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(Disclosure) The company I work for is a reseller (of WebTrends and other things) but we don't make a cent of profit on selling licenses.
Most of what I do is fixing or enhancing the analytics of disgruntled or dissatisfied analytics customers who are using a variety of products. I like many of the products. Some are very easy to use but difficult to set up. Some are easy to set up and use but simple. And so forth. I think WebTrends software gives the best value for money by far, if you really want good and accurate reporting that incorporates your site's quirks and your own analytics needs, or if you want something that you can grow into (move from logs to tags, add more reporting features as you get more sophisticated, etc). I am constantly holding my tongue when somebody wants this or that report, fix, adaptation with another product that would be easy to do with WebTrends. I don't want to make them unhappy with what they are using, but it really is a shame how limited even the really expensive and hyped brands are. However the power of WebTrends often requires learning the product, which in my experience takes two days of one-on-one hands-on training, or quite a long period of mucking around, unless the out of the box reports are enough for you.
If you don't need to adapt the product to your situation, it does have 95 out-of-the-box reports for the bottom-end version, and about 210 for the top versions, so there's a fair amount you can do with a basic installation that can be done very quickly.
Another drawback of WebTrends is that it is is based on a proprietary internal database, so you have to learn the administration of WebTrends as a sort of database environment in itself. And there are some things you just can't get the reports to do, no matter how much you know. But WebTrends as a company and as a product is quite far along in moving to a database model; each successive release moves more of it to that architecture. Its proprietary database is being phased out.
Remember, this is my opinion and experience. There are a lot of people who dislike the product for various reasons (often, they used it long ago and think it hasn't improved since then, or they expect it to be really simple to use, or they used it incorrectly, got bad data, and haven't forgiven). I have to say I've had chances to move to better-paying jobs with companies that only use one of the competitors, and I've chosen to keep working with the tool that is most rewarding to me.
I found problems with really basic stuff, it was just too convoluted.. I think for most people, you want to know about how the site is being used, monitor click-throughs and see basic trends ..
No doubt it is a decent package, but in simple terms it is not user friendly..
Just came to the conclusion that my stats won't process anymore (even though i am at 101% of the 120%)
For me, Webtrends have been difficult as i sometimes want to do something specific and really need to dive into the not so helpful Help sometimes or just browse through Google and hope for user experiences/solutions.
Webtrends is great for the standard stuff, but that would be like using only 10% of what the package has to offer.
I can honestly say that i dont fully utilize all the functions/features of the package but that is because of pure lack of time to learn what is possible.
But like i said, it would've been better with a better helpfile or support.
cgrantski, any way of processing profiles even though it has reached the pageview limit? :D
Vendors, especially the ones of more powerful products, often choose to not publish their price model online. As a reseller of WebTrends and others, I can tell you there really aren't big secret extra charges with most of the analytics vendors. Some of them hit you with required consulting charges that seem to never end, but WebTrends is not one of them.
It really does help to know what features and quantity you will be needing. If you want something that's a flat price with no variation in features, try LiveStats. If you want to supply a vendor with your exact needs, download a trial version (even of a different product) and do the research.
However they have now released a new version with a 'pay per pageview' system (one of their old selling lines was a one off cost, which caught my attention) and I'm not sure if they are offering the old software, if they are though I'd recommend. Weve got the software now 'to keep' with a one off cost, though as with other systems, it takes a little learning and work to setup profiles and generate data, however the flexibility of the data is very good.
I was about to bring in an external contractor to do maintenance and configuration of special reports, but they charge an arm and a leg.
Let me know how it compares to others.
I looked at web trends and other examples before I chose 123.
Based on cost there was no question which to use at a state agency.
No open source solution at sight?
I mean: Logfiles aren't rocket science, are they? I have begun to open and gunzip one recently under php for testing-purposes. What would you think: Is it worth the effort to store the basic information in a database, so that further investigation becomes a bit easier? If you skip all the jpeg requests and create a joined table with unique ids for you urls the storage volume wouldn't be that large, would it?
My problem actually is: I don't really know, what exactly I am looking for. I just have the basic feeling, that I should do some research on where (and why) my visitors exit, and what they do after having entered. My former hosting-company supplied me with webtrends, and there was this interesting section: "ways through the website", however quite limited and thus unsatisfying.
I think the basic question is: what prevents my visitor from clicking the buy button? I doubt any logfile-analyzer will answer it directly, so what is the next-best statistic representation or information you use?
Here comes the long answer:
Logfiles APPEAR to be straightforward. And actually with your approach you get fairly far. But where you get there ARE already quite a lot freeware/sharewaore/open-source packages. What sets high-end solutions like Webtrends apart from them is that those companies have seen BEYOND the logfiles.
Take a road. You can sit there and count the cars and trucks that use that road. This gives you a pretty good idea how the road is used, when it will need repair, how much exhaust gases you get, and what the average color of a car is. Thats logfile analysis as you see it.
