While Dennis Mortensen was kind enough to give me some advance notice that Yahoo! had officially rebranded IndexTools and was making it available to a wider audience, I have been so swamped with client projects I haven’t had a chance to comment on the news until now. I’m excited to see the company making forward progress towards making IndexTools available to the larger market, especially in the context of the vote of “no confidence” I keep hearing from the investment bankers I talk to from time to time.
Given that I was honored to break the story about the acquisition it is no wonder that some people have commented, “Hey, Peterson, you were wrong … it’s not free for everyone!” To this I can only comment that I would rather see Yahoo! take a measured and thoughtful approach towards the deployment of the application than be right.
But the one thing I have seen a lot of these past few days is the assertion that Yahoo Web Analytics is designed to compete with Google Analytics and that Yahoo! is somehow lame for being so late to the game. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.
For those of you keeping track, when Yahoo! announced that they were waiving all fees for existing customers I commented the following:
“Finally, I would personally offer that Google Analytics and IndexTools are (in their current state) dramatically different applications targeting very different audiences.”
Now, I suppose I don’t expect traditional media to look any deeper into web analytics than necessary and so of course the logical conclusion is “Yahoo! and Google compete, egro Yahoo Web Analytics and Google Analytics are competitors.” I just hope the team at Yahoo! doesn’t start to believe this positioning as it is A) clearly wrong, B) minimizes the value of the acquisition, and C) only sets Yahoo! up to fail (something I suspect they have had quite enough of lately …)
In the midst of the media mini-frenzy I saw one quote that almost perfectly summarized why these two applications are unlikely competitors, published by the E-Commerce Times (emphasis mine):
“The data’s not aggregated — the data’s stored raw in our database,” Jitendra Kavathekar, vice president of Yahoo Web Analytics, told the E-Commerce Times.
“You basically get real-time reports and dashboards, allowing our customers to take immediate action rather than waiting half a day, or waiting a day, or waiting a week to get the information they need,” he explained.
That option, Kavathekar asserts, opens up a whole host of new options for end-users when it comes to data visualization and manipulation.
“The ability to drag-and-drop different filters — to be able to cut the data in different ways, in real-time, to get the data that you need, to get the insights you need — is something you don’t generally see out there in the market,” he said.
“The data’s not aggregated” is the difference between SiteCatalyst and Omniture Discover, WebTrends Web Analytics and Visitor Intelligence, etc. It is also the difference of tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, additional training and support, and the need for experience professionals in the operator’s chair.
I said it before and I’ll say it again, just for emphasis: Game changing.
Regardless of the timeline — Christmas, Easter, Memorial Day, 4th of July, whatever — Yahoo! making a real-time raw data collection environment available to a widespread audience for free will change the web analytics market, especially if the company can get their arms around a reasonable GTM strategy. If Yahoo! can figure out how to get the application in the right people’s hands instead of pursuing the ludicris strategy of duplicating Google’s success,well, I stand by all previous assertions regarding who IndexTools hurts and who it helps.
Despite not competing, the wildcard of course is still Google. I don’t talk to Brett as often as I should but the rumors of new segmentation functionality coming soon are growing louder and the idea of Google Analytics APIs from Google (as opposed to a group of bright, enterprising individuals) is persistent. Hopefully some of this will come to light week after next at Brett’s Emetrics presentation, especially since his announcement at Emetrics San Francisco made us all yawn …
If Google is coming upmarket, driven by IndexTools or just their own internal strategy, a lot of the objections to deploying Google Analytics as a business standard start to disappear. Segmentation, custom variables, an API, better filters, etc. will all push GA up-and-to-the-right in the constellations, waves, and magic quadrants of the world. Couple that with Google Web Site Optimizer and the long-term view of the market’s evolution gets even cloudier.
One thing I keep forgetting to ask Dennis and my other contacts at Yahoo! is about the status of Rubix. Last I asked it was still on the table, something that only appears to be reinforced by Kavathekar’s statement about data visualization and manipulation. If you’ve seen Rubix, the “drag-and-drop filters” comment is especially telling, don’t you think?
- Yahoo Web Analytics does not compete with Google Analytics because they are fundamentally designed to serve different audiences;
- Even if Google Analytics expands segmentation functionality, these applications are structurally differen;
- Provided the investment banking-types are wrong about Yahoo’s ability to execute, I believe that YWA will eventually emerge as a direct competitor in RFPs with SiteCatalyst, WebTrends Web Analytics, Coremetrics 2009, Nedstat, etc.;
- If Yahoo! figures out how to scale raw data storage and ultimately gives away access to Rubix, the competitive set expands to Omniture Discover, WebTrends Visitor Intelligence, Coremetrics Explore, Unica’s Affinium NetInsight, etc.;
Again, congratulations to Dennis, the team at Yahoo Web Analytics, and the folks at Yahoo who made the acquistion on getting a branded product out the door so quickly and opening the door to partners, developers, and Yahoo Store owners. Given all of the other news at Yahoo! and in the market in general this is no small feat.