Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Are You the West Country Stalker?

As 2010 enters the final furlong, I find my thoughts turning to some of the great unanswered questions which have arisen over the past twelve months. Foremost amongst these is the matter of the 'West Country Stalker'. Whilst this sounds as if it might be some kind of Sherlock Holmes mystery, I'm afraid that it is nowhere near as dramatic as anything that Arthur Conan Doyle ever came up with. It all comes down to my web stats. Now, before you click away, thinking 'he's going to bang on about traffic levels again', rest assured, this isn't a another diatribe about Google and its bloody algorithms. However, it does stem from what many might characterise as my obsession with my stats. You see, when you spend as much time as I do analysing visitors, you start to notice patterns in visitor behaviour, and even begin to recognise certain individual visitors by their IP ranges, locations and page viewing patterns. The 'West Country Stalker' is one such visitor.

I first noticed this individual in the Autumn. What drew my attention was the fact that they had a similar browsing pattern to another semi-regular visitor - they looked at the same two pages (the indexes for both the main site and this blog) on most days, presumably checking for updates, and clearly never used bookmarks, as they always came to The Sleaze by searching for it on Google. However, their IP address and server location was unfamiliar. This visitor's location came back variously as in Dorset, Somerset or Devon. (Tiverton has often come up as the location associated with the IP address). Hence my labelling them the 'West Country Stalker'. Now, I have some ideas as to who this person is, (mainly based on the combination of browsing pattern and the fact that they use Tiscali as an ISP) - I certainly know who it isn't. The only people I know in Devon are my Aunt and cousins, none of whom are even aware that I have a web site, and certainly wouldn't be looking at something like The Sleaze, regardless of whether they knew I was behind it or not. As I say, I have my suspicions, but I'm wary of airing them for fear of getting it wrong and causing offence. So, are you the 'West Country Stalker'? Come clean and put me out of my misery.

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