Measure Map Alpha

January 5th, 2006

Back in November, I wrote about how I had been waiting to get an invitation to join Measure Map, a site dedicated to tracking weblog statistics (in the mean time, I had been invited to join Googe Analytics, a site to track general web site statistics). This afternoon I finally got the Measure Map invitation; I immediately signed up and enrolled my weblog. First impressions follow:

Signing up is easy. You give them a few data points about your weblog, such as its name, its URL, and what kind of weblog it is (WordPress, Movable Type, etc.), and you create a usename and password. Standard fare for this kind of site.

Instrumenting your weblog is a bit more difficult. For WordPress, it requires that you edit your theme’s footer, post, and comment templates and insert a snippet of javascript. The footer script is easy, but the scripts that go into the post and comment templates require a bit of hunting around to find just the right place. Instrumenting for Google Analytics required the insertion of only one bit of script, and it could go just about anywhere. However, Analytics is only tracking page views, whereas Measure Map also tracks things like post and comment creation. The additional bits of script enable them to gather more fine-grained data about the use of your site.

Measure Map has a tool at the top of some of the pages that lets you focus in on which part of your history you want to examine, like the Organizr in Flickr. However, like Organizr, it requires Flash. I hate Flash and would much rather see Measure Map use AJAX. Not too long ago, Flickr junked much of its Flash in favor of AJAX, and the site works better than ever. I’d like to see Measure Map do the same.

Measure Map doesn’t know about a post until someone visits it. After visiting three posts, Measure Map told me I had a total of three posts. So I brought up the archives and dutifully clicked through each post so that Measure Map could learn about them. It turns out I have 268 posts (not counting this one). Likewise, Measure Map doesn’t seem to know about comments until someone creates one.

When I looked at the Posts List in Measure Map, I found it had sorted the posts by number of visits, smallest to largest. Not very helpful. I have many posts with a small number of visits and only a few with an interesting number of visits. It’s easy enough to reverse the sort order, but shouldn’t the list default to the sort order that the most people are going to find helpful?

The Post List page only shows 20 per page. Why can’t it show me all of them, or at least give me the option of upping the number of posts per page to a larger number, like 100? I hate sites that show me my data in small sips; I have a broadband connection – I want to gulp!

There is, of course, some strangeness to the statistics that get generated when you’ve only been collecting data for a few minutes. For example, it told me something like “You’ve had 270 visits today, that’s 4100 percent lower than an average day.” I guess that when I was clicking through all those posts, I really skewed their idea of my visit rate. These oddities will even out over time. In fact, some of them already have; the page quoting the 4100% statistic now tells me my visitors today is the same as an average day.

Most frustrating thing about Measure Map: it has RSS feeds that can provide you daily statistics, but the feeds are located in a password-protected section of the web site. This means that web-based readers like Bloglines can’t see the feeds. BOO! HISS! There are better ways to do this!

Update: I’m not the only one to get his invitation today.

Update 2: I rooted around in the support forum at Measure Map and found a link to a page that describes how to embed your username and password in the feed so it should work with Bloglines. Haven’t tried it yet, but it’s the same kind of scheme that Google Mail uses, and I expect it will work.

Update 3: Here’s another guy who got an alpha-test invitation today.

3 Responses to “Measure Map Alpha”

  1. Measure Map at The Cramer Family Says:

    [...] around with a well designed app. Maybe I can get some ideas for future projects. Update: Someone else got an invite today too and has a much more thought out first impression. [...]

  2. Jeffrey Veen Says:

    Jim, I’m curious about your feelings on authenticated feeds. We talked to a lot of people about this, and across the board people were concerned about the privacy of their stats. The only way we can keep your number private is by put them behind the password protection. Is there some other alternative we should consider?

    Also, regarding the default sort order of the posts page — that, too, came with much consideration. Let us know if you still feel that way once you’ve been tracking traffic for a while. Most of our users have asked that their most popular posts be listed first, which we’ve made the default.

    thanks for the post!

  3. » Blog Archive » Got an invitation to Measure Map Says:

    [...] it is going to be interesting to see if I get more than one hit per month… Update: and also got invitations.

    This [...]