I spend an inordinate amount of time examining Fan History’s traffic patterns. Outside of marketing Fan History, it is the task to which I devote probably my most of my time. What various trackers do is interesting I love awstats because it saves so much information, produces the best list of referrers that you can easily filter and it saves everything. I love StatCounter because the recent came from list is much better than a similar similar feature offered by my host. The list of ISPs for recent visitors is also fantastic. Google Analytics is the tool you have to have in order to be taken seriously. Quantcast gives pretty charts, updated rankings and demographic information. ActiveMeter I’ve used less. (Their free version only allows for the past 100 visitors, as opposed to StatCounter‘s past 500 visitors.) Still, it provides good data to help supplement other counters.
I’d almost recommend anyone running a fansite use all four, minus ActiveMeter. They offer a good cross picture of what is really going on traffic wise with your site. I wouldn’t use more than four because it can increase load time. (Fan History uses six. Plus ads. It can really slow down the site at times.)
I just can never get past the fact that these stat tools, while providing valuable information, rarely agree. When you’re talking a thousand unique visitor spread on a site getting between 1,000 and 2,500 unique visitors a day, there is some problem going on. It means you can’t really compare the effectiveness of an advertising campaign against counters but rather with the comparisons inside that counter. Ug.