I apologize in advance for this being quite a long post... but, any help is great!
I have a website (coded in PHP) which publishes content provided by users in a revenue sharing model.
We pay each contributor a certain amount for every 1,000 "views" that their articles get. In the fine print, a "View" is intended to mean a unique visitor in a 24 hour time period. So if you visit an article three times in 24 hours, they would only get 1 view.
At first, we were tracking views simply by storing a cookie on the users browser. However, the views we were getting were seriously overinflated over the pageviews recorded by google analytic. My guess is because it was recording views for spiders and other robots, which google does not include (right?).
SO, we then switched over to using the google api to track "unique pageviews" for each article. This works very well. BUT, there is a problem:
Many of the articles we publish are broken up into multiple pages. The URL structure is such that each separate page has a unique URL (e.g., /article/21/page-2/this-is-the-article). In order to track the views for a certain article, we aggregate the unique pageviews from each page to one count for the entire article.
So that means that if a visitor reads a three page article, there will still be 3 "views" recorded, instead of the intended 1 (because we want to track unique visitor per article, not page of article).
The question therefore comes down to:
How do we track unique viewers of a single article, even if the article is split over multiple URLS (pages)??
Any help would be greatly appreciated!