I’ve done quite a bit of research into web analytics lately, and I have found a couple of things. Google analytics Is a great tool, but it cannot be the only tool an organization relies on. Because it is a purely JavaScript based, it is unable to catch browsers that do not have JavaScript enabled, this includes the search engine robots, some hand held devices, as well as a percent of users that manually turn this off. That being said we need a tool to parse the log files from the server and to give us information about these users, as well as providing us with “on demand” stats where as Google’s stats are next day. The server logs also contain a wealth of other information that we are collecting automatically, so we might as well take advantage of it.

I have come to the conclusion that we need to use Google Analytics but we also need a tool that reads the server logs. There are quite a variety of tools that would fill this need. Google recently purchased Urchin who’s web analysis product runs Google analytics, costs about $3k and will work with the Google Mini, Urchin also gives the ability to read logs from server software other than IIS (like apache, the software used for open source applications) . Urchin will be releasing another version shortly, and this will be the first release since the Google buyout. Another option is WebTrends Analytics it costs about $4k. It Like Urchin will read both IIS and Apache logs, and has a web interface for users. The last product is NetTracker, it runs about $4k for the software, and another grand for support. it was recently bought out by Unica. The administration of netTracker is not the smoothest, and the support seems to have declined on quality since the buy out.