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Author Topic: Best way to get user count?  (Read 2580 times)

Apathetic_Coding

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Best way to get user count?
« on: November 19, 2010, 05:03:32 PM »
What do you think is the easiest way to get the number of current and active users for your software?

We have an updater in place and we can track how many times the application has been updated to all versions, but then new users could also download the newest version which they might use or just throw away so they may not necessarily be a user.

Anybody have an elegant way of finding out this information without intruding on the users privacy?

worstje

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Re: Best way to get user count?
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2010, 05:16:51 PM »
I can think of two different approaches.

One is to boobytrap the installation return to send information on whether or not you are upgrading, a single time only.
Two is to have your updater get the update from a different source (or pass extra data in a cookie orwhatnot) that signifies it as an update.

Current usage can ever only be tracked through regular 'phone-home' ability, and if number one above is already considered intrusive to ones privacy, that would definitely put stuff way out there in the suicide department. :)

mouser

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Re: Best way to get user count?
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2010, 05:21:13 PM »
people dont like when installers connect home to report information.
i think just looking at the stats of update downloads should give you a close enough approximation.

Stephen66515

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Re: Best way to get user count?
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2010, 05:35:10 PM »
failing that, ask your users to opt IN (NOT opt out) of an anaonymas data collection , collecting ONLY the data which shows how many times a user opens said software(s) - and NOTHING else.  Most people wont mind clicking yes to this if asked, but will bitch and moan if they are tricked into doing it.

Apathetic_Coding

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Re: Best way to get user count?
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2010, 08:05:55 PM »
Well the privacy of my users is very important to me, and because this is for nothing but curiosity I don't see making an Opt in/out policy to send usage information home worth the effort to code.
I guess I will just have to keep getting the rough estimates from the number of times the app was updated.
Thanks for every ones suggestions.

Renegade

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Re: Best way to get user count?
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2010, 05:52:21 AM »
I hate to be pessimistic, but to be honest, I think that leaving it as OPT OUT is actually the better way. I don't believe that privacy concerns are really all that important. While we'd like to think that, the truth is that privacy is basically gone now, and clinging to principles is idealistic and naive.

I'm not saying that I'm not idealistic and naive. I have a hard time with the issue myself.

What does also work is to simply use an autoupdater that includes a unique ID. Many many methods to do it.

A "Tip of the Day" screen can pull in an updated version.
A news feed can pull in RSS/XML and update a ticker in the UI.
An info ticker can do the same.
Offering dynamic discounts through a get/post to your site works well to boost sales AND accomplishes the same thing. Tagging the discount with a custom purchase code lets you do complete tracking with many more benefits.

etc. etc. etc.

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