Web editors have called real-time Web analytics provider Chartbeat “mesmerizing,” “life changing,” and “a vortex of awesomeness.” The browser-based dashboard, which tracks live Web activity, is an addictive instant feedback tool used by editors in every major newsroom in the country including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Gawker, Forbes, Salon.com, and CNN.com (as well as Adweek).
But this week the company experienced a double whammy: its services crashed in tandem with Amazon’s cloud, and last night Chartbeat’s DNS provider erased its ISP numbers, causing a brief outage. Chartbeat responded by migrating its data to a new DNS provider, which has caused it to only report a portion of Web activity for the last 14 hours. Jonesing editors have been tweeting all day while waiting for the DNS fix to take effect.
"Waiting for #chartbeat to propagate their data to new DNS servers today makes me feel like a crack addict waiting on my next fix," writes a product manager at About.com site ConsumerSearch. "In Web editor news: the @chartbeat problems have lots of people feeling insecure today. Is it me or them?" adds Atlanticwire's Gabriel Snyder.
While the service is not mission critical, it’s caused a mild panic at many sites.
“There’s no question we’re addicted to it,” said the lead Web developer of one national newsroom, who didn't want to be named. “With other analytics, we don’t know if [a story] is exploding until several hours later.” Without Chartbeat, the site’s editors have a little less info to react to for social media and other editorial promotion, he added.
“Chartbeat is indispensable to running my businesses [ThisWeekIn.com, Mahalo, and Launch.is] and losing it for even an hour is painful,” said Chartbeat client and investor Jason Calacanis.
Chartbeat General Manager Tony Haile said the company has fully migrated its data to a new DNS server as of 12:15 p.m. and a complete recovery with full reporting will return within hours. “It was tough,” Haile said. “We were all pretty pissed, but in the end your service is your responsibility.”
Chartbeat last year raised $3 million in venture backing from Index Ventures, Ron Conway, Jeff Clavier, Calacanis, Chris Sacca’s Lowercase Capital, and Betaworks.