Free IndexTools: Analysis and Market Implications

Published by Eric T. Peterson on April 16, 2008 All posts from Eric T. Peterson

Last Wednesday I had the honor and pleasure of helping break the story about Yahoo’s acquisition of IndexTools. My post was pretty well received, generating over 40 comments and a handful of citations in the popular press. In that post I speculated two things:

  1. That Yahoo! would offer IndexTools at no charge by Christmas 2008
  2. That this acquisition was potentially a permanent game changer

This morning Dennis Mortensen sent me an email with the following message:

“your predictions was not that far off!

At his blog Dennis announced that Yahoo! was now waiving all fees for current clients, essentially making IndexTools free. Dennis also announced that current IndexTools partners would be able to deploy new IndexTools implementations free of charge. Finally, Dennis commented that for the time being IndexTools would be closed to new customers, giving Yahoo! a chance to determine what their next move would be.

Christmas, Tax day, whatever. Free is free.

While I am already on record as believing that Yahoo made an excellent strategic move in acquiring IndexTools, the “make it free now” decision is absolutely freaking brilliant and the guys who pulled the trigger deserve a medal.

In one fell swoop, Yahoo! and IndexTools:

  1. Assuage all of the fears of current customers regarding the transition, any hiccups, etc. by offering the best possible olive branch in the world: free stuff! Worried about the transition? Okay, don’t pay us. Concerned about your data? Okay, don’t pay us. Don’t like Yahoo! that much? Okay, don’t pay us.
  2. Create instant demand for the product, and an instant revenue stream to the few companies that have been loyal to IndexTools all along. Imagine your glee if you woke up this morning and learned that you’re part of a limited channel able to offer IndexTools at no charge to your clients? I know I’d be pretty happy!
  3. Serve notice to your competitors, whoever those competitors are, that you are not messing around and they need to get their act together quick. Regardless of what Google says (or rather, has not said) and what Omniture says, IndexTools directly competes for both of their business (and everyone else in the sector to be sure.)

This third point is important, and it speaks directly to why I think this acquisition changes our market more or less forever. So far the team at Google Analytics has been eerily silent — or if they have spoken I have missed their comments — but I have already talked to multiple people who have basically said, “It’s a no brainer, I’ll deploy IndexTools and either run Google Analytics for validation or drop GA entirely.” More importantly, I’m talking to some pretty bright consultants that are chomping at the bit to get away from having to make excuses and write hacks to make Google Analytics do stuff it is not designed to do (screen scraping, really?!) and use a more full-featured application.

It’s not that Google cares all that much I suspect; rather I think they’re more than happy to have a real competitor in the free market, especially one that offers a logical “step up” from the basic functionality that Google Analytics has to offer. I won’t be surprised at all if Brett Crosby publicly welcomes Yahoo! (back) into the web analytics arena in the same way he welcomed Microsoft to the game last year at Emetrics. I’ll be less surprised if Google’s Analytics Evangelist has a happy post about IndexTools sometime this week, especially given his historical evangelism for IndexTools and professed respect for Mr. Mortensen.

The real challenge I see on the horizon is for the paid service providers, especially those focusing largely on the mid- to higher-end of the market (which is to say everyone.)

Consider the following:

  1. Like it or not, IndexTools is pretty much as good as most of the best analytics offerings out there today. It may not be as pretty, it may not be as “AJAX-y”, it may not be as fast, but this is an offering that goes toe-to-toe with the “mass market” analytics offerings from all the major vendors and in my opinion is every bit as good. Why would I say that? Simple, I have been running IndexTools on my web site for the past six months. IndexTools is not easy, but it is no more complicated than anything else out there (IMHO.) If you look around at comments and what some people are saying you’ll head the same thing over and over: Companies of all sizes have been selecting IndexTools for years based on rich, comparative functionality made available at an affordable price point. IndexTools has great filters, great segmentation, great custom report building tools, great extras like color coding, notes, and dashboards. Did I mention it is now all available for free?
  2. The complaints about IndexTools are, for the most part, underwhelming. One (nameless) vendor has said that IndexTools is inferior because it wasn’t included in the last Forrester Wave and JupiterResearch constellation. The same vendor said that IndexTools is inferior because someone else said most of their clients are SMBs. The same vendor tries to created FUD around the data center being in Eastern Europe. The same vendor says that IndexTools doesn’t have “deep domain expertise” or “specialized services” The problem is that A) both Forrester and JupiterResearch focused only on U.S.-based vendors and (I believe) excluded IndexTools based on geography, not functionality, B) IndexTools does have some very large clients (Vodafone, PriceRunner, Tesco, ToysRUs — read this interview with Dennis Mortensen for details), C) I suspect Yahoo! will be doing some work on the data collection and reporting architecture over the next few months, and D) IndexTools is very likely to follow Google’s model of relying on external web analytics experts to provide expertise and specialized services (YAAC, right?)
  3. The valid complaints about IndexTools are either being addressed currently or are likely to be addressed very shortly. Phil Kemelor from Semphonic who also does some work for CMSWatch has looked at the major analytics applications perhaps more than a normal human being should in the process of writing his really, really big book on web analytics tools. Regarding IndexTools, Phil said the following:

