New Y Combinator startup 8aweek aims to help you stop wasting all that time on random Internet sites. They offer a Firefox plugin that monitors the web sites you visit and how long you spend on each site. If you are on a user-defined “restricted site,” the plugin will tell you when you’ve spent too much time there. Or alternatively, it will block sites if you tell it to be a little more aggressive about time management.
Some users may not be all that Interested in having the plugin try to change their surfing habits. But the service also provides an interesting chart showing all the sites you visited the previous 24 hours and how much total time was spent there. Some users may be surprised to see, for example, just how much of their life is spent on Facebook. The product includes a privacy option that allows users to turn off monitoring, or have the data stored only on their PC, not the Internet.
The company is offering the plugin for free; they want to make money by selling the service to businesses who want to limit the amount of time their employees waste on the Internet. Today businesses can buy a web filter to block access to known time wasting sites. But filters don’t catch everything, and some companies may want to take a softer stance by simply monitoring time on these sites rather than blocking them outright.
8aweek is very similar to RescueTime, another Y Combinator startup that launched last November. RescueTime montiors usage of both websites as well as desktop applications, so the products are not identical. But the products seem too close for comfort – I’m surprised Y Combinator is backing both of them.