Just a heads up that anti-virus maker AVG has included a new feature in it’s AVG 8 software that generates fake visits to your web site.
The way this works is someone running AVG 8 (there are 20+ million people) searches for something using Google. AVG will, in the background, visit each web site listed in the Google’s results in order to check and see if the web site might contain malware or virus type stuff.
A nobel idea, but a nightmare for web analytics because AVG is disguising itself as a normal browser when doing these checks. Instead of properly identifying themselves, AVG uses the user-agent of IE6 – essentially making itself indistinguishable from a real web browser.
This should not effect OWA due to the super-secret checks that OWA does to see if visitors are really robots.
Stay tuned for more on the state of user-agents and inflated traffic numbers shortly.