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The Website Statistics at this site; What's all the fuss?
Motigo Webstats and their PopUps no longer allowed at this site!

For years Nedstat provided the stats for this website, and we thank them! Well Done to Nedstat! It was great being able to tell how many people had visited this site and to compare the site's continuously changing fortunes as more or fewer people visited the site. But then, in 2005, Nedstat was taken over by Webstats4U. Initially this appeared to be ok, and although there were minor browser compatibility issues and a different colour scheme, all seemed mostly well.Zyra's website image

We have always tolerated the copious silly adverts at our stats provider's site. It's their site, so if they want to put up various random banners advertising the types of companies who still think splat-advertising is a good idea, then that's OK! Good luck to them!

What we won't put up with is pop-ups at our own site! Curious as it may seem, if you put a JavaScript website statistics counter on your site, your stats provider can stuff annoying pop-ups in your visitor's face! That won't do. So, if pop-ups continue, we will remove that counter from the site!

I shouldn't need to explain why pop-ups are such an annoying nuisance, and there is a already a page explaining how to get rid of annoying pop-ups! What's more intriguing cognitively is WHY a statistics measuring company should decide to intrude on the site. It is akin to a local shop doing a stint of flyposting on your house windows! (Notice that we don't mind them advertising in their own shop window, but it becomes a problem if they cross the line and put adverts up on webspace which is not their territory!).

Another point worth mentioning is that the money earnt from splat-advertising such as pop-ups, spam e-mail campaigns, etc, is surprisingly small. You might assume that the blood-money for annoying a person and vexing them and putting them to the trouble of having to close the irrelevant window would be at least 30 cents, but, odd as it may seem, it's often as low as 30 cents per THOUSAND annoying pop-ups. Also see a cautionary tale about the sending of spam. (see, it's ineffective as well as annoying).

What's to be done about it: First, a friendly message was sent to Webstats4U pointing out the problem and asking that the pop-ups be stopped. It's a reasonable request. Would your neighbours mind refraining from chucking stuff over the fence? As there was no reply and no change in the behaviour, (and incidentally a very slow loading flash animation was also added), the next part of the procedure begins:

We'll phase-out the Webstats4U website statistics counter. It is not worth spoiling the good public relations which this site has. Pop-ups are unwelcome at the best of times, and are entirely unacceptable when invading someone else's website.

The "phasing out" is best done sensibly over a period, so there is some cross-over period to calibrate the new stats. As soon as we're sure there is continuity of accurate measuring of the stats we will actually get rid of the Webstats4U counter.

Of course this could be avoided if Webstats4U kept their advertising on their own side of the fence. It was ok when it was Nedstat.

Updates: Webstats4U then became Motigo Webstats, and they continued to have 1. advertising at their own site (which we agree is fair enough), AND, 2. pop-ups appearing occasionally at our own site (which of course is unacceptable). However, quite soon after the initial problem was detected, clever people were writing on forums saying how to defeat the problem, for example at www.lotusgeek.com/LotusGeek/LotusGeekBlog.nsf/d6plinks/ROLR-6GEQPR (gone. copy&paste in case it has returned) , by adjusting the Motigo Webstats code to remove the complete "<script>"-part and the "<noscript>" and "</noscript>"-Tags. Apparently this non-JavaScript Code gets rid of the popup problem. Well Done! The code still works for the stats, but not for those annoying pop-up invasive adverts.

It's important to understand, We have never objected to Motigo having silly adverts at their own site. The question is purely whether they're allowed to put ads on other people's sites.

For a few years there was relative peace, and we continued to have Motigo Webstats, and I would guessed they would continue to be happy considering how many hits we got and the fact that anyone wishing to inspect the hits, demographics, and other statistical data, would see the ads which Motigo had put, quite rightly, at their own site.

However, in August 2008, while I was in Panama exploring the tax haven situation, a message came in from Motigo saying that they were unhappy about the adjusted code, and that they wanted it putting back to the with-popups code which everyone on Motigo was supposed to have. A polite diplomatic discussion was entered into and I explained that I was happy with Motigo having advertising at their own site, but not pop-ups at my site. They had a chance to consider what I had to say, and the discussion was at all times polite and reasonable. However, in the end we did not reach an agreement, and so just after the publishing of Issue120 of Zyra.org.uk , Motigo pulled the plug on their stats provision at this site. This was considered quite sad here, but not a total loss, as we had already replaced Motigo Webstats with StatCounter and run the two of them concurrently, which you can see on the front page, and whose stats are at least as good as those of Motigo.

The loser in this situation has to be Motigo themselves, because previously we were giving them a link from the front page and allowing people to go and visit their site and look at the ads at the same time as the stats. Now, they are missing out.

Obviously it's never been a point of discussion as to whether we will allow annoying pop-ups, because that's entirely unacceptable. The only other option was to pay Motigo a monthly fee based on the number of hits, but considering how many hits this site gets, it would have been cheaper to commission our own stat-counting program and maybe even to set up in competition to Motigo! Plus, as StatCounter were already giving us free stats, it wouldn't have made any sense at all to pay Motigo.

I wrote a nice message to Motigo thanking them for the years of stats provision and pointing out that I would be leaving them because of the reasons which I detailed. The spirit of this was "It's been nice knowing you", and I consider that at least we had a chance to hear each-other's point of view.

Now you may have a similar decision to make, on whether you're going to have Motigo webstats at your site, or whether you're going to have StatCounter, or write your own program using the data in your own server logs. To make that decision properly, you need to be well informed about such things as the frequency of the pop-ups, other ways embedded JavaScript might be used by Motigo and/or any companies they pass on to, etc. My advice these days would be to do what Stamp Demon did and have a StatCounter. This is now also what's happened at Perceptions Forum and Xyroth Enterprises!

Meanwhile, Motigo have a different decision to make, which is this: Now they've lost Zyra from their books, surely it shows that insisting on having pop-ups is a poor decision, and that in future the policies of Motigo might be better crafted to be compatible with non-trespassing fussiness. If such a decision is made properly in future, please let me know, so I can update this page to reflect the improved situation. Meanwhile there are many alternatives to Motigo Webstats. To see some lists of alternatives see www.similarsitesearch.com/alternatives-to/webstats.motigo.com and http://alternativeto.net/software/motigo-webstats/ and http://web.me.com/thierry.cornelis/Site/Blog/Entries/2009/1/23_Motigo_Webstats_Counters_Generate_Pop-ups.html

Other unethical things which also aren't allowed at this site: Retargeting (which is those annoying ads that follow you around on the Internet and somehow seem to know where you've been, even though you consider you should have better privacy), and Facebook which is in my opinion unethical and like a cancer upon the Internet. There is a special page here disavowing Facebook, which is No Facebook Here!. The thing is, companies that abuse their position ruin things for everyone else. We say NO and don't let them get away with it here!

Meanwhile, if you'd like site statistics and you're wondering where StatCounter is, you can see it on Zyra's front page, and I'm sure the folk at StatCounter would make you welcome if you went there to sign up.