web stats in tabbed browsing

Part of my responsibilities at work include managing our web stats. We had an interesting conversation last week about how visitors are tracked when they open links from our website in multiple tabs – as in Firefox, Opera, IE7, etc. We were particularly looking at paths people follow through our site and noticed people pogo-sticking a bit.

One hypothesis was that people opened another tab or tabs and then continued from the original location. Might that cause the pogo-sticking we were seeing? I don’t think I’ve ever seen any papers on what affect tabbed browsing has on web stats, but I’m curious if anyone else has seen anything.

A brief search revealed this, from ClickZ Experts, but not a whole lot else that seems relevant. Maybe JavaScript-based tracking tools (Mint, Clicky, WebTrends SmartSource Data Collector) take care of what seem like they could be discrepancies, but I think it might be a bit early to tell.

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