Summer 2011 Skips The Dog Day Doldrums

In my part of the country — as in many others — it was a very hot and stormy summer. And beyond the weather, I haven't seen the traditional late July and August slow period. Much of my summer has been spent working on the upcoming Web Analytics Wave report. While I've been focused on research, the analytics community apparently has had too much to do and has continued moving along at full speed.

  • Privacy concerns have everyone on guard. Privacy practices, along with new and proposed privacy regulations in the EU and US, have been a topic of conversation for several months. But the recent spat over the tracking practices of Kissmetrics (for background, see the original Wired article, Kissmetrics's response, and a follow-up article from Wired) have shown us how explosive privacy issues can be and how various interests can factor into the debate. While I won't weigh in on the technical and legal merits of the Kissmetrics situation, I am increasingly concerned that the privacy debate is not making progress toward an appropriate resolution. The industry, consumers, media, and regulators need to have a much more granular conversation about intent and context as it relates to the collection, storage, and usage of data. Efforts to understand and define privacy have too often focused on controlling technology, which misses many of the nuances of the larger discussion. And this is important; failure to have the discussion at the right level and draw accurate distinctions in use cases will result in rules that regulate the wrong things and legal wrangling that wastes precious resources. Consumers deserve to have their preferences and rights preserved, and companies need clear direction on how to proceed so they can run their businesses with confidence.
  • Money continues to pour into online testing. The funding trend for online testing continues. There were multiple funding events last year, and again this month Monetate announced s $15m Series B round of funding from OpenView Venture Partners. This marks more than $20m in funding for Monetate, a substantial sum for this market. Congratulations are in order for the team at Monetate; it's great to see value propositions based on providing analytics access to marketers and leveraging sound optimization techniques to maximize the value of marketing and merchandising resonating with investors and users alike.
  • Enterprise web analytics vendors continue moving forward. 2011 has been another interesting year for web analytics. We've seen major new product versions from Adobe, Webtrends, and Google. IBM is integrating the Coremetrics and Unica solutions into a consolidated portfolio. And Webtrends just announced the acquisition of Reinvigorate to bolster real time analytics. These are all interesting developments, not as a destination but as a launching-off point to provide marketers with the functionality and data visibility they need to succeed in today's complex and rapidly evolving environment.
  • Google+ explodes onto the social media scene. It's too early to tell how Google+ will fare in the long term with the general public, but so far it has been Google's most successful attempt at social media. Forrester has several analysts who have covered the impact of Google+ and how to start using it, but it's interesting to see how it is developing as a tool for the analytics community. We are just beginning to see how Google+ provides a complementary service to the very active Twitter #measure community. In the last couple of weeks, we have seen longform discussions and live "hangouts" on Google+ that never would have been possible within the confines of Twitter. It's been a welcome change to spread out and explore topics in more depth with a better sense of personal connection. It's positive for our community, and it showcases the promise of Google+.

Autumn is just around the corner; here is my event schedule through November — I hope to see you around!

  • Semphonic Xchange Conference - September 12-15 - San Diego, CA - I'll be leading a couple of huddles and attending as well. 
  • IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit - September 19-21 - San Diego, CA - I will be attending this inaugural summit.
  • Teradata Partners - October 2-6 - San Diego, CA - I'll be presenting on web intelligence and attending the event.
  • eMetrics - October 17-21 - New York, NY - I will be participating in a panel discussion on mobile site strategy, deployment, and optimization.
  • GX Connect 2011 - October 27 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - I'm the keynote speaker.
  • BigBang Customer Event - November 11 - Milan, Italy - I'll be presenting and attending the event.
  • Forrester Marketing & Strategy Forum EMEA - November 16-17 - London, UK - I will be presenting within the Customer Intelligence track.