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April 16, 2008

Wow, that was quick: IndexTools is free already

free_sign_med Less than a week after announcing that Yahoo! is to buy his company, Dennis Mortensen has announced that Yahoo! will be making IndexTools free to all customers, so long as they sign a new Yahoo! agreement. Those guys aren't hanging around!

The chatter here at Microsoft is about about what's likely to be that agreement. As I've said before, you can only afford to provide web analytics for free if you have other ways of monetizing the service. Yahoo! will certainly be expecting IndexTools customers to spend more on advertising with Yahoo!, or (if publishers) make more of their inventory available for Yahoo! to sell through its network, but wouldn't need a new agreement in place to try to achieve those objectives (unless IndexTools' existing license agreements are very restrictive about permission to contact to market other services, which seems unlikely).

So the most likely changed content in the new agreement is a clause to allow Yahoo! to reuse the web analytics data, most likely to bolster the behavioral targeting data that Yahoo! already has a very good collection of. In his post, Dennis says:

"I think this is a fair tradeoff for an Enterprise class Web Analytics system?"

I agree that it is, but it remains to be seen whether IndexTools customers (some of whom may have specifically chosen IndexTools over GA because they wanted their data to remain 'independent') agree. What's most likely is that some customers will bail out, whilst IndexTools/Yahoo! will capture new customers at the free price point, who are less sensitive to the data issue.

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