As I expected, Google has taken its Urchin acquisition and launched free website traffic analytics. While there have long been free traffic stats packages, most of them were clunky, too hard to install, and were not integrated with marketing/ad campaigns via Adwords. All of that changes now with news this morning that Google has taken the excellent Urchin service and made it free.
Who is this bad for? Other would-be advertising networks, like Microsoft and Yahoo, that don’t offer their own advanced analytics. It is also bad for other vendors of analytics products (e.g., WebSideStory, Coremetrics, Webtrends, etc.), despite the almost inevitable nattering from them about how this “legitimates” their market.
So, is there anything bad about the new service from Google? Yes: While launched, it’s already not available. While the site says it’s down for maintenance, I’m guessing that over-enthusiastic traffic has blown it out and the company is frantically trying to pull together more servers to handle the crush at the door. That’s not going to give would-be users warm and fuzzy feelings about the service’s resilience.