Sorry, We Are Not In Right Now

Hi,

Thanks for checking out our blog, we really appreciate it.

However, our blog has moved to http://travel2dot0.wordpress.com/

Sorry that you have to visit another site to find us, but it is worth it...we have all of our 'classic' posts and comments on the new blog, plus a ton of new thoughts and ideas.

Why are we moving? Basically, Blogger failed us and never responded to our emails and requests. A clear example of poor customer service...too bad, we liked Blogger.

Come over and see us on the new blog.

Regards,
Troy and Mo

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Easy and FREE Ways to Track Your Online Presence...Plus, See What California is Up To


Like a lot of you, the Arizona Office of Tourism uses quite a few web statistics / analytics tools to track web presence. Some are free, such as Google Analytics, and others are fee-based, such as WebTrends or Omniture. But aside from those major players, there are a few other free tools available to track not only your online presence, but the presence of your competitors.

Oh, and did I mention they are free?

(Note: Like most things free, there is usually a fee model with some of these services. The fee model just includes more features, if you want them)

Let's review:

Alexa: The most well-known of the 'open (free) internet ratings services,' Alexa was created in 1996 and then purchased by Amazon.com in 1999. Basically, the service gathers data from users who have the Alexa toolbar installed in there browser and then generates reports based on that data. While there has been a lot of debate about the accuracy of the Alexa user base as a reliable representation of internet users, the service does offer some in-depth statistics and comparative tools.
http://www.alexa.com/

Compete.com: A relatively new internet rating service, compete.com gathers information from 'a diverse sample of 2,000,000+ U.S. internet users' who have allowed compete.com to 'analyze the web pages they visit and ask them questions via surveys.' The site allows you to compare two websites against each other for a competitive view of visitors, 'engagement' and growth. See the Troy (blue) vs. Mo (red) graph pictured above.
http://www.compete.com/

Quantcast: Another new service, this one directed at advertisers, quantcast offers the opportunity to view audience reports for perspective sites. While it does offer similar statistical data, quantcast also attempts to put a demographic overview on the data.

For instance, arizonaguide.com reaches:
a very slightly female biased, primarily older group.The typical visitor stays at Choice Hotels, uses Frommers, and reads gardenweb.com.

Or, visitcalifornia.com reaches:
a very slightly female biased group.The typical visitor rents cars from Budget, uses Yahoo! Travel, and sails on Norwegian Cruises.

Probably not 100% accurate, but interesting none the less.
http://www.quantcast.com/

Popuri.us: And to sum it all up, you can use popuri.us. This 'check at-a-glance' tool allows you to view data about your site such as Google PageRank, Alexa, Compete, Quantcast, Google BackLinks, Technorati Links, del.icio.us Bookmarks, amongst others. A good tool for a quick look at your web presence.
http://popuri.us/

Again, most of these services are not reporting 100% accurate information. Assumptions are made, audiences are not exact. But, if you are looking for some additional statistics or analytics about your site, I would suggest you give one of these products a try.

After all, they are free!

3 comments:

Mo said...

Excellent post Troy!

We've been intrigued by Quantcast for the past few months.

Quantcast is an up and coming entrant into the increasingly crowded online measurement firms out there (note - they just received $20 mill. in v-capital!).

As Troy said, the competitive set includes Hitwise, ComScore and Nielsen.

Quantcast measures sites in two ways - a panel of million or so folks plus relationships with ISPs and other networks (so they're checking our millions and millions of traffic patterns).

Contrast this with HitWise who analyzes traffic solely based on relationship with ISPs and ComScore and Nielson, both of whom do analytics solely through panels.

While all are good techniques, ultimately there is a gigantic discrepancy with what the panels report and what publishers report.

Just on the Travel Oregon site for example, Quantcast has us pegged for 34,975 monthly uniques; using HBX and Google Analytics we on the other hand, conservatively estimate 112k uniques per month!

The above issue combined with the real problem of each tracking software measuring numbers a different way makes for a very consistent source of heartache for many sites out there. But just remember...the public Internet is just a bit over 10 years old...I am confident that as the industry matures, there will be some consistency and accuracy to the current "wild west" status of things.

Dave N. said...

Great topic and post. Thanks Mo for the additional insight

Quantcast is a new one for me - another site to look at - just what I needed.

Seriously though, let me throw another site into the mix that I learned about at TravelComm -www.xinureturns.com. Kind of a onestop shop for PageRank, Rankings, Social Bookmarks, Backlinks and more. It is a little buggy but worth a look.

Dave

Anonymous said...

Hi! I have seen many such websites that provide competitive analysis for free. My personal favourite is www.estimix.com . It seems to generate very accurate traffic information, too.