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September 14, 2008

Goodbye Sitemeter (Updated)

Topics: Administrative
Latest Update: Even though SiteMeter has now decided to roll back to their previous version, I'm still not going to use SM anymore. Having taken the time to explore other possibilities, I'm going with Clicky Webanalytics. It's ten times better, and it's free. I'm not taking anymore chances with a company that can screw up as bad as they did. There's no way they could have Beta-tested their new product with bloggers without knowing how bad their new product was.
I've used Sitemeter for near on 4 years now, and up until this weekend I've found it to be a useful tool for evaluating the traffic here at Hyscience and several other blogs that we operate. However, the geeks at Sitemeter have completely changed it - to crap. After getting so frustrated with trying to work through the plethora of problems, I'm giving up. The damned thing is now about as useful as tits on a boar hog, and I've lost four years of data!!! Emails to their support say "they'll get back to me as soon as possible" - like I have time to waste waiting on those jerks.

And it's not just me that thinks so - check out the comments at Ace's post: Bye Bye, Sitemeter

As for the details of what's so wrong with Sitemeter now, The Reference Frame, which appears to be a geek blog (nothing less than respect for geeks intended here) offers a better list of what's wrong with Sitemeter than I could come up with:

The statistics is suddenly shown in Flash applets. Because of the following and other reasons, I believe that the old SiteMeter was more usable:

* the new SiteMeter is much slower than the old one; it takes 20 seconds to get to the statistics page (useless clicks, unlinkable subpages, initiation of the Flash, illogical default settings for sorting criteria that have to be changed)
* the fonts are too small and ugly and they cannot be magnified; characters in Flash are not designed to look as pretty and flexible as those in the full-fledged HTML
* the new SiteMeter doesn't seem to show the number of visitors during the last week or month (and not even the total number for today, as far as I can say)
* the new SiteMeter doesn't seem to show the (verbal) domain associated with the IP of a visitor
* most of the lists in the new SiteMeter don't fit the space reserved for them which is why only a few visitors/pages are shown, each having a small number of initial characters of the URL (in my case, all URLs are displayed as http://motls.blogs)
* consequently, it's impossible to understand the URLs without scrolling down and right for each of them separately; this problem significantly increases the time needed to extract something useful from the page
* I still don't know how to access the statistics of other users who have made their data "public": it was easy before (and conversely, I don't know how to allow you to access mine)

and let me finish because there are many other problems that make the new system virtually unusable. The creators of the new system probably like Flash (and for many purposes, I also think that Flash is simply great) but what I simply don't understand is why the owners of allowed a change that manifestly makes things worse from a user's viewpoint.

The Reference Frame has an update posted now that reads:
Update: Sitemeter claims that they have heard us and they will be implementing a rollback to the website immediately. So please, give them some time. Your patience is what they deserve in this painful situation.
The idea of giving Sitemeter more time is not something I'm likely to entertain with any enthusiasm; right now I'm so damned mad at them I'd almost sooner go without even though I just paid them $7.

The Reference Frame encourages to restore a classic version to view the data or one that is as close to it as possible, at least as an option. It seems that almost all users agree with TRF, Ace, and me. Here's what some of TRF's readers wrote:

* SiteMeter stinks: it's even more horrible than ever before
* The new SiteMeter is a stinking pile of crap
* New Sitemeter: I don't like it
* SiteMeter has really screwed things up
* The new & improved SiteMeter: ummmm
* Grrrr: boy, do I hates me some of that new SiteMeter
* New SiteMeter really sucks
* I really was more comfortable with the old one
* Bye-bye SiteMeter
* I hate hate hate hate the new SiteMeter
* I feel very disappointed with it
* The new SiteMeter is much much worse
* I hate the new SiteMeter
* I still preferred the original
* So far, I do not like it one bit
* SiteMeter redesigned, killed
* Why the hell did SiteMeter...? (link removed to keep the blog family-friendly)
* SiteMeter - arghhhh
* They've ruined SiteMeter
* If it ain't broke, don't fix it
* Why SiteMeter, Why?
* It's official: the new SiteMeter genuinely sucks
* I think it's too complex and the basic design is much better
* A big thumbs down

Positive reactions are yet to occur. The old SiteMeter wasn't perfect and I would have a lot of suggestions how to improve it and speed up the activities that typical users/webmasters like to do. But it seems that the actual changes went exactly in the opposite direction.

Even if SM switches back to classic, how in the hell do I get my four years of data back???

UPDATE: Message up now at Sitemeter - they're rolling back to the old system:

We are in the process of rolling back SiteMeter to the former system.
SiteMeter should be back online soon.
Please check back later.
Sorry for inconvenience.

Sincerely, SiteMeter Support Team.

And my old data is going to be where???

Posted by Richard at September 14, 2008 4:48 PM

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