Emetrics Summit, New Tools

Holy Hasselhoff's Hamburger! The new version of Google Analytics is out of beta! Before getting the email notifications directly from the 'plex or logging in to-day meself to heed the general advsory message within, I noticed SEW reporting on it this morning. Anyway, so now after keeping it on the down-low over the past few weeks, I can comment on it publicly. I may not have known about to-day's Emetrics event nearby until that girl from marketing IM'd me about it last night (Cheers, Natasha), but this product's update was one particular I'd seen coming and had been testing out.

Long story short, the new version is markedly impressive. Again, Google shakes things up on the low-end / lightweight tracking tools tier, giving our friends in Santa Cruz like Clicktracks and others a run for their moolah. Some highlights purely off the top of my head include:

  • It's got a faster, more intuitive and prettier interface.
  • It's much easier to get trended data now. With the initial version of the tool, when one had specific landing pages as conversion KPIs one had to call them out as a specific success event just to get that, even. Now it's no longer a requirement. Trended data on basic metrics like Views, Unique Views and others are now on-hand for any logged directory or URL by default.
  • Data can now be exported in more formats. One used to be able to basically only get at CSV as far as anything usable, but now one can actually export graphs. Now, whether the output CSV still come out occasionally "dirtied" i.e. with certain chars in logged URLs (ex. Top Content reports) getting interpreted as if they were tabs upon export, the tool may still have that problem... but I've not seen it in this new version yet (here's hoping that's fixed).
  • New drag-and-drop customizable dashboards (another nod to something Omniture did first).

To be honest, I had a feeling a new version of the tool was coming, even before I got the privilege of playing with it before to-day's release. I think as early as 3 months ago or more, I started seeing want ads for SEs / Reps around this product running on the WAA's jobs board.

The new release is rolling out gradually. In a masterful marketing move (though it's aexisting subscribers might feel subtly snubbed perhaps), it's going first to new subscribers (remember, being an Adwords advertiser is what gets one in), and then existing subscribers will get migrated over eventually. I half-expect the latter will go down similar to how when Adwords accounts, and then also Blogger accounts, eventually got subsumed into Google Accounts: For an interim period, users may get a "Not Yet" option re. making the switch, but that will eventually go away and all sheep will stay herded accordingly.

But I/clients don't want to run Google Analytics on any/all sites!

Oh, really? Well hm. Far be it for me to wonder what the reason might be 😉 ...but have no fear! Like Anne Rice's "Interview with a Vampire" to Kenneth Branagh's "Frankenstein," this isn't the only important new thing you can be giving a spin; there are other coincidentally cool releases to consider alongside the the reigning blockbuster of the moment: Another item I've been tinkering with of late has been the Beta of Reinvigorate, a similarly lightweight tool only with convenient hooks especially for bloggers and other social types, i.e. with plug-ins for WordPress and Drupal aside from a default tag type (for sites in general).

Another recent find, for me anyway, has been Compete, a cutesy-style complement (my first impression) to Quantcast in one's toolkit. Tools like these - which monitor sites across ISPs, advertiser and publisher networks, from the outside essentially - help with more than just competitive surveillance. They're also handy in trying to stay on top of the increasingly hot debate over cookie deletion rates... a subject I'll comment on more in a dedicated post.

Bottom line of this one: There's absolutely no reason now, why any webmaster, site owner, blogger or other online pimp/whore should now have problems with doing some intelligent auditing reads of just WTF is happening on their properties. Between tools like these, along with freebie open-source tie-ins that just about any decent host would provide (like AWstats and/or Webalizer), one should have no excuse. Nada. None. Maiyo.

If you aren't tightly monitoring your junk already (also, staffing tools with people who know how to use them in the event you're using high-end infrastructure), remember that every moment passed is intelligence lost. So get crackin' - get trackin'! Sandwich your site(s) between a few tools, get some data, and take a big byte. Time isn't just money. It's worth much, much more.

Knight Rider... I took it seriously, didn't we all?!?

Don't let your time run out...

(and stop Hasseling the Hoff; in all seriousness alcoholism is a devastating disease - as is meat addiction for that matter - so that girl's not keeping a lid on her clip was fucked up).

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Mama Mia!!!

Jason Calacanis is seemingly stirring up all of SEO yet again.

Here's why many of the straight-up White Hats among us in particular are so pissed off about this: It's hard enough being one of the "good" guys. It's especially testing for those of us with families to feed, who know deep down that though we'd take no pleasure in it and it would be nothing personal against anyone, if it comes down to it we can and will spam - aggressively if need be.

If I need $2000 right now to keep my house, I'll spam.

- Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz

High profile people calling all SEOs spammers tests the patience of those on the fence. Distorting reality here might only worsen what they're complaining about for them, i.e. it increases the chances that SEOs who aren't already spamming will start doing so either now or later. Many of us WHs note our Black Hat brethren poke fun at us, and the really committed and successful ones make more money than some of us... Like many people some of us lost a lot of money to the post-Bust funk, moreover within that group some are still losing. Such individuals are making every effort to keep both their noses and resumes clean nonetheless, as are the rest of us. So we don't need this kind of crap, nor do we deserve it.

Just to be clear on my position: I'm no WHW (White Hat Whiner) nor a defender thereof normally, but I do feel compelled to call out ignorant name-calling from whatever source when I see it. The core issue here is not the Black Hats. It doesn't take a rocket scientist - or a BH apologist - to recognize they are a natural part of the SEO food chain no matter how plagued some people might feel by them. So my respect goes out to those who suck it up and speak as much with their actions as their words, if not more. Webmasters can choose to work to defend their sites against BH as they can, or not.

One more thing on that note: It's almost like he's asking for someone to mess with him. If at some point calacanis.com ends up uber-spammed, vandalized, otherwise hacked, hijacked or overloaded...

Trivia: Bart is voiced by a woman... Power to voiceover!
I didn't do it.

Anyway, most of the SEOs capable of some of those things I expect will stick to their usual spamming, figuring they have better things to do. But one never knows. As I've indicated before there are a few distractible players out there with itchy trigger fingers. Some claim to have made themselves wads of ca$h filling engines and sites with stuff, and also that they enjoy it when something comes along to help liven up their days (hey, who doesn't?).

Don't mess with the family.

It's wise to avoid giving such peeps an excuse for a little target practice. There's a point where buzz goes too far, and there is such a thing as bad publicity. With few exceptions I find SEOs overall are smart, talented, basically good people who aren't really out to hurt anyone. True jerks are very, very rare and the scene has its ways of filtering them out anyway, which significantly limits whatever damage they can do. Within their chosen camps SEOs mostly stick to their own publicly, and take care of their own privately. Perhaps more us in the marketing blogosphere might do well to do the same.

Fortunately the Godfather of all us Search Marketers (on all sides) has spoken. When Danny Sullivan says you should apologize, you really should.

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Based out of Northern California, bl.asphemo.us is a bl.og dedicated to the advocacy and study of high-impact, data driven marketing disciplines and related concerns: Analytics and Data Mining, Marketing Automation, Integrated Advertising (targeting, retargeting), Demand Generation and Lead Nurturing, Social Media / Social Engineering (Crowd-hacking) and the new PR, Privacy, Security, CRM, SEO / SEM, CRO, ROI... more TLAs (three letter acronyms) than any sane person's daily lexicon should include.

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