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Mint: A Stats Odyssey

I have owned a few web sites in my day, and like anyone who makes their work available to the public, I like to know the whos, how manys, from wheres, and so on, of the people checking out my stuff. Luckily for me and my fellow narcissistic publishers, there are plenty of stats packages out there that can inform us how many hits our sites have gotten, where our visitors are coming from, what browsers they use, and much more. Unluckily, most of those stats packages suffer from shortcomings that undermine their usefulness. Every one I tried either focused on one narrow statistic or presented me with more information than I knew what to do with.

I threw my arms to the sky in despair. Could no one offer me comprehensive site statistics in a stylish, customizable interface that struck the perfect balance between convolution and overt simplicity? One hundred miles away, somewhere in the seedy underbelly of Baltimore, my anguished cry was detected and filed away with its siblings, uttered by countless bereft souls of like minds. Having heard enough, Shaun Inman descended into his laboratory and initiated Project: Mint.

Mint is, of course, Inman’s new stats package, which I and a number of other fellows have been beta-testing for the last few months. It is customizable. It is extensible. It is pretty. And it is wonderful. Its features are manifold, but I’ve chosen to tell you about my favorite, which is the Newest Unique filter in the Referrers pane.

I used to be a Refer devotee, but once Virtual Stan started getting tens of thousands of hits, daily, from StumbleUpon users, Refer’s way of doing things wasn’t cutting it. My site was getting so much traffic from StumbleUpon that in order to find out who my other referrers were, I had to check practically every minute or click through dozens of pages listing each and every StumbleUpon referral.

Mint Referrers pane

Mint, on the other hand, allows me to skip over the stuff I already know about and get right to what’s important: the newest unique referrers. As if that wasn’t good enough, I can subscribe to a Unique Referrers RSS feed so I don’t even have to manually check; no referrer will ever escape my eye again! The next time some dipshit rips off my site design and forgets to change an absolute link, or the next time an ad-saturated Flash game site steals my bandwidth by embedding the Virtual Stan SWF, I’ll know about it in mere moments. Profane retribution need no longer rely on chance. (Of course, most referrers are sites that I like, as illustrated below.)

Unique Referrer RSS feed in NetNewsWire

Mint will finally be available to the public on Tuesday, September 6th. Let rejoicing and gladness abound! Read what these other fine beta-testers had to say about Mint: