August 04, 2008, 3:24 PM — SiteMeter's widget for tracking visits to Web sites went haywire on Friday and rendered many pages unviewable via Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser.
SiteMeter caused the problem, which affected versions 6 and 7 of IE, while updating its back-end software, the company acknowledged on Saturday.
In addition to preventing pages from loading, the widget made it impossible for Web publishers using those versions of IE to access and view their SiteMeter stats.
The problem has been resolved, but highlights the risk Web publishers face when adding lightweight Web applications, generally known as widgets, to their sites.
While these widgets, many of which are free, offer Web publishers a simple and inexpensive way of giving their sites useful and attractive features, they can also cause problems, as the SiteMeter incident shows.
In its problem acknowledgement, SiteMeter also attempted to do damage control, apparently recognizing that a number of publishers resorted to yanking the widget from their sites in order to remedy the problem.
"At this time both problems have been fixed and our services are fully operational. For those who removed the SiteMeter code from your pages please be assured that the problem has been resolved and we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience," reads the note SiteMeter published on its official blog.