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It is official: IndexTools is now free for everyone!

Published by Eric T. Peterson on June 12, 2008 All posts from Eric T. Peterson

No, it’s really not, sorry.  But as long as I have your attention I wanted to talk about a thread developing at the Web Analytics Forum about IndexTools not yet being freely available to all that I think is pretty interesting.

Does anyone remember how long Google had Urchin before they gave away Google Analytics for free?  Eight months.  And everyone spent the entire time saying, “Naw, they’ll never give it away … it would be way too expensive!”  Then, remember when they did give Google Analytics away, they immediately had to stop.

So why would anyone expect Yahoo! to be giving IndexTools away for free to everyone barely two months after the acquisition?  Impatience?  Internet time?  An intense and building desire for really good tools for the best of all prices?!?


I am very much in the “I bet it will be free” camp, but I suspect that in the midst of everything else Yahoo! has been dealing with lately that the acquisition and roll-out team will take a measured, thoughtful approach towards the next phase of IndexTools.

Based on the letter recently sent to existing partners, it kind of sounds like they want to build a few new data centers and make sure they can handle the needs of their existing customers and partners — nothing really wrong with that, is there?  I bet they’ll also take some time and think about how to avoid some of the problems the other guys had (rollout issues, service outages, extended betas, etc.)

I’ll go ahead and reiterate (and clarify) my original prediction: I think we’ll see free IndexTools for anyone and everyone sometime around Christmas 2008.  I know people around the world are still getting new IndexTools accounts through the partners — you can see that in my Vendor Discovery Tool — but Yahoo! has a lot to consider before they roll IndexTools out to the masses.  I mean, if you think web analytics is hard, you should try developing, maintaining, selling (or not selling), and supporting a web analytics application in this market …

I’ll also bet Yahoo is going to ask for something in return for the accounts as well: Agreeing to run ads on their sites, signing up for a developer account, allowing them use your data to improve their search engine, … something that justifies or offsets some of the cost associated with giving this fairly robust web analytics application away.

Finally, I suspect that Yahoo! will soft-peddle IndexTools when it is widely available.  What I’m hearing is that despite what a lot of people think, Yahoo! doesn’t really want to piss off Google, Omniture, WebTrends, or any of the existing web analytics providers.  But hey, why should they?  Why scream “AWESOME FREE WEB ANALYTICS SOLUTION!” when they can quietly release it and know that word will eventually get out?

Anyway, IndexTools is not free for all, at least not yet.  As Julien Coquet would likely say, c’est la vie!

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Categorized under Random Thoughts, Vendors

  • Matthew Niederberger

    Read your twitter ‘tweet’ and got to your site as fast as I could, only to be told ‘No, it’s really not, sorry.’ :(

    Still your post does come at a good time, especially when several of my colleagues and other twitter-friends have been asking me what the status is of Indextools’ availability.

    I was teased by Indextools and a demo of Rubix just weeks before the takeover… so I am just waiting with anticipation to start a Indextools implementation, maybe Dennis can still hook me up!

    Let’s just see if Santa can bring us free Indextools this year. If not, just the thought of such a vendor entering the market place can (hopefully) put a little pressure on the further development in the Google and MS camps.

  • Ramki
  • Rene Dechamps Otamendi

    Hi Eric,

    Indeed IndexTools is not YET available for the masses. Partners of IndexTools as OX2 can never the less create new accounts for their customers and I can tell you that we are doing it ;-)

    Regarding your statement about IndexTools requesting something in return, based on the conversations that I’ve had with them it’s not in their plans. Also knowing the ‘open’ strategy of Yahoo I don’t expect them to move towards that direction.

    For the moment then, it’s possible to get an IndexTools account but you need to go through an existing partner. I believe also that besides scalability they don’t want to be submerged by support questions. Going through partners allows IndexTools to make sure that their users will have a decent support. And getting back to the cost of IndexTools I’m afraid it’s not completely free, as companies need to spend some money in services to get it implemented, receive training and support ;-)

    Have a nice day,


  • Bryan Cristina

    Wow, was it really 8 months? I bet that was an eternity back then. The Internet does warp time. I had completely forgotten about that 8 month period, followed by their closing off signups, or a product that wasn’t nearly as fine-tuned as it is now.

    Maybe part of the whole IndexTools fever is that it truly is a great tool and people know that, whereas I feel the Google sentiment was “For a free tool it’s pretty good.”

    However long it takes, though, I’m far from the only one very excited to get using it, and I’m curious to see what enhancements Google and the rest of the for-pay shops bring out from it.

  • Dennis R. Mortensen

    Hi Eric,

    This is what I posted over at the Forum, but it deserves an Echo to your, as always, VERY thoughtful post!

    When we (IndexTools) got acquired (by Yahoo) a different strategy than e.g. Google for how to proceed was chosen. So we immediately pushed the tool to FREE for all existing clients and all existing agency partners (STEP A). But we simply did not have the infrastructure (Invoices tends to keep people at bay in creating new accounts) to serve hundreds of thousands of accounts.

    So the next step (STEP B) is what went out to partners on the 12th (about 200 partners around the world) – about the fact they could now start adding accounts again (still in a controlled manner).

    STEP C (August’ish) is something I have to tell you about later… but you can check out my blog (or you Eric, can give me a call once in a while :-) for any news about it, if you are keen to follow..

    .. but to be honest, there are _multiple_ STEPS before the FREE FOR ALL. December.. we’ll see :-)

    Cheers and have a great weekend Eric.

    Dennis R. Mortensen, Director of Data Insights at Yahoo!

  • Dennis R. Mortensen

    I absolutely LOVE that logo! :-)

    Dennis R. Mortensen, Director of Data Insights at Yahoo!

