It looks like MSN is aiming to join the ranks of Google in the "we'll give you free analytics in exchange for access to your data" team. Rumors started buzzing last week about a possible MSN analytics tool. The news was then confirmed by two of the project team members on their personal blogs. MediaPost Publications has the story today.
The software, code name "Gatineau" is expected to be released via a "controlled launch" later this year. Microsoft employees explain that they're hoping to avoid the problems faced by the Google Analytics team when demand for accounts completely overwhelmed the team's ability to deliver.
The product is slated for release later this year, but Microsoft intends to gradually add users to avoid the system instability that initially plagued Google Analytics, Thomas wrote. "We hope to release this product during 2007; however, we're extremely keen to avoid a repeat of Google's experience with Google Analytics, so we will be ramping up our user numbers gradually to make sure everyone has a good experience from a performance perspective," he wrote.
While I'm always glad to see an affordable (re: free) analytics option coming out for small business owners, I continue to be concerned that many will misuse them. What do I mean by that?
Well, everything DOES have a price. In the case of "free" analytics from Google or Microsoft, it's access to your data. Personally, I'd rather not have the company that charges me for advertising know what my exact ROI is. I'd also they rather not know my conversion rates. Call me crazy, but I just see that as information that's bound to be taken advantage of.
That's why I encourage companies to use these options ONLY until they can afford to use something that gives them a little more privacy. As we all know though, it can be hard to give up that free lunch. So with that little word of warning I guess we'll sit back and see what they have to offer.
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