Once upon a time when you wanted to meter your site, SiteMeter was the only solution. I started metering my blog with SiteMeter around 2004 because that’s what all the cool blogs were doing. Not that my “impressions” (page views) were ever that impressive, at least according to SiteMeter. Their meter went up and down but generally I was somewhere between a hundred and two hundred page views a day.
As I documented elsewhere, their metrics were grossly inflated, as they caught obvious search engines, which are not human beings. Still, it was useful to get a general snapshot of blog traffic. One click got you an up to the minute report. Google Analytics makes you log in and by default you are always a day behind. Despite its shortcomings, SiteMeter is useful. It excels in useful reports that always just one click away.
Around six a.m. on September 24, SiteMeter stopped metering my blog. The reports still come up but they just show zero traffic. Of course, this blog’s web traffic had not stopped, as evidenced by the fact that you are reading this. Both Google Analytics and StatCounter showed the usual site traffic. I thought maybe my tracking code had expired, but when I was finally able to log in to the SiteMeter manager and review my tracking code I found that it had not changed. So then I figured maybe they just weren’t aware that they weren’t catching my blog’s statistics. So I sent them a support request. More than a week later, I still have heard nothing.
Granted, it is hard to give me much attention when I don’t pay them anything. Most of SiteMeter’s customers don’t pay them. This limits us webmasters to the last 100 page views or visits and overall statistics, but they still have plenty of opportunities to make money from me. Every time I go to check out a SiteMeter report I see no less that two ads, one on the top and one on the side, will appear. And I typically checked the site a half dozen or so times during the day.
Go to SiteMeter’s web site today and it suggests that no one is minding the store. Their latest announcement was in February 2009. Their newest widget is for Windows Vista. They will still take your money quickly enough, if you want to pay for their service. It’s not worth paying for when there are so many superior and free alternatives. Why pay for a service when they cannot be bothered to maintain the site or troubleshoot problems? I imagine they hired some hacks to put the whole thing in the Amazon cloud and just forgot about it. To the extent they pay attention to it, it is to collect Google Adsense revenue. It probably pays for plenty of margaritas at the bar close to their deck chair along a beach in the Bahamas.
Not that they have cut off all my metering with SiteMeter. I also use SiteMeter on two other domains, and they are continuing to run fine. Their statistics, of course, are bogus and inflated as well, but I can still look at SiteMeter reports for these domains. For more official statistics, I go into Google Analytics.
However, Google Analytics tells you far more than you need to know. It’s an amazing product, just overkill for all but the most diehard web statisticians. SiteMeter’s user interface is simple, usable and clean. What I really need to do is emulate their reports and tie it directly into Google Analytics. Being lazy, however, I just haven’t gotten around to it. I’ve searched around to see if someone has taken the time to build SiteMeter-like reports for Google Analytics. If they have, I can’t find them or they are afraid of a lawsuit from SiteMeter’s lawyers. However, if I roll my own, I figure they’ll never know. So when I find some free time for the project, I plan to do it. It looks straightforward if you can write some code to parse a XML file.
Like Craigslist Casual Encounters, it appears that tracking your site with SiteMeter is now simply a waste of your time. So I’ll be removing my tracking code. No reason that I should give them my business since they obviously don’t care about retaining it.