W3Counter – Kind of reminds me of Mint

w3counter screenshot

Web admins have a wide set of choices when it comes to website analytical tracking services. Some of the more popular services offer a free version which allows just about anyone with an inquisitve mind to track their visitors, hits, and uniques.

I, for one, rely and admire the awesome utility provided by Shaun Inman known simply as Mint.

As far as aesthetically pleasing tracking services are concerned, Mint blows the competition out of the water. I never imagined the day I would stumble upon a new service which offered the same functionality and attention to design detail. That was until I discovered W3Counter.

Based off of screenshots alone, Mint users will immediately notice the similarities between their own favorite green wizard with the blue modules offered by W3Counter.

The feature list and similarities continue, check the list out for yourself, and decide whether you’ve found yourself a new tracking service.

  • Free & monthly plans available
  • Data collected in real time
  • Visits & page views
  • Feed subscribers
  • Browsers & Operating systems

Imitation is indeed a form of flattery is it not? Shaun Inman got something right. So much so that others are following in Mint’s footsteps. I’l leave the rest of the user comparisons to the readers.

The question now is whether a one time (per site) fee of $30 fairs better than a minimum monthly fee of $5 for more advanced statistics.

Discuss - 22 Comments

  1. Devin says:

    Have you tried W3Counter at all yet? Any thoughts on it? Are you planning on doing some sort of side-by-side comparison?

  2. Derek says:

    I’ve loaded the free version. I’m a little hesitant to pay for the premium account(s). I’m afraid that putting the paid for Mint against the free version of W3Counter wouldn’t do either service honest justice.

  3. lisa says:

    At first glance, does W3C counter offer something that Mint doesn’t cover? Or is it something that if you already have mint, it doesn’t make sense to switch over?

  4. Derek says:

    It depends on how you would view the comparison of the two. On one hand, W3Counter offers a few different features such as IP mapping, and RSS subscriber figures which Mint does not offer out of the box. However, Mint does enjoy a large developer community which distributes Peppers for extending the functionality of the tracker.

    W3Counter does offer an open API for its premium and pro accounts. They also allow multiple sites to be tracked pending your monthly subscription. Compare that to Mints one install per site requirement.

    It’s a toss up really. The free W3Counter accounts compete very nicely with Mint (granted you have the Peppers to match the standard features).

    The final thing to consider is this: Mint – purchase a license, setup on your own server. W3Counter – free / paid accounts, site stats collected and served through W3Counter servers.

  5. Devin says:

    It seems to track well so far but the interface isn’t as simple as I find Mint’s to be. Besides, as mentioned, there’s nothing that Peppers can’t accomplish. I can only see this being useful for people keeping track of multiple websites and/or don’t want it installed on their server… hmm, I wonder if that affects page load times? Loading a remote JS file?

  6. Derek says:

    Also consider the fact that – as far as I can tell – the only method to run W3Counter invisibily is to pay / upgrade from a free account. 12 months at $4.99 ($59.88) or a one time fee of $30? You decide.

  7. Devin says:

    Ah, true. I guess I don’t mind hiding it somewhere. In either case, I’m sticking to Mint. 😉

  8. Steven says:

    I would think that Mint would be better – mainly because you get it forever if you pay once. But I’m trying out this W3Counter, and so far it is turning out to be very nice. If I had Mint I’d do a side-by-side comparison, except if I had Mint, I wouldn’t need W3Counter.

  9. Regi says:

    Hey Derek

    Long time reader, first time commenter.

    I feel with the price point that W3Counter is offering, Mint still is going to be the number one choice for a personal sites. Now if you were looking to add a stat package to a client’s site. The W3Counter I think would be an easier sell since it’s back by several developers, not saying either one is better then the other.

  10. Derek says:

    Welcome to the comments Regi 😉 You should drop your thoughts more often…

    Regarding the client approach, I believe that Mint would be a better idea. From past experience, clients prefer simplicity. Requiring them to login to a tracker on their own servers might create a more personalized sense of statistics. I have always been weary of trusting outisde services to track download figures and what not. I think it might be an easier sell if you’re telling a client:

    1) Here’s your frontpage http://site.com/
    2) if you want to track stats, go here http://site.com/mint/

    While running mint you’re able to pull data from the mySQL tables to be reflected on a clients site (if they yearned for such integration). I’m not sure about the API that W3 provides, but I think the loading times would be a lot quicker if the tables shared the same serer. Negligible in most scenarios, but clients generally do better digesting a complete package rather than sending them here and there for their on administrative site duties.

