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How to track where a buying customer came from..???

Posted on 2006-06-16
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Last Modified: 2012-06-22
I've got a shopping cart setup that when a person completes an order it updates the database and sets the lead source in the invoice to Web Page (this is how my client has it setup.)  I'd like to be more specific with that and see where the person came from: eBay, BrokerBin, PriceGrabber, etc.  I know I can use Request.ServerVariables("HTTP_REFERRER") to grab a referring URL, but I'm confused as to where I put this and how I store it.

I was thinking I could store the referring URL in a session variable and then populate a field in the database with this along with the rest of the info that gets inserted. The problem is...how do I store this and make sure the correct URL gets inserted?  

If I store the URL in a session variable I'd have to add that to every page that the person could possibly enter the site with.  But then if they go to another page on my own site doesn't the referring URL now become the site itself?  So as soon as they load another page that sets the session it'll set to its own domain and overwrite the actual domain the person came from.

Am I missing something here?  How does one go about doing this?  Any information would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!
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Question by:Andrew Angell
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Expert Comment

by:alorentz
ID: 16922484
Create the session variable in the global.asa in session_onstart.  It will only fire once per session when they come to the site.

Then store the session varaible.
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Author Comment

by:Andrew Angell
ID: 16922721
So this should work..??

<SCRIPT LANGUAGE=VBScript RUNAT=Server>
Sub Session_OnStart
    Session("referringURL") = Request.ServerVariables("HTTP_REFERRER")
End Sub
</SCRIPT>

Then I can use Session("referringURL") to populate the database?  Am I on the right track here?
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Expert Comment

by:alorentz
ID: 16922798
global.asa  -  do you know what this file is?

http://www.w3schools.com/asp/asp_globalasa.asp

You're on the right track...but read about global.asa.
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Author Comment

by:Andrew Angell
ID: 16923426
Nope, never used it before.  I'm having a little trouble following along apparently.  Here's what I've done.  I created the following global.asa and put it in the root directory on my xp pro test machine.  All of the sites that I test on this machine are created in virtual directoies within the actual site root so that i can still keep them all seperate....I don't think this should be effecting anything should it..???

Anyway, here's the global.asa that I have:

<script language="vbscript" runat="server">

sub Application_OnStart
  'some code
end sub

sub Application_OnEnd
  'some code
end sub

Sub Session_OnStart
Application.Lock
Application("referringURL")=Request.ServerVariables("HTTP_REFERRER")
Application.UnLock
End Sub

sub Session_OnEnd
  'some code
end sub

</script>

I created the following test.asp page as well and put it in one of my sites' directories:


<%@LANGUAGE="VBSCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%>
<%
If Application("referringURL") <> "" Then
      Response.Write(Application("referringURL"))
Else
      Response.Write("Nothing to show")
End If
%>

Loading that test page directly prints Nothing to Show, which makes sense to me.  So I then created a link from another test machine that linked to this test page, but when I view that I'm still getting Nothing to Show.

What am I doing wrong?
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LVL 11

Author Comment

by:Andrew Angell
ID: 16923444
I've also tried putting the global.asa inside the virtual directory with no luck.  I read that a script will use it's closest global.asa file so I figured I'd give that a shot....again, no luck.
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Accepted Solution

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alorentz earned 250 total points
ID: 16923834
You should not use application variables...only session variables.  And the global.asa shold be in the root directory.

But, let's make this simple.

Create a file called tracker.asp, and put this code in it:

<%
if session("referringURL") = "" then
   session("referringURL") = Request.ServerVariables("HTTP_REFERRER")
end if
%>


Then use tracker.asp as an include file (like <!--#include virtual="/tracker.asp" -->) and include it in all your pages (or only the pages you want).  That way it will track on any page of the site, and only record the referrer on the first page that is accessed.

That should work for you....
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LVL 11

Author Comment

by:Andrew Angell
ID: 16924541
that'll work.  thanks!
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