“IndexTools does not offer the functionality that distinguishes it from Omniture and WebTrends — for example the ability to analyze unaggregated data from a graphic UI and to perform repeatable Excel reporting. For now, you must use regular expressions to analyze unaggregated data and do manual updates of Excel…just like Google Analytics.”

Good assessment, Phil, and a reasonable critique of IndexTools except. I would only offer that all the major vendors require add-on applications to analyze truly unaggregated data from a graphic UI (Omniture Discover, WebTrends Visitor Intelligence, etc.) and on this point IndexTools has already showed quite a lot of people “Rubix” which is the inevitable response (and which I sincerely hope that Yahoo! decides to release, even if they make us pay something for it.)

Personally I think that the ability to analyze unaggregated data should be in a separate interface, one designed for expert users working in the web analytics hub, and that IndexTools following the SiteCatalyst/Discover, WebTrends Analytics/Visitor Intelligence, NetTracker/NetInsight, etc. model is the right decision.

Regarding the “repeatable Excel reporting” … in my interface under “Settings” I have something called “Scheduled Email Reports” that seems to work pretty well. I can add a bunch of reports and schedule them for delivery in whatever format I choose; It’s not exactly what I want (having used HBX Report Builder, still the gold standard for Excel integration IMHO) but it certainly fills an important need for web analytics practitioners. This may be an IndexTools 10 feature that I am a BETA tester for, which may explain the confusion …

Finally, I would personally offer that Google Analytics and IndexTools are (in their current state) dramatically different applications targeting very different audiences. I am sure to take endless shit for this but I believe that Google Analytics is a great entry-level tool, something designed to seem “easy” and get folks used to the idea of doing web analytics on a professional level; IndexTools is not a great entry-level tool, rather it is a rich analysis engine that is the next logical “step up” from Google Analytics for practitioners and companies needing robust segmentation, customization, and drill-down capabilities.

Don’t believe me? Go to Google Analytics and create the following segment then apply it to your most commonly used reports:

In the body of the document, which I hope I am okay quoting a little bit from, Phil also says (and I paraphrase) that IndexTools strengths include “on-screen drill down detail in reports; ad-hoc analysis features; dashboard presentation and customization” and that in addition to the weaknesses listed above, that a weakness is that IndexTools requires the “manual entry of distribution list recipients.”

Those of you who have seen Phil’s book know that he has done an absolutely amazing job summarizing the strengths and weaknesses of each tool. In his conclusions, Phil has says the following:

“IndexTools should receive consideration if you want a well-priced, commerce-focused reporting solution and do not want to pay Omniture, WebTrends, or Coremetrics prices. If most of your users are part-time analysts and marketers who basically need reporting, IndexTools may be a reasonable selection. If you require complex slicing and dicing, IndexTools should still be on your list. Automated data integration and multiple sites with huge volumes of traffic and multiple campaigns may present challenges to IndexTools. However, because the company has a history of accommodating custom requirements, you should consider the possibility of IndexTools meeting your needs even though you want something outside of their standard feature set.”

My interpretation of this is more or less “look at IndexTools” as part of your consideration process. There are instances where IndexTools may not be appropriate — absolutely true, no application is all things to all people — but if you compare the assessment above to the conclusions provided for Omniture and others I think you’ll see a favorable recommendation for IndexTools (at least I did.) If you’re interested in reading the rest of what Phil had to say, I strongly recommend buying a copy of The Web Analytics Report 2008 from CMSWatch.

