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I have a client who is in need of determining the traffic statistics from a large number of "tinyurl" shortened URLs, that all redirect to his site.

  • The services that he's used include TinyURL, X.CO and Bit.ly , to name a few.
  • The web server is IIS6.
  • The hosting service is Godaddy.com and the plan he has is the "economy windows" plan.
  • These shortened URLs only point to the root.

He knows that he can receive limited reports from most of those URL shortened sites themselves, but what he'd like is to have it available from his own dashboard AND, have the ability to further redirect the traffic to another page on his web server and possibly even outside of his own webserver, to another web server elsewhere that he'd arrange agreements with. That last bit is quite important to him and my feeling is that he's probably going to want to sell redirection and needs to show traffic statistics in order to do so.

I have tried using ASP, PHP and also on the client with Javascript and yet I can not retrieve the HTTP_REFERRER information. The information that I had hoped for is just not there.

Is there an IIS6 setting that would allow for this information to be sent down to the clients? I've tried Opera, Safari, Firefox, IE, Chrome... same results. In Firefox, I see "x.co" was set in a cookie but thats it. The part he's really interested in is the x.co/. I've also looked through his IIS logs. I cant see that the visit came from anywhere specific. Any way to obtain the data that would allow him to further redirect web traffic?

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1 Answer

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Here's how 301/302 redirects work:

  1. User access the shortened URL
  2. Shortened URL service returns a redirect header
  3. The User's BROWSER gets the redirect header and loads the page without using the HTTP_REFERRER

As you can see, its not the service that's at fault, its the client-side browser. This is just how redirects work. You'll have to either (a) start using a URL shortening service that allows for traffic statistics (i.e., DwarfURL), or (b) force all your users to use specific browsers that DO enforce the returning of the referral.

Also see this post for more info.

Good luck!

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Thank you @Redmumba. I will read more about it at that link.. –  Electric Automation Sep 13 '10 at 0:39
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