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So You Wanna Track Your Ads?

By Lisa Reddell
Posted Sunday, August 8, 2004

Part Two in a Three Part Series

In Part One of this series, I discussed the need for ad tracking, whether your ads are paid or free. In part two, I'll be discussing the different ways available to track your ads.

Now, the way I see it, there are 3 options available to track ads.

1. Email Tracking
2. URL Domain Tracking
3. Online Tracking Services

Email: Did you know you can track ads with email? Yep, it's true! Email tracking is very simple. First thing you need to do is figure out how you wish your ad codes set up. By that I mean, do you want to use: where the tlht1 code tells me that this tracking email link was used in The Left Handed Times, ad number 1. Or do you want to assign each ezine, safelist or message board with an individual code? It's totally up to you.

After you figure out how, then there's just one thing you need to remember, and that is the format that must be used for the email tracker to work. The format looks like so:

Notice AFTER the equals sign the tlht1 and ezine1? These are simply codes that you keep track of, so you know where your hits came from, tlht1 or ezine1. Of course you will make notes as to what ezine is ezine1 and which ad you used for the link. Simple huh!

Lemme ask you this? Have you ever requested, say a free report from an email address that looked like any of these?

If you have, you have reached an autoresponder, which could have been set up to track hits. The first two address's are from a Domain Name, meaning that (reports051/reportab) are tied to the Domain Name of The 3rd email address is an Autoresponder address, where the user has pre-determined the code REF051 goes with a specific ad. So, the REF051 is a tracking code, utilized through an Autoresponder.

[[Side Bar]] Autoresponders are nothing more than a fancy email address. Did you know that? It's a fact! There are many autoresponder services that are both fr*ee and pa*id. Since autoresponders are just fancy email addresses, you would pretty much set up the same way. Each individual responser has their way of how the tracking codes are set up. (Note: In article three of this series, I will provide you with a list of all the services I

URL Domain Tracking:CGI Scripts are programs that can be purchased to track your ads. You must own your own site and the program has to be installed on your website. Perl, PHP or MySql are some of the software requirements needed to run the script, so most likely, free sites won't qualify.

Online Tracking Services: There are many online tracking services available. Unlike Scripts, utilizing an online service, there is nothing to install. But, instead of a one-time fee, there is either a monthly or yearly rental fee. These fees can vary from free, $7.97/month to $29.95 per year. It depends on the individual services. One service, that I know of, applies extra charges for over a certain amount of clicks.

Features vary from service to service. You would of course want to choose a service that will meet your tracking needs.

All three options for tracking have their own pro's and con's. One needs to consider these pro's and con's carefully before making a final decision.

In conclusion, email tracking is simple and will cost only your time. The major drawback being it doesn't provide any statistics about your clicks. Although CGI Scripts require a one-time expenditure, unless you know how to install them on your site, paying someone to do it for you is your only option. Also, your site will need to provide system resources (like disk space for the program itself and the actual tracking files.) Online services require no installation and your own website is not required. but, there are monthly/yearly fees involved and if your tracking service has server troubles, you are dead in the water. If their site is down, any clicks on your tracking codes would most likely send the click into la-la land.

Well that's it for today. It is my most sincere desire that you will finish this article and say, "Hey, I didn't know that!". In the final article of this series, I will provide resources discussed in Part 1 and Part 2. Thanks for reading.

About the Author
Lisa A. Reddell is a Free-Lance writer, a domestic engineer, a busy mother of three, a partner in LOGON's Galleria of E-Publisher's and Co- op Owners and publishes the weekly Ezine, The Left Handed Times. Lisa has started achieving dreams of online success & You can TOO! Visit Lisa's Site:
( OR email Lisa:


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