Some things are missing in IndexTools 9, mostly the ability to create custom metrics (something I have become pretty used to in Visual Site), and a couple other minor things I like to see in a mass-market analytics solution but I think there are quite a few people who will be willing to look the other way on small points like this given the price point. My basis for saying this? Simple, a rumored 1.2 million Google Analytics deployments and the army of people willing to look the other way regarding the limitations in GA …

Which brings me to why I believe IndexTools is a permanent game changer:

  1. The paradigm shift I cited in my last post on the subject is going to happen a lot sooner than some people thought. Now, if you know an IndexTools partner, or soon if not, companies really don’t have to worry about the vendor selection process. If you’re new to web analytics you can get Google Analytics; if you’ve pushed past the limited functionality in GA, you can get IndexTools. Total cost for tools: nothing. Companies will be able to (finally) focus on how the tools are used and the process of doing web analytics, not haggle with vendors over pricing, fight with IT over implementation, etc., which is exactly where we need to be. Web analytics is not about the tools, web analytics is about how the tools are used to improve the business.
  2. The existing for-fee vendors have been served notice and will have to figure out a better sales proposition than “the competition sucks.” I’m willing to be wrong on this point, but I don’t think the current “anti-IndexTools” messaging I’m hearing is likely to hold up under scrutiny. Eventually buyers are going to realize that they’re talking to sales people, some of whom are somewhat integrity-challenged, who will say anything to get them to look away from Yahoo’s offering. This rocks, in my opinion, because it spells the end of the negative selling that has been a hallmark of some vendor’s capabilities. Let’s focus on what makes you truly different, given that I can get something very similar for free, huh? As far as the claim that IndexTools sucks because the analysts don’t cover it? Um, are you sure?
  3. For the existing for-fee vendors to continue to thrive, they will need to move quickly up-market and focus on the needs of a very sophisticated audience. This is really very interesting since it highlights a growing schism between vendors trying to own the Enterprise and those trying to play nice with others. Don’t know what I mean? Look around for things like “Closed-loop Marketing” and the implication that you should be bringing all your Enterprise data into your web analytics system; compare that messaging to the idea of open architectures and the notion of integrating appropriate web analytic data back into the rest of the business. In fact, now that the pricing battle is coming to an end, I think that this is the next really interesting conversation we’re going to have …

So we start to focus on the application of the tools, not the tools themselves. Game changing. The vendors are forced to refine both their offering and their sales process. Game changing. Consultants have better free tools to work with. Game changing. Web analytics technology is pushed further along towards being a commodity. Game changing.

I’m not one to make a bunch of predictions, but I would challenge those of you who disagree with my assessment to set an alert in your calendar for twelve months from today. When the alarm goes off, take a look at the adoption rate for IndexTools, the trading price for OMTR, and the ownership status of the remaining privately held web analytics vendors in the marketplace today.  Again, I am perfectly happy to be wrong about how IndexTools might change the market …

I should reiterate that all of this is not without risks: there is still a lot that could go wrong as Yahoo! integrates IndexTools into their larger offering: the team could become de-focused, key people could leave Yahoo, Microsoft could succeed in their take-over efforts, etc. (and yeah I remember Keylime too, but that was a different time, a different technology, and frankly a different group of people managing the process.)  I am very impressed with what I’m hearing so far and look forward to the evolution of the entire web analytics sector, driven in part by Yahoo! and IndexTools.

Again, congratulations to the teams at Yahoo and IndexTools and, um, Merry Christmas to the few IndexTools partners who will have the market cornered on this technology for the time being.

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  • Joe Teixeira

    Eric, I completely agree with you that this IndexTools move is a permanent game-changer. And, for one, I could not be more thrilled about it. I am a HUGE GA fan – and I mean huge. I absolutely love it. But, IndexTools being acquired by Yahoo brings something that Google Analytics has desperately needed – Competition. With Competition, everyone wins! (Me, you, analysts, and our customers). Hopefully, each company will try to shine brighter than the other, which means that both programs will eventually become much “awesomer” than they already are!

    I literally jumped out of my seat when I first read about IndexTools being acquired, because I knew exactly what that meant for not just GA or IT, but the entire Web Analytics World – it means that the game is now on!

    I have only a limited about of time with IndexTools – I used it as a free 15-day test back in November ’07 – but I did like what I was seeing very much.

