I was reading SEOChat’s How Your Search Data Can Make You Look Like a Star (as opposed to, say, a parallelogram) when I noticed something interesting. There are a number of links that have heavy underlining — heavier lines than for your average link. Hovering over the link with the mouse causes a “sponsor” pop-up to show, like a tooltip:
I don’t have time to dig into the technology that underlies this, nor what the analytics and privacy issues are, but it looks consumer-friendly, and provides ample opportunity for advertisers. Talk about in-product placement.
For the record, Accrue supported web server log files, NSAPI and ISAPI web server plug-ins, connectors to various ecommerce and application servers (e.g. Websphere, Broadvision, ATG), ODBC/SQL integration, various flat files, page tagging, etc. Oh, and network collection.
Eric is right that I didn’t shed any tears over the Accrue tech acquisition by I/PRO.
I had a nice chat with Allan Kaplan, CEO of I/PRO, the day before the press release went out. They simply held up on the press release so they could contact all the G2 customers beforehand, but I got the sense that since Guy Creese had outed them they decided to make it official. Allan claims he’s not a technologist but it’s clear he did his homework before picking up the technology.
I suspect most of I/PRO’s interest is around InfoCharger, the engine that powered G2. This is absolutely the right thing, since the G2 product itself hasn’t had a lot of investment since late 2001 or so. (That’s not to take away from the engineers that worked on it since, but the team was pared back to a skeleton crew that couldn’t really provide the innovation to keep up with the rest of the market.) But InfoCharger, the distributed, CORBA-based data engine, is still an amazing piece of work, and I know I/PRO (and perhaps Cydelity) will be using it to power their product offerings.
Back when NetGenesis was growing its business by marketing, Accrue was growing its revenue by doing heavy technological lifting.
Even up until the Datanautics thing happened, Accrue G2 was winning technology bake-offs. But no CFOs would pay for enterprise-class licensed software to a company that looked like it would go out of business. And thus it did.
There are a lot of lessons here. Maybe someday I’ll write some, but I’ve moved on and it’s not like I have some desire to purge some horrible memory.
Meanwhile, InfoCharger lives on in two companies now.
At Y! we’ve been discussing this issue for a long time. Not because we’re super-insightful, but because back in the spring of 2004 (almost a year ahead of the Jupiter study), there was a study done by newspaper research firm Belden Associates that says .. wait for it … some 40 percent of users clear their cookies at least once a month.
Does it matter? Not really. Just that it’s not new news at all, so I’m baffled by the recent storm of discussion. Kudos to Jupiter for bringing it to the attention of the wider industry, because obviously it wasn’t well-known previously.
Last week at Emetrics I was speaking with a company doing vertical search. We discussed metrics like number of “next page” clicks, time to first click, and lots more, in order to measure the user experience. Metrics often take the place of real data, e.g. for inferring things like relevance of the search results.
So, thought experiment: Visitor A does a search, clicks on 15 links. Visitor B does a search, doesn’t click on any links. Visitor C does a search, clicks on 2 links. Average clicks per search is 5.66. Which visitor had the best experience?
The answer is that it depends on what the search term was.
Visitor A typed santa barbara photos. They want to see lots of ’em. The fact that they looked at 15 is a good sign.
So, it would be misleading to compute an average, and compare each result against the average. If you categorized your searches into terms like information, browsing, and general, you could group your searches and compute your metrics by category. You’d want your information searches to have low clicks, and browsing searches to have high clicks.
Guy Creese has a post about Datanautics, the company formed from the ashes of the old Accrue Software. Having done some detective work, Guy notes that analytics pioneer I/Pro is offering support for Datanautics customers, and have overlapping management teams.
I know Datanautics had been shopping the technology – last week, multiple vendors at Emetrics told me they’d been approached. So it looks like I/Pro ended up with it.
In 1996 when we were pitching the original business plan that would become Accrue, people would ask “how are you going to compete with I/Pro?” At the time, I/Pro was focused on services and auditing, not hard-core behind-the-firewall analytics, so our answer was that they were different beasts. Fast forward 9 years and there’s your answer…
So what happens to Datanautics? Last week two different people told me the company has changed direction, changed their name, and has something new in the works that leverages the existing technology. I was told the new name, but I don’t remember it.
I’ve long thought the technology underlying AccrueDatanautics G2 could be repurposed for lots of other large-scale analysis, the only sticking point was developing the expertise to build a solution using the technology. Have they done it?
The results are looking very mature, and show that the Internet and Web are becoming mainstream in people’s lives. What I mean by that is that the big gainers seem to be around seasonal sites, e.g. Mother’s Day, baseball, and career services (for graduates).
Of particular note – they have decided to start tracking photos sites as its own category (although didn’t release any numbers this month). Also, check out the gains to wikipedia, a 40% growth in unique users over March.
Finally, I’d never seen any numbers for the various web mail services, so was surprised to see that for all the noise about Gmail, it had 3.5 million unique users in April, vs. 64 million for Yahoo and 43 million for Hotmail.
Forrester released the results of a survey in an report called What’s On Web Analytics Users’ Minds? The report mirrors a lot of the issues we see here at Yahoo! (instrumentation concerns, multiple sources of “truth”, no silver bullet for counting users) but there’s one sentence that jumped out at me – this was regarding privacy concerns:
One-third of online consumers say they’d purchase more over the Internet if they didn’t feel that their privacy was being compromised.
If ever there was a reason to get in front of the online industry’s privacy issues, it’s not the PR value — it’s the economic benefit! It’s one thing to say “we collect information about you” but it’s another to put policies and systems in place that ensure enforcement of data security and engender trust in the marketplace.
I have a feeling that the privacy breaches we’re reading about (and the ones we’re not reading about!) are going to hit fever pitch, and the subsequent government reaction will result in business burdens that at least mirror or even surpass that of Sarbanes-Oxley. Like SOX, it will mean rebuilding our systems. A whole new privacy compliance industry will emerge. I doubt we can do much about it, except to prepare for it. Meanwhile — if raising the level of trust in the marketplace will result in increased sales … why not start now?
I’m at the point where a quick scan of my spam folder tells me if I want to read anything in it. I may even go days at a time without reading anything, and then just dump the whole folder. I’ve had a few false positives — email that wasn’t spam, but looked it for some reason.
Spam will always be with us, and we’ll always be looking for ways to limit it – and legitimate direct marketing efforts will be looking for ways for their messages to get through. One method gaining popularity is the authentication of email — making sure the From: line is not faked. This doesn’t reduce spam per se but allows recipients to be sure that the sender is really the sender. Since many spammers fake their sending addresses, authentication could cut down on this kind of spam. It would also be another factor in the spam filtering wars.
I see that the the Direct Marketing Association recently announced that they are co-underwriting the upcoming Email Authentication Summit. Yahoo! is also a co-underwriter. Nice to see the DMA involved, and hopefully that will send a signal to all direct marketers that they should learn more about email authentication.