The Best Tool I Ever Wrote About, and Why

"No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money" —Abraham Lincoln

As you may know, I run a few websites. The most-used one is GGTracker, a website for Starcraft players to get better faster. It analyzes their game replays and tells them some things about their games.

Like many websites, it is powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS).

AWS provides a suite of services that you need if you're making a website. One of the simplest and most powerful services offered by AWS is S3, which is like an infinite-sized hard drive. It's awesome and reliable.

What's not awesome about it is that it's not terribly user-friendly. And it's kind of hard to get basic usage reports out of it.

Enter S3Stat. S3Stat sends me a weekly email report showing that I'm currently spending about $0.34 per week on S3. It's important for me to keep an eye on that number, because it could jump without warning to $10 or $100 for a week if someone decides to abuse my website. I could program AWS S3 to have some limits, but AWS is so hard to use that I'd rather not spend the hour or two to learn how to do that, and even if I did it I wouldn't be sure I had done it correctly. Easier to just use S3Stat and get the weekly email telling me that everything is normal.

The S3Stat email is enough, but if I want to see more detailed stats about usage it's all there.

So, why am I writing about S3Stat? I use all kinds of awesome tools and usually can't be bothered to write about them.

S3Stat are also marketing geniuses. They gave me a one month free trial of their service which was enough for me to see how it works. At the end of the month, they warned me in advance that they were going to start charging me (very nice and friendly, makes me like them) but that of course I could cancel if I wanted to. But that if I'm going to cancel, I should be sure to log in and delete my records from their system for my own security (fair and a good point, makes me like them).

When I log in, I notice that they offer a "Cheap Bastard Plan" which I like, I'm a cheap bastard, what's that? Well, the Cheap Bastard plan is that you write a blog post about their service, and then you get their service FREE, forever!

Not only am I writing a blog post, but then I'm gonna tweet and facebook about it, because it's interesting and these guys are geniuses and more people should do business like them.

Have you seen other people run their business like this? Tell me about it in the Comments below.