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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Did Google Kill the Log-File-Based, Premium Variant of Urchin?

Ken Fisher at Ars Technica tells how when Google acquired Urchin and turned the “Urchin on Demand” software into Google Analytics, they basically put the paid part of the stats tool that was based on log files to a halt:

In the wake of Google’s purchase of the company, inquiring customers (including Ars Technica) were told that support and updates would continue. Companies that had purchased support contracts were expecting version 6 any day, including Ars. What really happened is this: Google focused its attention on Google Analytics, put all updates to Urchin’s other products on the back burner, and rolled out a skeleton support team. Everyone who forked over for upgrades via a support contract never got them, even though things weren’t supposed to have changed.

The support experience has been awful. Since the acquisition, we have had two major issues with Urchin, and neither issue was solved by Google’s support team. In fact, with one issue, we were helped up until the point it got difficult, and then the help vanished. The support team literally just stopped responding.

One other difference between the two software types as I understand it is that “Urchin on Demand” approach allows Google to collect data from websites (because the Urchin tracker “phones home”), whereas the premium, log-file-based Urchin keeps the data private within the company. But Google in general is more of a web apps for the masses kind of company, so their switch of focus after acquiring Urchin comes as no huge surprise. And Google Analytics itself in the mean-time prospers; not too long ago it received an immense overhaul for the better, and bug-fixes are also rolled out for certain issues. What might be more unnerving to users is that sometimes when Google discontinues products – if that’s what happened here, time will tell – they don’t clearly communicate their reasons & planned schedules.



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