In January 2011, an alpha version of the Heavy Analytics plugin was released, offering WordPress administrators the ability to track and measure interaction on their sites. The project, created by Toby Cryns and Eric Johnson, aimed to make Heavy Analytics the finest WordPress reporting, BuddyPress reporting, and WordPress multisite reporting tool on the market. This weekend the team announced that they will no longer be supporting the project:
4 years ago, we set out to build the definitive WordPress and BuddyPress analytics plugin. Our vision was and remains large and awesome. We won prizes with our prototype and were encouraged by all the support we received from the WordPress community.
Furthermore, we believe that the concept of qualitative analytics is woefully-underexplored in the world of WordPress. Put simply, we believe this is a potentially-huge and untapped market.
All that said, we simply do not have the time or energy to continue with the project in its current form.
Today, we are putting our code on Github.com in a public repository. We hope that you will fork the code and manipulate our idea to your own ends (and hopefully share the code so that others can benefit).
Heavy Analytics never made it past its beta release, so it’s unlikely that many sites are using the tool. Closing the doors but making the code public was a good move on their part, since many admins could likely benefit from a tool that tracks WordPress-specific interaction on blogs, commenters, and social activity. Those who are trying to build better communities cannot get this information from Google Analytics.
The idea was that the basic data dump was free, but the team hoped to monetize it in the future by providing upgrades in the form of configurable data typing, graphical representation of the data, spreadsheet exports, centralized reporting, and more.
The plugin in its current form essentially mines available data and displays it in a detailed way to help administrators determine where interaction is happening on a site. This information can then be used for more strategic promotion of various aspects of your community. For example, if you learn that one particular site on your multisite network is getting a ton of comments, you might highlight its posts on the homepage. The BuddyPress add-on helps to identify members who are most active and influential on the network.
If anyone is interested in forking and extending this project, you can now find the code in the public Heavy Analytics GitHub repository. It will probably require some work to get it updated for newer versions of WordPress, as it has only been tested up to 3.8.1, but it’s a good starting point if you’re looking to build a plugin to track WordPress-specific community interaction. Heavy Analytics is also available on WordPress.org but will no longer be updated.