Google just released their latest product, Google Analytics. A website traffic tracker and analyzer supported by Urchin which seeing their site no longer exist they are now free and totally of Google. Analytics hasn’t generated many buzz yet but anyone with a GMail account has automatically an Analytics account just like with all other Google products.
Back when I had my first hosting account they provided Urchin as stats tracker. It was a good program and being that it tracked trough the server log it had all details of your traffic. Later with other hosts they all used the free and chuncky webalizer. Since then I was always looking for a good PHP tracker.
As we all know by now that the good PHP tracker finally came in Mint. Although for the price of $30 per domain. I for one didn’t think twice and bought a license. I haven’t been disappointed since. When word got out about Analytics I already heard a few people who had planned on buying Mint but now with Analytics being free they rather use it for their stats needs then Mint.
I do understand the urge of getting anything internet related for free, we’d want everything for free if we could. But people need to realize that with all the products available on the internet it’s not about getting it free or for the cheapest anymore.
Take Mint for example, I don’t pay for the app only. I pay because I get an usable and nice app, it’s just fun to use Mint. I pay because I don’t deal with a company but with a person, in this case Shaun. I can email him if something is wrong with the program. There is a Mint community where you can get help from other users, where they talk about new Peppers and ideas for next versions. Shaun keeps everyone up to date with the development through the forums. To sum it up again, you get more then just an app for the money.
If I want help on this I have to use a contact form with is the online version of an automated telephone helpdesk. Of course the program is free so you have to suck it up. But for me this is not worth it anymore if I can get a good app with support and all for a nice price.
Now a days instead of considering free or commercial, think about price/quality balance. It’s all about the user experience: Is it a nice app to use? Does it look nice? Do you get good support? Is the update regular? Does all that compare to the asking price?
Of course free or more specifically open-source apps can have all that or close to it. Look at the latest app: RoundCube In it’s alpha fase it already beats a few other webmail apps. Imagine how good this app will be once its official version is released. It will be far more usable then Squirelmail for example. Hopefully RoundCube will set an example for future open-source projects which tend to lack a lot on the design/usable side. Also keep an eye on TurboDbAdmin which promises to be a good database manager when in official version.