Google launched the Urchin Beta Version.

Finally Google launched the beta version of Urchin. To those not familiarized with it, , Urchin is the Logfile Analyzer platform used by Google to build Google Analytics. Log file analyzer is the type of Web Analytics platform that you install in your server without any tag in your site pages.

The logfile analyzers advantages are:

1- No direct variable cost (you don’t pay per pageview).

2- The information is always on your servers, no matter which tool you use.

3- We can change the Web Analytics Tool as many times as we want it and the information will be always available.

4- You can analyze historical information. Example: You have an small business on the internet, it starts growing and you need information to make decisions, if you install a Page Tagging platform you must wait to start tracking information, and your historical information is lost. With Log file analyzer you can install it two years later and analyze all your historical information (I mean is technically possible but probably your servers will blow out ;-) ).

4- Sites with firewalls and other restrictions can use it since it Works on the server side.

The disadvantages are:

1- Delimited tracking ability.

2- It requires a technical support team available (this problem is solved if your company already counts with an IT department, but you must consider the work overload) for potential contingencies.

3- Server overload.

4- Difficult to use when your site is not hosted in-house.

5- The information is not real time. Normally the logfile analyzers are setup to process logs once a day (when you site has less traffic) since that activity reduces the server performance.

Now, let’s come back to Urchin. It is a Beta version, so just install it for testing proposes (as Google is communicating “This beta software should only be used for evaluation purposes, and is not recommended for production environments”) and not for production environments.

Regarding the front end, it looks between the former version Urchin (menus and information layout) and the previous version of Google Analytics..

Urchin Beta screenshot

The oficial communicated advantages are:

1-    More accurate geo-identification of visitors (I can believe they say that).
2-    Cross-segmentation options similar to Google Analytics.
3-    E-commerce and campaign tracking included (no longer requiring additional modules).
4-    Vastly improved embedded scheduler to more easily manage processing and re-processing jobs.
5-    Improved user interface.
6-    More robust log processing engine.

I had for several clients installed Urchin and Google Analytics in parallel, and I think is important to point out that even when they share platforms are not the same thing. Actually are very different tools and process the information in a different way, so the reported information will not be homogenous.

The product will has a one shot cost of U$S2995 (since you buy the software license) and will be distributed by the Uchin Authorized Agents.

Since I was an Urchin user for a long time, and reading all this information I must say I have several doubts about it. In first place I had no time to test it yet, but the Urchin Platform was imprecise and not so powerful so in my opinion if what they are offering is similar to the previous version, a cost f U$S2995 looks pretty high, even more if we take into account that it is not even as powerful as Goggle Analytics (that is free). I repeat, I have not test this new version yet, I’m just talking about the former version.

As we all know there is no other way to have an idea if it worth or not U$S2995. So what are you waiting for? Let’s test it and send me your opinion.

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