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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

WebTrends ODBC Driver and Yahoo! Maps

The WebTrends ODBC driver is a great feature of the WebTrends Marketing Lab in my humble (and biased) opinion. It's pretty powerful, especially when pulling data from the WebTrends On Demand service. So I thought I'd update my WebTrends-Yahoo! Maps mashup to take advantage of the flexibility of the ODBC driver. Check it out with your own data!

Here's how the U.S. and Canada traffic (visits) looks for insideanalytics.blogspot.com:

Feel free to download this spreadsheet to use if you'd like to map your own data. It has a few macros built in to allow you to refresh the data from WebTrends, and upload it to Yahoo's slick mapping service. I've been testing with WebTrends On Demand data, but it should work find for those of you using WebTrends software too.

The general idea is as follows. You install the WebTrends ODBC driver, and create a data source called "WTODGeo" to match what this spreadsheet is using as a default. The WTODGeo data source connects to the profile you want to use. Then you enter in the Time Period you want to use in the spreadsheet and refresh the spreadsheet with your data. Then map it using the macro!

There are more specific instructions in the spreadsheet.

I'm using the Yahoo! maps "simple" api for this only because it's VERY easy to use, and gets the general point across without much fuss. Their Flash and AJAX api's are definitely worth a look too. If someone would like to make this map even better...be my guest!

This isn't a WebTrends supported spreadsheet. Just my own creation. Use at your own risk. If you have trouble with it, or have any questions or feedback, feel free to drop me a line at elbpdx @ gmail

Quick Update: Note that even if you do not use WebTrends, you can still download the spreadsheet and use the data I have inside the spreadsheet to see the Yahoo! map. After downloading the spreadsheet, just skip all the other steps and use the macro to map the current data. It's worth it to see how easy Yahoo! maps is to use!

Filed in: analytics, visualization, map, mashup

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InfoWeek on Low-Cost Analytics Packages

InformationWeek has a review of five low-cost analytics packages.  Short reviews on each, highlighting some key features.

The last page has a blurb on cookies (the issue that just won't die!), noting:
"Many experts feel that the whole "cookie hype" has largely been due to media coverage. "Cookies are the lowest concern of any of type of spyware," says Joe Telafici, director of operations for McAfee Avert Labs."
- and -
"The controversy resulted in some spyware sweepers picking up these types of cookies -- and, as a result, it's probable that a lot of users deleted them. So if the cookies are dumped, how useful are the analytics products? Not very."
Filed in: analytics

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Internet Advertising Hits $3.9B

The IAB and PWC released a report noting that internet advertising revenues reached a new record of $3.9B in Q1 of 2006. A 38% growth year-over-year. Impressive.

Source: PwC/IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report (www.iab.net)

Everyone in the valley with the "Please God, give me just one more bubble" bumber stickers must be dancing in the streets!

Filed in: advertising

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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Site Visualization Tool

Check out this slick graphical view of a web site...I ran a few sites through the tool - my fav is the view of boingboing.net...here's a part of the view of insideanalytics.blogspot.com:

Folks are taking screenshots of sites and posting them to Flickr here. Cool!

Found via Blogoscoped.

Filed in: visualization

Monday, May 22, 2006

Thinking about the industry

Xavier Casanova has a smart post today about the changing analytics industry. I like this quote:
"it seems to me that the amount of free, uncontrolled buzz has skyrocketed on over the last 2-3 years"
It's very true. The external buzz is really only measured by referrer traffic today in current analytics tools, and yet it's spawning new parallel analytics to the web analytics world (Feedburner, BuzzMetrics, etc.).  As Xavier says, "think about it".

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Verisign and OpenID

Could Verisign bring a web2.0 identity effort into the mainstream? They have announced that they are now an OpenID (wiki) Personal Identity Provider (PIP). Verisign is definitely one of the names that comes to mind when thinking of privacy and security, so this does have good potential.

OpenID is a relatively straight-forward identity mechanism that LiveJournal, MovableType/TypePad and others have adopted. You sign up for an Identity (which is a URL) with an Identity Provider (like Verisign), then use that Identity at sites that use the OpenID mechanism. From an analytics perspective, this is nirvana...a universal visitor identifier.

I signed up for the Verisign PIP. It was a fairly painless signup process. Ironically enough however, especially for the leader in the encryption world, the signup process (including entering in a password) is NOT done via SSL. I'm sure they'll fix that soon...

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Del.icio.us, APIs and SSL

One of the ways to get a technology service running quickly is to put security concerns on the back burner. Either it's too expensive (in terms of engineering resources), or too complex, or just an oversight. I'd like to see all new services articulate their position on basic security issues (SSL, authentication, cookies, etc.) to give us technology early adopters a better sense for what their approach will be moving forward.

At the very least though, every service should run over SSL. This is super easy to setup, and requires very little engineering effort. There are some systems architecture decisions to be made, including how to host the SSL certificate (preferably on the load balancer). And of course, there is some cost (performance, CPU time) associated with encryption, which could add some load. But otherwise, this is a slam-dunk easy win.

Del.icio.us noted yesterday in their blog that they have changed their APIs to support (in fact, require) SSL. Good move. Again, IMHO they should have done this from the start. Since their APIs are so heavily used, many other software vendors are now scrambling to fix their applications that use their APIs (they've been given 6 months to make the change before del.icio.us shuts down the old site). And now all of us users need to update our apps that leverage those APIs (in my case, I will have to update Attensa, Performancing, Firefox/Del.icio.us extension, and that widget (that I haven't finished yet anyway - ok that's not as big of a deal ;-)

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Feedburner Ads

Pat McCarthy notes a couple of challenges he sees with Feedburner's Ad Network. I agree with his comments.

I have written about Feedburner a few times. They've clearly got very smart people solving problems we don't know we have yet. What I like about the new Ad service (FAN) approach is that they are using meta data to help drive the ad content. I like the concept of integrating ads into other information (eg, web pages, etc.) presented as microcontent. As Fred Wilson notes, "FeedBurner continues to lead the way in monetizing microchunked content".

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

First Google Gadgets for Analytics

The folks over at Performancing have the first Google Gadget (GG) for web analytics that I've come across. GG is one of Google's latest desktop tools, and it's pretty slick - definitely a direct attack on one of my favorite tools - the very popular Yahoo! Widgets.

Here's a snapshot of the Performancing gadget:
I've been using Performancing to measure traffic on this blog for a couple of months now. My favorite feature is their RSS feed of analytics data. You can see the data for my site here:

I find that I don't visit the Performancing site much since I'm subscribed to the RSS feed of the data. Reading analytics data via a feed is a bit awkward in that the data is updated several times throughout the day, and each update is picked up by my RSS reader, so if I don't get to the feed for a couple of days, it's a lot of repetitive data.

Congrats to the Performancing team for being first to the punch. Nice job! I still plan on giving my Yahoo! Widgets a facelift and a few more features in the near future.

Update: In looking at this again, it looks like the GG is actually built by a third-party (geniosity.co.za)...but it works fine...cool stuff.

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webtrends reinvigorate analytics