Google Analytics - is it worth its price?
Yesterday, Google released a new service with the name Google
Analytics. Google Analytics is basically a rebranded
version of Urchin, a web analytics service that Google
purchased in March.
What is Google Analytics?
Like other web analytics services, Google Analytics is a
service that tells you where visitors to your site are coming
from, what links on the site are getting the most traffic,
what pages visitors are viewing, how long people stay on
the site, which products on merchant sites are being sold
and where people give up in multistep checkout processes.
The main difference between Google Analytics and other web
analytics services is that Google Analytics is free. In exchange
for sharing your data with the company, Google doesn't require
you to pay directly for their analytics service.
Should you use Google Analytics or should you stay
away from it?
Why is Google Analytics free? Does Google have to give money
away? Of course not. Google will find ways to monetize this
service. There is no such thing as free lunch. Everything,
even what is seemingly free, must be paid for by somebody
in some way.
Google already knows a
lot of things about you. If you also use their new tracking
service, you will tell Google how much you earn, when you
earn it, which products you sell, how often you sell them,
how much you spend for ads on other sites and you will reveal
much more information about your online business.
Ask yourself if you want Google to know that much about
you and your company. Do you really want to share your revenue
information with a company that also wants your advertising
dollars? Do you want to share your revenue information with
any other company at all?
Google officials have declined that they will use the data
to better understand how much you are willing to pay for
ads, based on conversions. They also claim that they do
not plan to tap into the data as a means of improving regular
search results or to identify bad sites. Nevertheless, these
things are easily possible if you use Google Analytics.
Google engineer Matt Cutts even writes in his blog: "Blackhat
SEOs may be leery of using Google for analytics, but regular
site owners should be reassured." That sounds as if
Google might actually use the information for other purposes.
Think twice before using anything that is "free"
While Google's new analytics tool looks great at first glance,
you should think twice before using it. The market power
of Google can make your business highly dependent on Google
if you decide to use all of Google's services. The more Google knows about
you, the better they can get your money.
If a company in the real world asked you to tell them everything
about your interests, the shops you visit, the magazines
you read, your full address, your revenue and a lot of other
very detailed and confidential information about you and
your company then you probably wouldn't give that information
to the company.
When it comes to Google, many people happily reveal information
they wouldn't even tell their friends. Be careful.