Popular free Web analytics service is opened to all

By Heather Havenstein, Computerworld |  Internet, hosted services, Nuconomy

Start-up Nuconomy Tuesday launched a free hosted service that it hopes can expand Web analytics beyond the traditional page view model by automating the slicing and dicing of data and by measuring new types of user activity like blog comments and videos.

The Studio Web analytics tool has been tracking some 80 million unique users for customers selected to join the private beta program that began in February, noted Shahar Nechmand, CEO of the San Francisco-based firm.

Nuconomy released the Studio Web service at the same time Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc. have started targeting the Web analytics as a service market. For example, Google just last week rolled out a slew of new features for its Google analytics service, including custom report generation, advanced segmentation and integration with Google AdSense.

For its part, Yahoo earlier this month began rolling a beta version of a new Web analytics service, which the company said will provide up-to-date reports and graphs showing metrics like sales, page views and sources of traffic to Web site operators.

Since the beta version of the Studio Web service was launched last winter, Nuconomy has added a data mining engine that provides what the company calls proactive analytics. The engine continually monitors all aspects of Web site traffic and user behavior, and automatically highlights the most telling results to help users improve business operations, Nechmand said.

"Our vision from Day One was that data should not be used just for reports," he added. "Data should be the heart that pumps and moves everything in the Web site. You don't need to look at everything. [The data mining engine] tells you what are the most important things that happen to your business."

The automated data mining techniques can help companies more quickly uncover trends that could be affecting their businesses, Nuconomy said. For example, Studio Web could discover a change in commenting trends on a site, the company said.

By automating data analysis, companies can avoid having to do the tedious "slicing and dicing" of data that's long been done to uncover new trends on the Web, Nechmand added.

In addition to traditional metrics like page views, Studio Web also measures social Web activities by looking at a site's use of Flash, and the user comments, ratings, video plays, AJAX, Silverlight and shared links. Studio Web also tracks site activity and user engagement at the user level so companies can build profiles or interest maps for each user -- like who is posting comments or sharing recommendations with friends.

Nuconomy Studio Web also includes a two-way API that lets site operators to change sites based on current metric and insights, including the ability to show ads or push specific content to a user based on his interests.

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