It does NOT show you whether couples in cars are having an argument, or are dreaming of the house they will buy. It will not show you if the trucks carry meat, or books, or carpets. It will not show you why some cars DON'T use the road. And it will not show you if the stopped at the Burger King or if they need to refuel soon. But this is the information you need if you want to create a roadside business.
Well, I'm always willing to accept advices and profit from the experiences of sucessful players in the market. Maybe the webtrends-version I enjoyed two years ago was only a limited one, and I didn't have any insights into the truely good stuff yet.
But none of these programs has any other source of information than the logfiles, has it? All they have is the experience of knowing what has proven to be important, right?
I'm not looking for freeware just to save money.
It's just the fact that I often made the experience, that (expensive) software offers you so many functions you'll never use (some reported here that it takes quite some time to understand what webtrends really offers), while on the other hand there is always these 10 or 20 % it does not supply, although you desperately need it. And as soon as self-made CGIs come into play, like on my site, I'd suspect it's rather more 20% than 10, if not more. To stay in your analogy: Maybe it shows me if the drivers recently stopped at burger king, but what if I am the only one who HAS TO know whether the wheat used for the burgers has been treated with pesticids?
cgrantski mentions webtrends would use a proprietary database. That's what I was thinking of: A tool which swallows the logs and stores it in a mysql-database for further investigation in a meaningful manner. That would be an interesting basis for single open-source php-scripts to analyse the data. Could be quite helpful, maybe in addition to standard tools like webtrends, don't you think? And why invent the wheel for a second time.
All they have is the experience of knowing what has proven to be important, right?
Have a look at Clicktracks or even VisitorVille for unusual ideas which still only rely on logfiles. licktracks is also significantly cheaper than Webtrends.
I work for a state agency, and we have LiveStats which us useless because it doesn't work with the pages generated by a content management system we are forced to use.
This is an interesting discussion because we too were surprised by the pricing structure.
Can anyone tell me what happens when you run out of page views? Fact is, we do not have the money in our budget to buy enough page views yet (yes, it is sad!). We really need the product, but have to plan to underpurchase on page views, and wait for more money next fiscal year to add more when we run out. Does anyone have experience with this? WebTrends knows our annual page view number now because they asked us to use the trial to supply it in order to get the quote, so I'm not sure if they even allow underpurchasing.
I'm also hoping in the meantime to lower the page views in the next 6 months since WebTrends trial just helped me discover that our traffic is almost 50% spiders, and one spider in particular is 97% of that. It is scary to think that the cost of WebTrends goes up so much because of spiders. I hope to cut down on that.
I would appreciate any feedback on this pageview issue, and any advice or warnings regarding our decision to purchase this product and the "mandatory" maintenance plan.
Even though the analysis stops, you can still collect and save your data for when you buy more page views. You won't actually lose data. I don't know how you are collecting your raw data, but server logs are independent of WebTrends, and the WebTrends SDC has no limit.
Anyway .... saving WebTrends license money. Here are some possibilities:
Use SDC and not server logs. Hardly any spider traffic gets into SDC logs (for various reasons).
Get somebody to write a preprocessing script that pares down the logs to only lines you want to analyze (i.e. that you want to count against your quota). You can have the script pull out spiders by IP or User Agent field, and your own in-house traffic, and zillions of other things. You can also get rid of pages that you really don't care about analyzing.
Log only important pages. If you strategize about what you really don't need to know about, you might be astonished at how far you can make your quota stretch, especially if you have a mammoth site, which it sounds like you do. If you use SDC, put tags only on the pages you want to know about. If you use server logs, turn off logging for directories that are less important (assuming your directory structure is appropriate for this).
Merge your page views with somebody else and share a bigger license.
Negotiate hard with WebTrends.
Comment about the pricing structure --- put yourself in the place of the analytics vendors trying to survive in this market. They have limited choices and pricing by volume is the only way I can think of that will keep them in business by getting big revenue from big companies AND still have a full-featured product they can provide to small customers.
Sounds like a market opportunity for someone to enter the field with a competitive analytics tool that's only constrained to the user's disk space, cpu speed, etc.
I was mostly trying to make a case for why we don't see "one nice low fee for everybody" any more. At least, not for stuff that is an improvement over simple tabulations.
Hmm, interesting thoughts. But wouldn't disk space be strongly related to "page views" if I'm understanding what you're saying? CPU speed also, to a lesser extent. We might be talking about variations of the same pricing model.
I was thinking of analytics software that's not required to run on the same machine the pages are actually generated on. In which case, all one needs to do is get the data to wherever the analytics software runs. The only constraints that apply are how fast the analytics software can process the data, etc. There's no need for a pricing structure based on page views because the software uses as much resources as it needs (up to how much is available on the machines it runs on) to process the data.