    So this is going to be a great time to be in the Web Analytics industry, not just for us but also for our clients – some clients refuse or cannot (legally) install GA on their websites, so this can be great for them…but also for existing GA clients (i know I’m getting it installed on our corporate site as soon as Yahoo releases it).

    Great Post Eric.

  • SoerenS

    First of all, congrats on getting the predictions (almost) right :-)

    I too was pretty surprised at the early announcement of a free IndexTools.

    And thanks for an excellent post with a ton of details!

    However I feel that there’s also a couple of negative points that needs to be addressed or pointed out:

    - For IndexTools to be free, you have to accept some kind of Yahoo license agreement that we’ve yet to see. It will probably contain a paragraph stating that you’re allowing Yahoo access to your data, afterall that’s the main value they are getting for offering a so powerfull analytics tool for free. And I’m not sure if I’m willing to hand over my data just yet.

    - It’s a concern whether the future development of IndexTools will be done by the same, excellent, hardworking team at IndexTools, or whether they sometime in the future will be “assimilated” into Yahoo. Which they don’t have a great track record with.

    - IndexTools’ customers meant a lot to them, as they where their main (only?) source of income. Which is one of the reasons why it is allways such a pleasure to work with those guys. Yahoo can afford (short term) not to be this way, and can demand that IndexTools focuses on either “dumbing down” IndexTools so that the masses easily can figure out how to use it, or focus on large, american customers and forget about us medium sized Europeans.

    It’s all speculation and negativity, I know. But I think it’s valid points that no blog has covered or asked so far.

    In any way we’ll all be a lot smarter at the end of this month when more information, specifically around Rubix, will be revealed! Personally, I’m excited about what is happening :-)

  • eric

    Joe: Thanks for your enthusiastic feedback. I agree that this is a great thing for our entire industry — sadly not everyone sees it that way right now but hopefully someday they will.

    It will, however, be interesting to see the terms of Yahoo’s license agreement and learn more about what they hope to do with the data. I’m optimistic that they’ll do the right thing but only time will tell.

    Soren: See my comment above about the license agreement as you raise an excellent point. Ironically enough I have already confirmed Bob Page of Yahoo! to run a huddle at X Change on data privacy — how funny is that?

    I don’t know about the team and how IndexTools might change. I’m hoping to spend some time with Dennis before long (hint hint Dennis) and I’ll pose the question.

    Regarding your third point, I guess I consider it somewhat unlikely that IndexTools will “dumb down” — why remove something you already have? But that too is speculation and you raise a good point. But, like Google Analytics, I expect IndexTools to be a global product and hope that Europeans are long able to enjoy this secret they’ve held for so long.

    Thank you both for your comments!

  • Alex B

    While I can appreciate the enthusiasm and I certainly do not see it as a negative, I’m not feeling the whole “game changing” analytic apocalypse.

    I’ll admit that I have not used IndexTools before, but I already have a ton of options for analytics and on a number of sites have taken a great amount of my time to learn how to use and analyze things like GA, server logs, and recently even took the time to play around with Gatineau.

    In the end, my time investment in additional tools has yielded me little additional insight and while I’m sure Indextools has some features not readily available to me now, or at least, simpler to access, I just don’t see the value proposition in yet another tool. Sure, it may cause Google to react a bit and put in some must have features, or spur Microsoft in a similar direction, and I of course have no ill-will towards Yahoo, but, well, I just don’t see this having the impact some of you are foreseeing, nor do I think it’s an overly brilliant strategy. I think it’s Yahoo jumping on the follower bandwagon, and, while it’s smart to hop on the wagon, it’s indicative of just how much Yahoo has been out maneuvered over the past decade.

    It’s a shame too, because there are some amazingly brilliant people over there and their behavioral marketing stuff is fantastic. Perhaps this data will make it even better, which is quite frankly the biggest positive I see.

  • eric

    Alex: The point about IndexTools is ** not ** that it is somehow different or better than the other stuff out there — the point is that by providing a wide range of functionality, and a near complete set of tools, that you don’t really need to play with GA, server logs, etc. anymore. Now between GA and IndexTools (assuming it is ultimately totally open and free for all in some form or fashion) there is a robust set of measurement tools available at no charge.

    Again, I could be wrong, but I think this situation cannot ** not ** have an impact on the market today.

