Imagine waking up and your site is inaccessible for no apparent reason. If this happens, site owners could spend a ridiculous amount of time trying to figure out what the problem is. Well welcome to that reality. Thousands of site owners have experienced this today after Sitemeter brings their sites to a halt.

Widget Chaos

Sitemeter is a free web analytics tool for keeping track of your site's visitors. A bug found in both the javascript and HTML widget made thousands of sites using Sitemeter inaccessible earlier today including popular blogs such as, Gizmodo, Valleywag, and Problogger. When users would visit any sites using Sitemeter, they would be presented with an error message pop-up:

Internet Explorer cannot open the Internet site

Operation aborted

The problem only occurred with users of the Internet Explorer browser due to Sitemeter updating the code for their scripts without double checking for the many miscellaneous blocks of code you sometimes need in order to get IE to work with your site. Thus far, Sitemeter has not responded with any updates, yet the bug has been fixed.

Pissing on its Own Reputation?

The situation brings to light a lot of concerns about the internet and dependency on web products and services. However, the biggest concern is for Sitemeter as a company and how they decided to handle the situation with silence. For one, Sitemeter has made no moves to inform their public of what's going on. For those not as tech savvy as some of us, they were probably hit the hardest due to searching for a solution to a problem that they couldn't readily identify. Bad press for Sitemeter? Any press could be good press, but there's no doubt that this story and more will rank high in Google and Yahoo searches when users are searching for reviews about Sitemeter. Is this really what they want prospective customers to see?