There is no free lunch – not even from Google

Posted on in Blog

Just like your mother told you, if it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t true. Google offered free analytics today, setting off some buzz. And as with many non-events from Google, I’m only discussing it as a service to my colleagues—adding to the buzz, nonetheless. (sigh)

Is this anything? So now you’ve got free Urchin services gussied up in Google logos. Keep in mind it is not magic. You still need to install it; make sure it’s tracking properly and interpret the data. Google is not going to send you emails that say, “you need to offer free shipping,” “your target audience isn’t using the word ‘drawer pulls’ anymore” or “your landing pages will sell better with reindeer images.”

And just how free is access to your customer behavior? Are you comfortable that an advertising publisher can see what’s working for you and what isn’t? Aggregate data might help it hone product lines, encouraging better products for its clients. And, would it follow that high performing products would be higher priced, eventually—wouldn’t it? (Being good business people and all.) And do you really want Google to see what’s happening with your campaigns on Yahoo and MSN? (I can hear your gasps of horror from here!)

In short, Google has dressed a wolf up in sheep’s clothing and now it’s going to eat your lunch—for free!

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