    In terms of Yahoo playing catch up … it’s kind of like when people ask me why I didn’t quit my job years ago and become a private consultant. Some things aren’t about playing catch up or maximizing the revenue opportunity or whatever; sometimes there is a “right” time to make and execute on a decision. Only time will tell if Yahoo did too little too late (in terms of web analytics …)

    Thanks for your comment.

  • Michael Whitaker

    Well, there is one definite impact. 40,000+ Yahoo! Store e-commerce sites will surely get IndexTools added to their accounts with a flick of a switch. Granted, it’s mainly small biz, but there are some biggies in there using paid tools. Never mind Omniture, but this can’t be good news for Click Tracks either.

    One advantage I still seeing for GA is its tight integration with Adwords. That’s where small biz e-commerce sites spend their money.


    P.S. What’s wrong with screen scraping? ;-)

  • Anonymous

    I’m with Alex.

    Disclaimer: I work for Omniture.

    This acquisition raises the bar for free analytics tools and to this extent I agree that it will have some effect on the market, but I think GA and others have more to be concerned about than Omniture and Core, for example.

    Take a look at the vendor discovery tool on the homepage of this site. IndexTools is rarely the exclusive analytics solution and in almost all cases where it is non-exclusive, it sits alongside GA. Of course I would expect some change in this distribution now it is free and I have no doubt that Omniture and others will see some customer attrition, but I believe this will happen at an end of the market and on a scale that doesn’t threaten our success.

    Could I be wrong? You betcha, although I genuinely don’t believe I am.

    You say:

    Some things are missing in IndexTools 9, mostly the ability to create custom metrics (something I have become pretty used to in Visual Site), and a couple other minor things I like to see in a mass-market analytics solution but I think there are quite a few people who will be willing to look the other way on small points like this given the price point. My basis for saying this? Simple, a rumored 1.2 million Google Analytics deployments and the army of people willing to look the other way regarding the limitations in GA …

    Isn’t the point that the majority of those 1.2 million Google Analytics deployments happened in the same year that Omniture increased revenues by 795%? Who knows, maybe we would have increased revenues by 85% were it not for GA, then again perhaps Google’s foray into analytics was responsible for stoking unprecedented interest in this market that meant Omniture and other vendors did well because, and not instead, of Google’s emergence as an analytics player?

    There will always be customers willing ‘to look the other way’ on features where price is a motivation. It was ever thus in web analytics as it is in any other industry you care to mention. What I strongly suspect, however, is that enterprise clients will continue to demand more than ‘the basics’…..and there is nothing wrong with ‘the basics’ and I acknowledge that IndexTools offers more than ‘the basics’…but your example of no ability to create customer metrics is a case in point; I’m struggling to think of en enterprise company for whom this would not present something of a problem.

    Significant enough to mean that no enterprise client will ever want to use IndexTools? I doubt it.

    Significant enough to mean that Omniture and other for-fee vendors can continue to justify the cost for their more powerful solutions and complementary services? I think so.

    Which is why you don’t see a whole load of Fortune 500 and FTSE 100 organisations on IndexTools’ client roster. Not because they’ve been unsuccessful, but because they’ve produced a different sort of tool

    For what it’s worth, I think your comment:

    For the existing for-fee vendors to continue to thrive, they will need to move quickly up-market and focus on the needs of a very sophisticated audience.

    has much more of a ring of truth about it, although I think this is true for reasons unconnected to the IndexTools acquisition.

    In any event, good luck to IndexTools/Yahoo and peace out.

  • Anonymous

    Try 75%.

    “795%”??? I wish :-)

  • eric

    Michael: An excellent point! When you think about the opportunities that Yahoo! has regarding IndexTools there is a lot they can do. What’s wrong with screen scraping? I know you ask LOL but wouldn’t a robust API be better?

    Anonymous Omniture guy: First, thanks for writing, even if you felt the need to hide your identity. You raise a number of very good points and if I knew who you were I’d love to continue the conversation offline … but I think you’re making a dangerous assumption that the previous deployment spectrum for IndexTools somehow guides what will happen in the future.

    Keep in mind that this a largely unknown company from Europe who, without any more marketing really than having Avinask Kaushik say really great things about them, managed to produce roughly 30% of their revenues here in the U.S. This is a technology that has very passionate advocates and almost has a cult-like sense among their user base.

    Does that remind you of any company? It does me.

