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Location: New Delhi, Delhi, India

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Google Analytics vs. StatCounter: Round One goes to StatCounter

I received an invitation from Google the day before for participation in the Google Analytics program. Google acquired the much-hyped Urchin a little over a year back, which was regarded as the best web stats provider with lots and lots of details.

I promptly inserted the invitation code and signed up for Google Analytics. Actually, this very blog of mine has both StatCounter and Google Analytics code inserted in the template. Having said that, I would like to make it clear that I would use Google Analytics for all the websites that I own for it certainly has some tools that I would need for as the erstwhile Urchin tag said – ‘For Deep Analytics’.

Anyway, that’s not what I am writing this post for discussion. Actually, in the two hours I spent on analyzing Google Analytics, I have found that it had too much frills. Not only that, I found the following ‘snags’ in it:
a) The stats were not real time. There is a considerable delay in stats updating.
b) Mysteriously, the 3rd graphic in the ‘Executive Overview’ that has a world map which shows the cities most of your visitors came from is missing now. It has been like this for the last two hours now. I thought that I might have clicked off something unwittingly in the settings but then it wasn’t the case.
c) On click opening a link in a new browser, most of the times it asks for signing in again. Strangely, if you happen to close the window without signing off and reopen the browser soon enough, you would gain access to the admin panel without even signing in! Some faulty cookie scripting is responsible. There is no security issue here.
There would be a few more bugs like these; I am sure of it. If you happen to find any, please do let me know.

Anyway, talking of StatCounter, well, it provides real time stats, the user interface is very friendly and you will get all the details that you would ever need. Creating projects is perhaps the easiest there and the whole setup is as clean as a whistle.

A few months back, I was wondering if StatCounter would survive Google’s deadly game where it purchases an already established web company and distributes it for free thus killing competitors of similar services. Very Microsoftly, wouldn’t you agree?

Anyway, back to Google Analytics now. If this remains the state of affairs, StatCounter need not worry. It will still have many, many buyers. Have you noticed that if Google happens to be the first one to innovate something (like its AdWords program), it charges a premium?

Before winding up, I would like to share a curious observation I made while signing up for Google Analytics today. I was given a link to sign up for a Google account if I didn’t have one already in order to get entry to the Google Analytics program in the invitation letter.

Since I already had a Gmail account I didn’t. Just used the one that I had and signed up for it. I thought you got a Gmail account only through invitation and can’t sign up that way. Well, then what is this? Would someone try and let me know? I could’ve done that myself, but would really like you to try out. *HEH*

Now Google is going the MSN Passport way where you can have access to a wide range of services with one single user ID. Passport is now history, but history repeats itself and its latest avatar is Google.

Did I hear someone say déjà vu? *wink*


Blogger roy said...

I do agree that Analytics is slow, but real-time tracking isn't as important to me. I use Mint now to track on a daily basis (throwing away long-term data); Analytics will be wonderful for me in tracking long-term things.

That said, I'm going to continue using both side by side until I get a better sense of Analytics and then make my final conclusions.

5:55 PM  

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