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  • Alex Brasil

    Truth be told the initial argument isn’t really all that strong. The only evidence he offers is that it currently isn’t available (something a cursory attempt to sign up for it could have revealed), and that currently only 3 organizations in Germany can provide it.

    How one jumps from that line of evidence to it wont be free in the future is somewhat lost on me.

    I’ll quote his final argument for emphasis.

    “All i know is: At this moment – try to get an free account.. good luck to you. Maybe i´m wrong, but somehow i think that there´ll be NO free Yahoondextools in near future.”

  • eric

    (This is what I get for posting at midnight and going to bed … behind in the comment stream!)

    Matthew: Don’t get me started about Rubix. I’m strangely not optimistic about Rubix showing up gratis in the mix. Think about how Rubix must work, and the costs associated with those queries. Plus, I’m not entirely sure “free Rubix” actually makes sense … but yeah, if they did that it would be an even bigger game changer.

    Ramki: Ironically, I don’t think Google/Avinash really care either way about IndexTools by Yahoo! other than to be happy for Dennis and his success (Avi and Dennis are good friends I think.) I really don’t see this acquisition as being any kind of threat to Google Analytics because A) GA has massive market penetration already and B) I suspect that “free IndexTools” instead of “free Google Analytics” would still have the effect that Google has publicly said they’re looking for — more money for Google via AdWords.

    Rene: My friend, this is exactly why I suggested that you build an OX2 campaign around the shift to IndexTools! Leverage the 10/20/70 rule and get help where help is truly needed — in implementation and use! Only time will tell if Yahoo! wants something in return for free IndexTools. I’m not going to fault them if they do, and I’ll gladly admit I was wrong if they don’t (how’s that for a hedge, huh?)

    Bryan: Agreed. Plus, GA version 1.0 was okay but not nearly as wonderful as version 2.0. It will be interesting to see what IndexTools version 2.0 looks like, huh? Dennis: if you’re reading this, call me ;-)

    Dennis: Oh, you were reading this … I don’t have your new New York-based phone number, but I’ll gladly give you a call (you could call me too, my number has not changed my friend ;-)

    Seriously, thanks for your comment and your pick-up. It’s clear that a bunch of us (not everyone mind you) are excited about the possibilities that more widespread availability of your application suite would enable. As I’ve said repeatedly, it would potentially bring everyone’s capabilities dramatically “up market” which would certainly be great. Just look at the insanity WAA Web Analytics Championship contestants have to endure just to get some basic visitor segmentation … crazy!

    Alex: Yeah, the blog post wasn’t truly convincing but it captured a sentiment that I am hearing more and more and thus was convenient. All signs point to free IndexTools at some point. We just gotta be patient.

    Thanks to all of you for your comments and sorry for the notification delay!

  • Judah

    I’d think that YSM will be integrated into IndexTools prior to it “going free.” With the Yahoo and Google deal yesterday I wouldn’t be surprised to see some level of AdWords tracking in it either (if perhaps only for the Google ads served on Yahoo SERP’s).

    Anyway… good post, and I love the logo… ;)


  • eric

    Judah: Maybe, but there I would put my money on integration with Yahoo Shopping and Small Business Hosting. In those areas Yahoo! could leverage IndexTools to provide powerful out-of-box reports that would use Google’s model of “uncovering value to drive more investment” within an already loyal customer base.

    I’m pretty sure that IndexTools already has excellent search marketing integration in both web analytics and their bid management solution. Dennis are you still listening? Can we get the low-down on your current integration with the SEM platforms?

    Congrats on the huge win in L.A. last night (to all of you in Boston …)

  • Dennis R. Mortensen

    Hi Eric,

    Still listening! … But I can’t really post much public about the product strategy here. I do however find your last response to Judah very insightful!! :-) ..and again, your comment to Ramki is very much spot on (People, scroll up and read for insight).

    Cheers :-)

    Dennis R. Mortensen

  • Emma G

    Snow Valley is the largest Partner reseller of IndexTools in the UK and has seen how the events have unfolded over the past few months.

    The Bid Management add-ons were launched last year and we have been using them regularly. The add-on integrates with Yahoo, Google and MSN, and although there was initially some uncertainty over the support across Google and MSN, we are still continuing to use bid management across all three. We have found the Bid Management to be pretty good, and especially useful for ecommerce business whose targets are most ROI focused than visitor focused.

    As for the future on Yahoo! IndexTools we here at Snow Valley have been in regular contact with IndexTools regarding the matter. On the 3rd July we will be hosting a breakfast briefing on the Yahoo! IndexTools acquisition and what it means for the future. If you want to come to this free event please register at:

  • Darren Shafae

    Hi, Eric,

    I was so excited when I received notification about your blog (twitter), but then my hopes were dashed with the fine print (seriously, 2008?). I would love to see Web analytics tools that incorporate bid rules and bidding access across multiple paid search platforms. I am not sure if the day will ever come when this tool exists for free. I know there are plenty currently available for a hefty price or based on monthly spending.

    I know there is a small movement to an open source Web analytics tool, but, then again, would we want to have our conversion data floating out on the Internet (


  • eric

    Darren: An excellent question, and sorry to dash your hopes when you read the blog post (but you read the blog post, huh?)

  • Darren Shafae

    Eric, I hung on every word.

  • Garry Przyklenk

    Eric, thanks for the honorable mention.

    Of course, it’d be a fantasy ending to be able to get IndexTools free one day, and I’m still optimistic. But even if Yahoo intended to charge for IndexTools, I know a lot of clients and webmasters that would jump at the opportunity for a mid-range analytics solution to calm their Google paranoia.

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