    I don’t doubt that you guys will continue to thrive in the marketplace for all the same reasons you have in the past. You are killer marketers and even better sales people … but if I were you I would worry that IndexTools is better technology ** than you clearly think it is ** and that the gap between what Yahoo! will provide gratis and what you need to sell is actually ** much narrower than you believe. **

    We can haggle all day about whether a lack of custom metrics or Excel export or whatever is a show stopper. We can debate endlessly whether Yahoo! will take IndexTools up-market, down-market, or whether Rubix will ever see the light of day. Hell, we can argue about whether or not web analytics is easy some more if you like …

    But at the end of the day I think IndexTools in Yahoo’s hands, or more importantly, IndexTools in Yahoo’s partner’s hands, given away for free will have a much greater impact on the market than you ** need ** to believe as an Omniture employee and shareholder.

    Don’t get me wrong — neither I or anyone out there I am talking to expect you, Brent, Matt, Josh, Chris, or any Omniture employee to concede that IndexTools may create a risk to your business … why would you?

    Anyway, thanks again for writing. If you want to reach out in the back-channel I’ll keep your identity secret. You know how to reach me.

  • Alex B

    Eric, I’m going to eliminate my one ally in this discussion but I already think the market/analytics can be accomplished via methods that don’t cost a dime. Most of the features that are extolled by the paid for packages do not appeal to me, at least at this juncture. In short, I think there’s so much to be mined in the free packages/server logs that I am rarely want for data, but rather, have to work on my filters/reducing the amount of data that I have access too in the first place.

    So, perhaps we’re not really disagreeing, in that you think Yahoo will eliminate the need for paid services whilst I think we’re already at that point.

    Sorry Omniture guy.

  • eric

    Alex: Good point, but you sound like a more sophisticated (and more technical) user than many/most of the folks out there. You actually kind of remind me of Matthew Berk who told us once at Emetrics to “grep our log files” which seemed quite insane at the time.

    I think most companies aren’t quite in the same space you’re in, at least yet. But I’m not saying you’re wrong …

    Thanks again for the thoughts!

  • Alex Brasil

    Eric– that grep your log files made me burst out laughing because this morning I was thinking of applying grep to some of my web data. Personally, I think grep and awk are the most amazing tools ever created.

    In any event, I’ve capitulated. As I have another site coming under my domain without any analytics tracking, I am going to install Indextools on it and form a more informed opinion on the matter :)

  • Anonymous

    So, perhaps we’re not really disagreeing, in that you think Yahoo will eliminate the need for paid services whilst I think we’re already at that point.

    Well it’s absolutely true that someone who knows what he’s doing with the raw data can pretty much eliminate the need for any reporting solution, whether we’re talking web analytics, business intelligence or anything else. Not so much a case of “we’re already at that point” as “we’ve always been at that point”. But not everyone wants eggs, flour and butter. Some people want a cake.

    But at the end of the day I think IndexTools in Yahoo’s hands, or more importantly, IndexTools in Yahoo’s partner’s hands, given away for free will have a much greater impact on the market than you ** need ** to believe as an Omniture employee and shareholder.

    I’m not sure I understand what you’re getting at. If I were commenting here as one of the VPs using my professional name, you could possibly play the “he would say that, wouldn’t he?” card. As it it, I’m posting anonymously in a personal capacity. If I were sitting at my PC thinking everything you’ve said about the acquisition was spot on, I’d either post a comment to that effect or not comment at all. I wouldn’t have the motivation to waste keystrokes anonymously defending a position I don’t genuinely believe is worth defending. It really is worse than you think: I believe what I’m saying. I may be completely wrong, but I can assure you my thoughts are the product of a rational processing of the available facts, and not the result of a **need** to believe anything.

    I think you’re making a dangerous assumption that the previous deployment spectrum for IndexTools somehow guides what will happen in the future.

    Well, I certainly do think it guides us although I agree it would be foolish to think nothing will change. That said, I don’t know how “dangerous” it is to assume Yahoo won’t be making hugely significant changes given the commitment to zero cost. I’ve no doubt some of the more obvious gaps will be plugged, but how much of a diffrence that will make to the higher-end, for-fee vendors is very much debatable, IMHO.

  • eric

    Anonymous Omniture guy/gal: We agree to disagree, but you’re wrong if you think that just because you’re disguising your identity that you’re not representing Omniture. When you self-identified you took a stand and your position is entirely consistent with the one that Brent is taking openly in some people’s blogs.

