Predications made in the year 2000 that the clickstream would become just another enterprise data source - alongside relational, flat files, XML, spreadsheets, packaged applications, mainframes - have come to pass. Today the click stream is just another data source, albeit a complex and not necessarily intuitively obvious one.

In plain English, every time a Web surfer clicks and interacts with a Web site, a trace of the interaction is left in the data store that tracks the processing occurring in the server supporting the site's presence on the Web. In less plain English, the communication protocol used to connect client (Web browser and server), called hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP), is a stateless protocol. This means that it does not track what it is doing beyond a single request-response interaction. Conversations that consist of multiple interactions are not captured as separately identifiable sessions in the Web log. All the clicks from all the interactions are interspersed with one another, willy-nilly, in the Web log. This is the clickstream.

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