Archive for July 2010

Google Analytics – now a feature of Google AdWords?

Watch this video from the Google Analytics homepage. Is Google Analytics now just a feature of Google AdWords?

In March 2005, Google acquired Urchin Software Corporation, a Carlsbad-based web analytics company. A few months later, Google Analytics was unveiled, which was based on “Urchin On Demand,” Urchin’s javascript-based “Software as a Service” (SaaS) web traffic analytics solution. Urchin customers were generally thrilled about the acquisition, because it was assumed that it meant great things were in store for all of Urchin’s customers. In reality, Urchin’s core customers have been ignored, product development has stopped on everything but Google Analytics, and companies are wondering why Google took the money and, well, ran.

The problem seems to be that Google’s interest in Urchin Software Corporation was limited to its SaaS offering. Google has since developed Urchin On Demand into a complete analytics suite, and given its ease-of-use and cost (“free”), it’s amazingly popular. The problem is that Urchin’s other analytic tools have been ignored since the acquisition took place, but they weren’t supposed to be.

Urchin’s most successful analytics software was a server-based log analysis suite simply labeled “Urchin.” Urchin 5 came in a variety of flavors, priced according to tiers. It could be had for under $1,000, or you could easily pay more than $10,000, depending on the features and support you needed.

Urchin’s log-based analysis gave webmasters access to data that is not available to javascript-based solutions. Many customers would much rather have Urchin updated than turn to Google Analytics. In the wake of Google’s purchase of the company, inquiring customers¬† were told that support and updates would continue. Companies that had purchased support contracts were expecting version 6 any days. What really happened is this: Google focused its attention on Google Analytics, put all updates to Urchin’s other products on the back burner, and rolled out a skeleton support team. Everyone who forked over for upgrades via a support contract never got them, even though things weren’t supposed to have changed.