measure twice, cut once

I’ve been looking at web-site metrics services and tools lately, for projects both personal and Mozilla-related. So far, the one that looks best is the Google Analytics system, but the privacy policy they use for it is the one for the web site, and that kinda sucks.

Anyone out there have recommendations for other such packages? I’m especially interested in the geographic-breakdown aspect of GA, the ability to export the data in usable forms like XML and CSV, and kinda the hosted-service aspect of it, especially for my own personal use. If the privacy policy were more, mmm, protective I’d certainly be willing to pay a reasonable amount in exchange.

11 comments to “measure twice, cut once”

  1. entered 22 March 2006 @ 10:17 am

    Awstats?

  2. entered 22 March 2006 @ 10:30 am

    Well, depends what you really want/need. Most are pretty much equal in capabilities.

    If your killer feature is geographic breakdown, perhaps you can just write a perl/php script to use an ip2country db to give you a breakdown right from your log file.

  3. Peter
    entered 22 March 2006 @ 11:12 am

    awstats is OK but not very advanced.

    The company I work for looked at GA when moving from our previous stats company and ended up going for WebSideStory http://www.websidestory.com/

    They provide very good stats inc country. They also have a awesome tool (unfortunately on IE) which is a plugin that super imposes stats for your website (imsage and link clicks) over the actual site so you can see visually where people are going on your site. Very cool but wish they produced a FF extenstion that does it too!

  4. RC
    entered 22 March 2006 @ 11:57 am

    There is one halfway decent stats program out there, and it’s called Analog.

    Analog works quite well, and is one of the very few stats programs that doesn’t claim to measure things like “visits”, or “how long people spent on your site”, which are impossible to calculate. See http://www.analog.cx/docs/webworks.html for why.

    Analog outputs XML and CSV, supports IP-to-country (via DNS lookups), and as for privacy, well, you host it yourself.

    If you really want something hosted, Stephen Turner, the author of Analog, has a company called ClickTracks (clicktracks.com), which makes very pretty reports but unfortunately caves to marketing and produces silly visitor stats ( http://support.clicktracks.com/clicktracks/article.php?id=36 ).

  5. RC
    entered 22 March 2006 @ 11:59 am

    (I submitted something here about analog but nothing popped up saying this comment is in the queue for approval or whatever. Hopefully it wasn’t lost.)

  6. Toe
    entered 22 March 2006 @ 1:14 pm

    Google Analytics is based on Urchin, which can also be purchased as a commercial product and installed on your own server. Not sure about pricing, though.

  7. entered 22 March 2006 @ 2:34 pm

    I really like performancing metrics. I don’t know ( or care:/ )about privacy policies that much, but they seem to get some good data for me and it works pretty quickly.

  8. Jed
    entered 22 March 2006 @ 2:41 pm

    Like Robert says, it really depends on what you need. I’m biased to Performancing Metrics (performancing.com). The api is taking shape and will output some cool XML really soon, might be worth looking at. [/ shameless plug]

  9. Dao
    entered 22 March 2006 @ 3:22 pm

    I recently disabled Google Analytics for my sites because the servers were not reachable for at least one day. Since I prefer inside of instead of , my sites didn’t show up at all until the script timed out.

  10. Dao
    entered 22 March 2006 @ 3:34 pm

    … should be “Since I prefer <script> inside of <head> instead of <body>”. Simply removing tags kinda sucks.

  11. RC
    entered 22 March 2006 @ 9:03 pm

    quote “They also have a awesome tool (unfortunately on IE) which is a plugin that super imposes stats for your website (imsage and link clicks) over the actual site so you can see visually where people are going on your site. Very cool but wish they produced a FF extenstion that does it too!”

    There is something a bit similar in use at http://realtechnews.com/ where they track most popular outgoing links, fairly unobtrusively, in realtime. They use some javascript from mybloglog.com to do this. It works in any browser with JS enabled …