Logan Tod today releases an alert to website owners about the newly launched Google Results Prefetching service for users of Mozilla and Firefox web browsers.

Logan Tod believes the new feature will have a significant impact on conversion rates, affiliate program costs and the effectiveness of online advertising. The consequences include inaccurate traffic reporting and potential overpayment to affiliates.

Logan Tod is in urgent talks with tracking system vendors to resolve the problem and, in the meantime, is alerting all brands to the impact of Google’s Results Prefetching.

Whilst the service is of genuine user benefit, it generates ‘phantom visits’ to websites. Matthew Tod, CEO of Logan Tod explains: “When a user performs a Google search the browser is made to automatically load the most popular pages, that Google finds, in the background - this is called Prefetching. This dramatically speeds up the loading of the most popular pages.

“But this has serious consequences because the pages appear normal to many web analytics packages and they are counted as a genuine visit, even if the user does not click through to the site. This not only affects site analytics, but also response tracking and affiliate management systems”.

The consequences of a significant number of “phantom visits” include, inaccurate traffic reporting on brand websites and that of media owners, plus cookies being set in error. This latter point could result in over-payment to affiliates.

Logan Tod is alerting all its clients and contacts, as well as discussing the issue with tracking system vendors to find an urgent solution.

This new Google feature applies only to Netscape, Mozilla and Firefox browsers, typically 3% to 8% of all site visitors.

Editor’s notes

About Logan Tod & Co
Logan Tod & Co is an independent web agency, focused on helping companies achieve better results from e-business. The company ensures online activity creates more sales leads, sells more, saves money and improves ROI. The Logan Tod team does this by analysing data, managing the conversion process and developing techniques to maximise the effectiveness and efficiency of a website.

Logan Tod works closely with its clients, ensuring their site development is more business results driven and customer centric. Clients include Renault, Mothercare, Sharpes Bedrooms, Littlewoods, Adept Scientific and Yes Car.



Katy Howell
immediate future Ltd.
0845 408 2031

Published on: 12:00AM on 7th April 2005