Freemium or Premium? Are the no cost Web Analytics Packages dangerous?

I had a great time at E-Metrics yesterday, I finally met Clint Ivy, (older blog here), Rene and his lovely wife Aurelie, Craig Danuloff of Commerce 360, Bryan Eisenberg, Gary Angel of Semphonic, and a ton of other great folks.

I recently posted a video interview I had with Google Analytics’ evangelist Avinash Kaushik. He suggested that the first step for any analytics program was to use a free one. As we know, Google Analytics is free, so the correlation makes sense. Update: I just saw this after publishing this post, It’s pretty interesting how Google just announced a new version with improved UI and Andy B the Pilgram is already discussing that free is good enough for 90% of all companies. More discussion on Techmeme.

Yesterday at Eric Peterson (web analytics guru) keynote speech at E-Metrics, (run my Jim Sterne) he said that “you get what you pay for”, and somewhat challenged the idea of no resources (labor and maybe money) for analytics programs. Eric, if I misquoted you, please let me know in the comments.

In my comment section Marcos Richardson from WebtraffIQ left the following comment:

“Jeremiah

Regarding Avinash Kaushik free analytics, I wonder if his love of free analytics is at all spurred on by his position as a consultant for the Google Analytics team.

Free is dangerous in sooo many ways!

1.) There is no contract or service level agreement (SLA)
2.) You need to be a good technician to implant the code properly
3.) You will need several good technicians if you want integration and bespoke reporting/analysis
4.) You need to be a good technician to get the most out of the system
5.) Consultancy for optimisation is something you would have to outsource or buy in
6.) You may use HTTPS but this does not prevent Google from keeping your information

Therefore, free might be good for SME’s that are just dabbling in analytics BUT any company taking their internet presence seriously will use a dedicated service from the likes of Omniture, WebtraffIQ, Webside Story etc.

Regards

Marcos Richardson
Director
www.webtraffiq.com”

SCL has some analysis, a good compare and contrast. Do you feel strongly about this? Leave a thoughtful comment and reasoning in addition to Marcos, practical experience is always a bonus. Maybe you should come to PodTech studios in Palo Alto and we can talk about it on video!

Update: It looks like Avinash is not the only Google Analytics Evangelist out there, I got my buddy Matt Dunlap of Realivent to start using it (hopefully it’s not dangerous for him). Thanks for the wine decanter BTW Matt, it’s really really nice.