For today’s stats package review we have a bit of an oddity but one you are sure to have heard of. Mint is a client-side tracking package like the others in these reviews but unlike the others you need to download and install it. Let’s take a look at what all the fuss is about ..
I have heard lots of good things about Shaun Inman’s Mint. There is definitely a lot of positive PR around this product. It’s not easy to tell how many of these are genuine but I am willing to believe they are and besides I am not going to jump into that hornets nest :O)
For a while there wasn’t a demo
The demo has been temporarily disabled. While Mint can easily handle recording hundredsâ€”if not thousandsâ€”of hits a minute, it is not optimized to display data at that rate. Please check back once some of the initial interest has died down.
As you can see below, that seems to have been rectified by pointing to one off-site which is good news.
There is no free option with Mint. The only way of knowing if it is something you would like to try is by browsing the website, viewing the quite large demo movie or taking a look at a public installation. There is also a compatibility download to check to see if your system can run mint. Mine couldn’t (IIS is not supported, boo!) so for this review I had to set up Apache. Bad mint – bad! :O)
Creating an account and paying up your money is easy enough (uses Paypal as the merchant service). Installation is ok, you need to set up a MySQL database and set the username/password/database details in a config file. Perhaps this could be made easier but it’s not super hard.
The website and the reports interface look lovely. No doubt about that. Well, one doubt – the mint interface doesn’t like IE. Firefox seems fine. I can’t be the only explorer user .. can I? The report crashes IE if I resize, the preferences doesn’t work at all and the login box is broken.
Oh, I see
Internet Explorer PC support is planned but not an immediate priority.
So anyway, in Firefox it is all dandy. The screen is JAMMED with information but if your eyesight is ok it is quite readable. Would probably scare some folk off but they are not going to be the type to have gotten this far I expect.
Fees and Service Levels
There is a one fee, $30 per domain.
The default install provides info on page views, unique visitors, referrers, top pages, search terms etc.
There are also “Peppers”to download and install. These are extensions to the basic mint system that are built by the community using the mint api. There are quite a few out there, some of them useful including one for recording link clicks. This is a very nice feature and an excellent way to create something much bigger than a one-man effort could be. Well done Shaun you clever man you!
As said above there is no support for bot visits or visitors with JS switched off, not really that bad considering the rest of the package is pretty good but you might miss it if you are serious about SEO and want to know when Googlebot has dropped by for example. You will have to collect that info from your server logs.
So far Mint is definitely the best looking but the lack of apparent Internet Explorer support is frustrating. The UI could be made a little friendlier, some pretty pictures, bigger text and some usability testing.
Another tricky aspect is the need to install. On the one hand your data is private, on the other hand many many bloggers will simply not be able to use it. At Performancing we recommend you have your own host and domain so for a professional this shouldn’t be a huge problem, you just need to get your friendly Apache Jedi on the case.
I’m a bit disappointed to be honest, I saw all these glowing reviews and my expectations were raised. Below the surface this is not better that Statcounter. The big bonus Mint has over the others is Pepper. This is the killer feature and the element that just gives it the edge. I do expect the others to have taken note..