Sunday, October 17, 2010

Google Analytics - Alternatives to the problems

Google Analytics was once an indispensable tool for me.  It was free, easy to set up and provided enterprise style analytics.

But after a while the headaches and frustrations of managing multiple sites with this tool becomes evident.

Here are some of Google Analytics flaws:

1. Google Support - does this actually exist ?  Trawling support forums usually leads to the same outcome, bugs and frustrated users waiting years for fixes ... I have very rarely been able to contact a real person from Google.  This is probably the biggest problem, not just with Analytics, but Adwords, Adsense and a whole range of other mission critical Google products for websites.

2. Deleting profiles and accounts without admin access - power users of Analytics will know what I'm talking about here.  You've been managing a clients stats in the past as a report user and then the incompetent customer loses their admin details.  You are stuck forever with this dud account.  There is absolutely no way to delete the profile/ account from your Analytics and it just sits there festering away for years annoying you and Google does not seem to feel it is an issue and can't or wont help.

3. Moving profiles from one account to another is not possible - We've all been through it.  Google Analytics accounts and profiles can be can be confusing at the best of times.  You're never sure the best way to manage it.  But what's worse is that if you make a mistake, you're stuck with it.  There is no way to move a profile from one Google Analytics account to another.  This is a truly terrible situation and a source of frustration for many.  Again, Google seems unwilling to find a solution due to design issues and the problem of Analytics IDs.

4. Exporting and importing data profiles is not possible - This would probably make #3 a little easier and solve a number of other issues, such as archiving and restoring a website statistics profile after a hiatus.  But again it is not possible to export and import data from one profile to another and Google does not seem to have any current plans to support this.

There are obviously more issues but these are my top gripes as from my own perspective they are pretty serious flaws and it is disappointing to many including myself that Google does not address them.

So I've been looking at alternatives to Google Analytics and found a few helpful blogs along the way.  Some look promising, although some are free and it is a question of whether you put up with the above to persist with an otherwise good free product.

Anyway, here are some blogs reviewing some free alternatives to Google Analytics:

Anyway I'll let you know what I find once I've tried a few.

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