Somebody asked me for my reaction to the announcement that Google has decided to make Urchin free. I already said it once:
A nice way to get even more off-network data is to supply folks with a hosted analytics service that most small and medium-sized web sites can use. Simply put a web bug / beacon in your page, and we’ll track your visitors for you. And for us.
Business Week observes that perhaps Web traffic volume isn’t always a key performance indicator. Witness HotJobs, a site with (according to the media research companies) declining web traffic. Olga Kharif finds that revenues are increasing.
As web analytics professionals, we tend to focus on trends, distributions, segments, etc. But sometimes the best insights don’t come from numbers or fancy visualizations. They can come from the experience of a single visitor.
Steve Krause, VP of Analytic Products at CNET, has come out of his cave and is doing some great writing. Web Analytics historians will appreciate his Personify Retrospective, but he’s got lots of Good Think on other topics too. Anyone who can wax poetic about high-definition lettuce gets my vote.
Yahoo researchers endlessly try to divine which are the most-used services.
Indeed, the front page changes in multiple ways every week, as the team tries new ideas. I know this because SDS runs the A/B test system that does all the analytics. In this way, “Yahoo researchers” are always trying new things. And “devine” is an interesting word – “study” is probably more accurate. The Yahoo front page is probably the single most instrumented, most analyzed page on the Web. When 44% of the Internet population sees your page every month, you don’t make changes for the heck of it.
Finally, let’s be honest: it’s not all about user experience. The art is about the design that balances user experience (or “delight” as Larry calls it) with the business needs of the site. The science is running the experiments on those designs, so the varied opinions give way to hard facts based on actual research.
If you haven’t seen it, the Web Analytics Association has several RSS feeds, for job postings, articles, events and press releases. And a feed that consolidates them all.
Most of the entries are for job openings. I considered posting all our job openings, but that seems excessive.
Within Yahoo’s data group, we’ve got over 70 openings. That’s not a typo. Over seventy positions, throughout software engineering, QA, product managers, statisticians, business analysts, and everything in between — and at all levels. If you’re interested in working in Sunnyvale or Pasadena, you love data in any capacity, and you appreciate a company with an executive commitment to use the data, you should check out the amazing things we’re doing. (hint: send me a resume.)
As a side benefit, you can tell your family where you work and they will have heard of the company!
What are surfers willing to do to get personalized content?
In May, ChoiceStream did an email survey of 923 U.S. online adults, and found that consumers want personalized content, but they are wary of using methods like click tracking to inform the personalization. Not only that, but they are less willing to provide information or allow tracking than they were a year ago:
Not too encouraging. And if 68% of visitors are opposed to using click and purchase tracking in order to provide what many people actually want — personalization — is it any wonder that they don’t see the value in cookies?