Aodhan Cullen is the BusinessWeek Young Entrepreneur of the year

Probably you'll ask yourself now: Who is Aodhan Cullen...should I know him?
Well, the word "StatCounter" will tell you for sure more...and if not...then it's worth to continue to read here. Cullen is actually the founder of StatCounter, an online service for tracking website-visitors.
A month ago I received a mail from StatCounter (as also all other StatCounter account owners), asking to vote for Cullen, as he had been nominated for BusinessWeek's "Young Entrepreneur Award". It seems as if my vote has helped :) , since today I received the mail that he actually won. And his story is really impressing...When he was only 12 years old, he started his first business and with 16 years he launched the Dublin-based StatCounter. If you want to read more about that...continue here.

I actually started this post, since I'm using StatCounter now for a while and I recognized that I've never written anything about it. So...a little bit of advertising for a service that provides great functionalities and is totally free is never bad.

What is StatCounter?

A free yet reliable invisible web tracker, highly configurable hit counter and real-time detailed web stats. Insert a simple piece of our code on your web page or blog and you will be able to analyse and monitor all the visitors to your website in real-time!

  • Free, Fast, Responsive, Quick loading and Reliable Service. (Why is it free?)

  • Invisible Tracking - no ads on your website.

  • Accurate real-time website statistics with detailed visitor tracking and analysis.

Taken from StatCounter website
I'm not going now to describe all of StatCounter's features, but only some which I find most interesting use.

Recent Visitor Map
The "Recent Visitor Map" uses the Google Maps API for displaying the location of the site-visitors and some other details such as Operating System, screen resolution, etc...This is especially nice for taking a quick look to get an overview where your blog-readers or website visitors are located on the world. Below there is a snapshot of the Map of this blog here (seems as if some Google employee has taken a look at my blog ;) ):

Recent Visitor Activity
The "Recent Visitor Activity" area is nothing else than the list-view of the "Recent Visitor Map" but anyway extremely useful to quickly see the last few entries. Beside the location from which the visitor came, I find the referring URL specially useful...

Blocking cookie
It's unobtrusive...but I personally find it great, if not one of the most beneficial feature: the blocking cookie. As you can see from the picture, on the overview page, where all your project are listed, there is a link called "Blocking cookie". Clicking on it, you will be redirected to a page, which creates (or destroys an existing) blocking cookie on your computer, having the effect that your own visits to your webpage won't be logged.
This is actually the feature which led me to the decision to use StatCounter instead of Google Analytics. Analytics has very nice features, specially after the last huge update, they have added a lot of nice flash pieces showing very detailed statistics etc...However the problem there is that they allow only to filter out specific host-names or ip-addresses / ip-ranges. But if you're only a normal, little user behind your computer, writing useless posts to your blog and you don't have a static ip-address, but a dynamic one, which is assigned to you automatically by our ISP...then this feature doesn't help much. For a company with their own server with static ip etc...it may be great, however.

Other features
As I said, I just listed my top 3 features, which I use most or find most useful. However there is a bunch of other features, which I just directly list below:

Invisible Counter Option, Configurable Counter, Configurable Summary Stats, Magnify User, Drill Down, Popular Pages, Entry Pages, Exit Pages, Came From, Keyword Analysis, Recent Keyword Activity, Search Engine Wars, Visitor Paths, Visit Length, Returning Visits, Recent Pageload Activity, Recent Visitor Activity, Country/State/City Stats, Recent Visitor Google Map, ISP Stats, Browser Stats, O.S. Stats, Resolution Stats, JavaScript Stats, Email Reports, Multiple Site Management, User Access Management, Public Stats, Blocking Cookie

Kindle

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