New popular data filters are incredibly useful

Anywhere you are shown popular data (except the dashboard - coming soon!), you now also have the option of filtering that down so you can quickly find items you are looking for. It's been on my list for a while but I guess I didn't realize quite how useful this type of filtering would be until I was actually able to use it on my own data. So how useful is that? Very. Here's what it looks like (top right corner in red):




So anything you type in this box, the list will be narrowed down to only items that contain exactly what you typed in, whether that match is the whole string, or just the start, middle, or end of it. If the data you are viewing is "content" related, which means there is both a name and a URL, then the filter is applied to both the name and the URL.

We also support "negative" filters, which can be even more useful if you use them right. To do a negative filter, just a put an exclamation point in front of it, for example, "!bad filter". A negative filter means that only items that do NOT match the filter will get through.

Looking back at that first screenshot, you can see our top 5 searches for today all have the word "clicky" in them. Well, I want to find the most popular searches that DON'T have the word "clicky" in them, because these will generally be people who were not looking for us in particular, but just something in general. It's important to monitor this type of data so you can optimize based on it. So I just type is "!clicky" in the filter box, and here's what we have:




As another example, people obviously come to Clicky to view their data, and all of these pages are in the "/stats/" sub-directory. So other than our few VERY high traffic pages (front page, login, and user home page), basically all our popular pages are always individuals looking at their stats. What if I would like to know what our most popular content is, OTHER THAN people viewing their stats? Before, I was SOL :( But now, I am not! I can just type in "!/stats" to the filter box, and all those pages are removed from the results. Now I only see the popular content outside of the stats directory!




Another unexpected benefit from this is you can use the filters to narrow down your most popular cities based on country or state, which can be really useful to learn more about visitors in a certain locale. We've had a lot of requests from users in the US to add a "popular states", or be able to filter down visitors based on state. We plan to add both of these in the future, but in the meantime, there's something new you can do. If you look at your popular cities, you will see that the country is included in the name, and so is the two-letter abbreviated state name for US cities. So if you wanted to just view the most popular cities in Oregon for example, you could do type in "OR, USA" and you get this:




Or if you run an Oregon centric site, and want to see where you get the most traffic from other than your target market, you specifiy NOT Oregon with "!OR, USA":




To top it all off, all of this can be used with the stats API as well, although it has not been added to the docs yet. Since everything is built on the same core, any new features the site gets like this, the API gets automatically - that's always nice. For you programmers out there, when you apply this filter in our web interface, you will see the GET parameter is named "filter". Just pass in that same parameter to the API with your request. For example, here is an API call to get Clicky's most popular searches from the last 30 days that don't contain the word "clicky".

As usual I've written a novel and I'm sorry. I just like to give examples and cover everything in detail so you can understand how it all works and take advantage of it. Hope you like it!
11 comments |   Jun 20 2008 4:05pm

Now accepting direct credit card payments

We've wanted this since we launched but adding new features and making Clicky more solid all around has always been more fun and satisfying. Then PayPal completely broke for 10 days and we lost a bunch of money, which made me rethink my priorities. It took longer than expected but I'm happy to finally launch it. If you've been waiting for this feature before upgrading, you can upgrade here!

Paypal subscriptions were working pretty well for us, except for three things. One is that a lot of people hate Paypal - understandable. Another is that Paypal loves to cancel people's subscriptions randomly and without notice. For example if you sign up for a sub with your credit card, and then you card expires a few months later, Paypal will just cancel the subscription without notice, and there's no way to re-enable a subscription - you must sign up for a new one. That's just bad design.

But perhaps the biggest problem is that PayPal subscriptions are set in stone. If a user wants to upgrade from one of our plans to another one, or add more sites or traffic, things like that, there is no way to modify they're recurring payments to reflect that. This has been a major PITA more times than I'd care to remember. What we have been doing is just asking for a 1 year payment for these types of changes, which is ok, but then a year rolls around and that extra revenue doesn't recur, and we must remember to send another invoice.

With credit card payments, we're able to modify subscription values on the fly, and also do extra one time billings as needed. This adds so much flexibility to our service, we're very excited about it. We're eventually going to add a "build your own plan" [update: this is now live], and the ability to modify your plan on the fly without us having to get involved. Neither of these would be possible with PayPal. But we're still keeping PayPal as an option for people who don't have a credit card or don't want to pay with a credit card.
5 comments |   Jun 18 2008 3:20pm

Paypal has been terribly broken for 10 days and no one's talking about it.

Everyone's heard Paypal horror stories, but those are typically related to individual accounts, e.g. fraud, random holds on money, terrible customer service, etc. From over 6 years of both personal use, and professional use on Clicky, I've only had positive experiences, so I've stuck with them because of how easy it is to implement on any site.

But now, for the past 10 days, Paypal has had a MAJOR bug affecting ALL ACCOUNTS, and I can't find any major stories about it. Well, this story needs to be told, so here we are. We have already lost thousands of dollars already and we are NOT HAPPY.

