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Early web pages used hitcounters as a simple means of collecting what might now be called "analytics". The concept of getting "hits" emerged as the language of web visibility / popularity. (Hit later problematic as site of spamming, relation to search enging gaming)

Notably, early hitcounter's often made use of the fact that a CGI could produce an image as output (rather than just textual / HTML), and thus be placed on a webpage simply with an <img> tag whose src refers to the URL of the hitcounter cgi script.

See wikipedia:Hit counter