  11. fens says:

    Just use slimstat. I’m using my own stats thing I made and frankly slimstat seems just as good as mint and others. Also you are in control of the database unlike w3counter and google analytics etc

  12. Steven says:

    Client-wise, I do believe Mint wins. A client will expect to pay $30 for a statistics tracking application, and there won’t be any surprise. If you tell the client that you have to pay $12 every month, I don’t think he or she would be as happy. Also, as you pointed out Derek, Mint is on the same server, and it’s very simple to get to.

    Since I don’t have Mint, I can’t compare, but I do believe it is a better choice. Referencing an external Javascript file is sure to slow down your site. I’m using W3Counter right now, and it’s working for me, but I’d like to have Mint instead.

  13. Regi says:

    While I don’t Disagree with any points that both Derek and Steven bring put, I feel you guys are looking at it from with a developers mind set. I think that unless you have web savvy clients or you are a trusted freelancer, most clients will reject the idea of using a application a “home-brewed” developed application.

    Now I am not saying that W3Counter is better then Mint, or that Shaun created a sub-stanadard program. Nor am I really throwing the price point into the mix, because I have seen some of the crap our clients shell out big bucks for. I am just saying that with the client education out in the world to day selling something that is popular in among us developers doesnt always reach the general mass. I mean even if the client is semi-web savvy and know even just a little about standards, then they are drawn in by the hook of the name.

    Again guys I know where you are coming from on this, I use Mint myself and before that shortstats. So I am there with you guys a 100%.

  14. Regi says:

    And excuse the grammar mistakes in the post, no coffee before work will do that to you.

  15. I never did get in to the Mint thing…I’m sure it is a great stat counter, but I’ve reluctant to pay $30 for something that I can only use on one site. I know Shaun Inman deserves the $$$ b/c programming something like that requires a lot of work. I personally favor Google Analytics, and at one time was a fan of statcounter.com

    Not too long ago on my blog I did a brief post about the different stats software available on the web and some guy left a comment about W3Counter being similar to Mint.

    If I ever did decide to pay for stats, I think I would go with Mint b/c it is original and isn’t a recurring expense.

  16. Derek says:

    Recurring monthly fees are a big no no as far as I’m concerned [regarding the web]. I’m still scratching my head as to why I give in to Flickr. These one time annual fees sure add up.

  17. Wow, I wasn’t aware of W3Counter until now.

    W3Counter does have a similar look as Mint, but as a happy Mint user, it would take a lot to pull me away from it. It’s just a great utility. It’s so worth the $30. The Peppers are great. So many developers come out with some great additions to Mint. Plus, I love having total control of it, having it sit on my site, etc.

    This comes from a guy with just one site to manage, so others may prefer something more robust, but for the small shops, Mint is a great tool.

  18. weisheng says:

    I started a new blog and tried to hold off getting a new Mint licence until it was more settled but I just couldn’t resist getting my daily dose of stats. Tracking stats with Mint, especially if you have Junior Mint in Dashboard, is very addictive!

    I’m not for monthly fees, all the cost just starts to add up. It’s like the iTunes vs Napster argument isn’t it, I prefer to pay a one-time fee and just forget about cost. $30 is a little steep for one site, but then again it isn’t far off from most software prices. And the good thing is you get to transfer the licence to another domain if you need to.

  19. Derek says:

    [quote comment=”4634″]Tracking stats with Mint, especially if you have Junior Mint in Dashboard, is very addictive! […] $30 is a little steep for one site, but then again it isn’t far off from most software prices. And the good thing is you get to transfer the licence to another domain if you need to.[/quote]

    Thanks for the heads up on Junior Mint. I can’t believe I overlooked that in the HaveAMint admin area. I’ve had wdgty’s recent referrers widget in my Dashboard since I acquired Mint.

    I think your justification regarding Mint’s $30 entrance fee is a great one to project to clients. In essence, Mint is very much as powerful as some of the software I pick up for OSX. Here’s my Dashboard after the new addition and a little cleanup.

  20. weisheng says:

    First thought: Holy shit, your Mint stats are through the roof! Haha. I’m obsessed with checking Junior Mint, although admittedly my stats are miles away from yours. Dashboard was built for this little widget! Have you checked out the huge collection of peppers over at Peppermint Tea?

    In a way, Mint does actually become an asset. You can actually add it as a plus point when selling your domain or website, so it does add value unlike subscription services. Personally, I don’t think Mint is as powerful as some other stats trackers but it’s more than sufficient for me. My housemate was shocked when I told him I knew he had just accessed my blog and could even tell him which pages he browsed.