Should Google Offer Free Urchin Web Site Stats?

    September 1, 2005

A couple days ago I was thinking about the data you can gather from web site stats programs. One thought led to another and before I knew it I was thinking about Google and Urchin web stats.

Urchin is a site stats software vendor that was acquired about a year or so ago by Google. When the acquisition was made it surprised a few industry analysts but I’m happy to say I wasn’t one of them, toot toot [that was the sound of my own horn you just heard]. The move seemed logical to me, Urchin has a good reputation in the website statistics software industry and wasn’t too large or too small, the size was just right. So Google didn’t have to cough up a ton of cash to get them and integrating Urchin into Google appeared to be a fairly painfree process.

The reason I wasn’t surprised by Google’s acquisition was because there is so much data a site analytics company gathers beyond just what keywords people are finding a site for in the search engines. There’s clicksream analysis, session analysis, data from other search engine spiders, and the list goes on… but the common thread in that list is data… data data data. Google loves data and that’s how they plan to dominate, with data!

But what of this, I mean who cares, what does this mean to me? So what if Google acquired a stats company and they have a ton of data now, I don’t care! Well, I’m thinking that at some point in the near future Google may offer a free version of Urchin.

What Makes You Say That?

Google already has enough web stats data to give WebTrends a run for their money and then some but there’s a lot they don’t have. The addition of blogger to their lineup a couple years back has been a key move for them and Google has access to all the site stats for every site hosted on but not for blogger sites people host themselves, like mshift. If Google were to offer a light version of Urchin that simply required a piece of javascript to be placed on a page in the header or footer they’d get more than enough data to pay for the hosting space required to offer such a service. Urchin’s current service offerings start at $199 per month but a light version should be free, kind of like Google did for pretty much every other company they’ve acquired during the past 5 years.

What do you guys think? Do you think Google will offer a free version of Urchin, do you think AdSense eliminates the need for them to do that since they can double dip with AdSense? Do you think Barry’s post about Urchin dominating every AdWords competitor for web stats? I’d love to get your feedback on this one.

Jason Dowdell is a technology entrepreneur and operates the Marketing Shift blog.