So what is this horrible bug? New Paypal customers cannot pay another person or company through Paypal unless they are both located in the same country. This started on May 15 and is still not fixed. Being that 2/3 of our users and money comes from overseas, this is a serious problem. Paypal did not even acknowledge it until May 22, seven days after the issue started. Of course, that acknowledgement isn't on Paypal's actual web site, but just their developer site that probably 0.01% of their customers go to on a regular basis. Helpful!

The problem is a simple drop down box. When a customer enters their billing information into Paypal to pay someone else, the first thing they do is select their country from the drop down. But, the problem is that no matter what country they choose, the page will refresh and automatically switch back to the country of the merchant, which in our case would be "United States". As previously mentioned, a majority of our customers live outside the US, and a lot of them are signing up for a new Paypal account just to pay for Clicky. This happens for both subscription signups and invoices, which means we currently have NO WAY to directly bill any of our customers who don't already use Paypal.

As a web developer, I know how easy this problem is to fix. It's a drop down box. This problem could be fixed in a matter of minutes, so why has it taken them 10+ days? How many millions of dollars has this bug cost all of Paypal's customers? I would be so ashamed of myself if I was the one responsible for this bug, that I would quit immediately and go apply for a job flipping burgers, because that would be more my skill level.

It's absolutely unbelievable for a company of this size, that so many internet businesses rely on to collect money from their customers, has had a problem of this magnitude for 10 days and counting.

Un. Flipping. Believable.

Update

So happy this is getting some attention! I submitted it to a number of sites, and both Center Networks and TechCrunch decided it was newsworthy. Valleywag also responded and said they would be writing about it. Hopefully this will prioritize the bug at Paypal. Day 11 now. Unbelievable.

Update 2

A genius user over in the tech crunch comments has posted a workaround for this issue. What it boils down to is using a geolocation product (such as the one we use from maxmind.com) to look up the user's country before sending them to paypal. Then you include "&country=XX" on the end of the paypal URL, where XX is the 2 letter country code (US, DE, FR, ES, etc). Then when the customer goes to pay, the country you sent in will be the default country! Of course, there's no way to 100% guarantee that the country lookup is correct, but most geolocation products are over 99% accurate on the country level, and I'd wager that a 99% chance of selecting the right country is much higher than the chance of both you and your customer living in the same country (which would be ~33% probability for us).

Of course, I'm still EXTREMELY mad at Paypal over all this BS, and we will be dropping them the first chance we get.

Update 3

Day 12 and still no fix. The posted workaround above is working well for us, thankfully, we have successfully taken in money from quite a few overseas accounts now. Thanks, random TC commenter! I owe you a beer.

This has now made it to the front pages of news.ycombinator and reddit. Thanks to everyonw who has been submitting this around the web. I was never expecting this much attention.

Also seeing lots of comments on other sites about how I'm stupid because I don't know what it's like to work on a project as big as Paypal. It is true I have not worked on any projects as big as Paypal that have long deployment times, but that doesn't make this an acceptable excuse. Any company that has long deployment times also needs to have emergency rollout provisions. What if they made an update that brought down the ENTIRE Paypal payment system, for every type of payment, for ALL users. Suddenly ALL eBay users can't pay for their auctions. You're telling me that it would be perfectly fine and dandy for it to be on day 12 now without a fix, and oh they just have lots of servers and it takes a while to change stuff, so hey whats the big deal? Yeah. Ok. Sure thing guys.

Update 4

Thanks to Clicky being so awesome, at least I know people from eBay have been watching. Check out this screenshot of all the visitors to our blog today who are from the eBay IP pool. I assume Paypal is probably part of that, not sure if they share offices or not...

By the way, the problem is still not fixed. And over 25,000 people have read this article now over the past 2 days.

Update 5

Day 13 and still broken.

Update 6

Day 14, issue seems to be resolved now, I am able to choose a country when I pretend like I'm creating a new account.

Two weeks to fix this.
64 comments |   May 25 2008 1:29pm

New date selection options



A long time ago we had a calendar, but you could only view one day at a time. Then we brought in support for viewing more than one day at a time, but the calendar went away. If you knew what you were doing, you could edit the "date" variable in the URL to access any date or date range you wanted, but most people didn't know that and were stuck with the 10 or so preset options that we had created.

So, as you can see, now we have a new calendar, that includes the ability to select a custom date range. There has been lots of demand for this so I hope everyone likes it. You can access the calendar by clicking the last item in the date selection menu, labeled "Custom date range..."

:)
9 comments |   May 21 2008 3:35pm

Clicky discussion forums are live, get your chat on

I posted a message on the dashboard yesterday but thought I should post something on here too for all of our RSS readers who don't stop by too often.

We have just launched our discussion forums, which we hope provide a better sense of community, as well as create an established, searchable database of help and feature request topics for future generations to peruse when in need. So stop by and chat with other Clicky users if you'd like :)
0 comments |   May 17 2008 1:01pm

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