Web counters emerged in the Internet scene in the mid-90’s. In the beginning, web counters appeared as odometers in websites and counted only the total number of visitors to a website. Later on, a paid web counter service was offered by digits.com in 1996 but the company soon got swamped with clients and could no longer meet the demand.
Both the counter and the web trackers required web masters to input an HTML code in their site. With the tracker a logo would appear at the website instead of the odometer-like icon.
Today, instead of the logo, a transparent or clear .gif is placed on the website. This made the trackers invisible and more acceptable to web masters and readers.
The high demand for these web trackers also requires high internet bandwidth for the hosts. Many companies have realized that offering free services can be unsustainable so many of these companies have also limited the features of free services.
To get the full functionalities of web trackers, companies offer premium services for a fee. Many companies who did not offer paid services have also come and gone.