    I’m not saying your position isn’t rational, I’m not even really saying you’re wrong (hell, you may be right! Only time will tell …) But when you said “Disclaimer: I work for Omniture” you said loud-and-clear that your position is influenced by your loyalties.

    Nothing wrong with that, mind you, nothing at all. Omniture is well-known in the industry for having tremendously loyal employees.

    Interestingly we’re having this conversation because you said you worked for Omniture. If you had taken your position anonymously I would have deleted the post. I too have a “Code of Conduct” like yours (although yours was quickly deleted, what’s up with that?)

    Thanks for the commentary. Maybe someday we’ll meet. Who knows, maybe we already have ;-)

  • Christian Vermehren

    Hi Eric,

    When you accuse someone of being biased, I think you should recognize the fact that you are yourself biased.

    The Omniture person might have an incentive to describe IndexTools negatively and to downplay the importance of the Yahoo! deal. You, on the other hand, seem to have an interest in praising IndexTools and in exaggerating the importance of the deal. Why? Well, because free tools will of course rapidly spread web analytics technology and thereby increase the need for consultants like you.

    I work for Netminers, which is a Danish vendor of web analytics technology. As such I will refrain from commenting directly on the deal. Let me just take the opportunity to congratulate Dennis Mortensen and the rest of the IndexTools team. They have certainly made a very good deal!

  • eric

    Christian: Good point, and this is exactly why I disclosed that I had done some work for Dennis when I first wrote about the IndexTools deal. Everyone has some type of bias, although I’m not certain you’ve pegged mine as accurately as you could have.

    In terms of “exaggerating the importance of the deal” and “free tools … increasing the need for consultants like [me]” I would offer two points:

    1) I honestly don’t think I’m exaggerating the importance of IndexTools potential impact on the competitive landscape but I have repeatedly said “I could be wrong”. Do what I suggested — set an alert for 12 months from today and let’s check back in. If nothing has changed and nobody has selected IndexTools for their Enterprise-wide deployments at the expense of smaller vendors around the world (smaller than Yahoo! I mean) then I will gladly admit I was mistaken.

    If I have learned anything in my decade in web analytics is that it is okay to be wrong.

    2) I don’t actually do the kind of consulting you may think I do. In fact, I rather suspect that free IndexTools will ** hurt ** my business in the long run — isn’t that sad? Increased interest in web analytics will bring more direct competition into my niche (considering today I have NO direct competitors in the world, which I have to admit is kind of nice …)

    But you’re right — IndexTools will inevitably create opportunity for my business partners, companies like Satama and LBi/OX2 in Europe and Semphonic and Stratigent here in the U.S. That said, given that I have selected these partners based on their experience and firsthand knowledge that it is the combination of technology, people, and process that make companies successful in the online channel, I think that following Avinash’s 10/90 rule or my own 10/20/70 rule and getting help is very appropriate.

    Thanks for writing and very nice of you to congratulate Mr. Mortensen and the team.

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  • Anonymous


    With respect, you kind of miss the point about my disclaimer. I could have omitted any reference to my employer and you would then have had no opportunity to claim that I “needed” to believe what I wrote. I made the disclosure as I didn’t feel comfortable submitting a comment on this subject and making the points I did whilst keeping this fact from readers.

    The fact remains, when you claim my opinions are the product of a “need” to believe specfiic things, you are necessarily delegitimizing them. You are explicitly excluding the possibility that my views are the result of a rational procssing of the facts and imply a triumph of hope over expectation on my part. Call me touchy, but I feel patronized.

    I may be as biased as they come (although I honestly don’t believe I am), but I think I’m entitled to an assumption by my interlocutors that my thoughts are a true and fair reflection of my actual views, at least in the absence of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

    There may be a shortage of such folk on this thread, but I can pretty much guarantee that there are other non-Omniture-employed industry watchers who share my view of the IndexTools acquisition.

    Then again, they probably just want a job at Omniture. ;-)

    And I have no idea what your deletions comment is referring to.

    Anyway, good luck to you.

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  • rob, BtG

    check out the newly unveiled Yahoo Web Analytics-

  • margret

    Most companies aren’t realizing the full benefit of their investment in web analytic technology because they’ve failed to assign proper/enough resources to the task of “improving the web site.” Measurement tools are a critical piece of the continual improvement process–basically working to improve your site incrementally rather than hoping that a massive redesign will solve your problems–but too few companies are leveraging this opportunity effectively.


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