It is official: IndexTools is now free for everyone!
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!