgements about, but I like to see what interests them on the website, and if they can be cross-referenced to a country. I am not at all surprised to find small number of people from Scandinavia visiting one site, or the regular pings from the USA at another, but the tiny Oceania nation which has someone (maybe a couple of someones?) is always a bright spot. The Russian visits are equally rare, but usually less certainly human.

Seeing a single visitor methodically but very slowly (relatively speaking) working through a category of photos is a warm fuzzy. Seeing every photo in a category requested within a few seconds of log time is not. I am very interested in the people who pop in to the family tree website; how did they find that particular page? are they related to the string of people they clicked on? do they stay on the site long enough to indicate they are copying information over to their family tree software? The number of attempts to break into the cloud are astonishing; are clouds really that valuable if you manage to hack someone’s password? Can I figure out how to serve ads on just the login page? bet I could make some bucks…

I expect I am easily entertained.