A Web Analytics Code of Ethics

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EthicsAs I’ve been talking to more and more web analytics vendors over the course of the past few months, I’m starting to feel very unconfortable about the discrepency in timing and objectives between my little Web Analytics business unit and …. them.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about company culture lately and I can’t help myself but come to the conclusion that we are very different. This difference in company culture stems from the differences in short term objectives. Add to that that we are European company and you might end up with some friction.

My reassurance lies in 2 things:

  1. Even though (short term) objectives are not identical, long term ones are;
  2. the market is big enough for all parties involved.

As Avinash stated on his post about Indianapolis’ redemption, this is not a zero sum game.

One vendor has understood that their business is to build tools. They leave the usage of the tool and it’s potential upgrades to it’s partners and clients. In the form of a collaborative network.

As Julien is working on the new WebAnalytics.be website, I was thinking about adding a code of ethics to our site.

Apparently, vendors don’t like one another. Battle is fierce and we witness it every day.
It’s actually rather funny when you think about it as many former NetGenesis people are either now working for WebTrends or Omniture. Then you’ve got the lucky ones who’ve moved to Visual Sciences ;-) There’s even some form of admiration and respect for competitors at a certain level :-)

As much as I dislike vendors sometimes, I must admit that without them, I would not be in this business. Talking to Jan from Instadia was inspiring, Eric B. is also always a treat and there are many more examples.
It’s really funny how short term sales objectives can actually shed a lot of shade on an industry that would move forward a lot faster if there was some kind of life time value figure for results…

Our track record as an Interactive Agency in terms of Web Analytics shows high retention rate. We score big on Life Time Value apparently. Our team assures vendors the first line of support for technical and business issues and satisfaction rates are good. They could be better and we are working on it: ticketing system, internal testing of new releases before client deployments, surveys following workshops, …

My team is good because we are motivated and curious. We grow organically according to needs and sector evolution.
We are also honest and fair or at least strive to be.

If I meet a client that tells me they want to switch between WebSideStory and Omniture, I will first of all ask him why. As the effort spent in tagging her applications with WSS tags might be lost for ever by doing the job all over again with another, comparable, product. During my stay in Washington last fall, I was amazed by the fact that the first day, 3 people told me that they were switching solutions. And seemed convinced of their choice!
Similarly, if a client tries to impose upon my company – OX2 – a set-up that is not supported by the vendor, I will not take the risk. This has nothing to do with doing a bad job. Leo, feel free to disagree.

Related to our vendor independant positioning, we have set-up a code of ethics:

  1. Don’t do product demos (or provide product information) to competitors as vendors should do their own home work;
  2. Respect leads: any lead coming from vendors will be solemnly respected;
  3. Respect the client: don’t support them to change solutions if it’s not in their best interest, short and long term.

Now, the later might be difficult as markets evolve and to be honest, I never expected WebSideStory’s Visual Sciences move. I’m also very curious about Microsoft, to be honest (& I’m sure I’m not the only one).

I’ll stick to that because the market is big enough for all parties evolved and because we have an opportunity to make a difference, together by collaborating. A zero sum game turns into win-win situations when you put your mind to it. For that, you need brains.

Such a code might seem strange but I feel today it makes sense. Let me know of your thoughts,

Aurélie.

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3 Responses to “A Web Analytics Code of Ethics”

  1. S.Hamel Says:

    You know, I had the same feeling… and we are both in a seat where being close to vendors is important, but at the same time, we are there to offer an honest and fair service to our clients (in your case) and my users.

    Over the years, I worked with WSS as a reseller, with Omniture in my new job, followed WebTrends on and off, used DeepMetrix, I’m using GA, etc. And with the Web Analytics Solution Profiler I’ve created, I need to get deep enough in almost all available WA solution to understand how they are tagged. Doing so, I find little things here and there that I’m glad to share with those vendors, and generally, I get good support and feedback even if I’m not a direct customer. I’m trying to stay solution agnostic.

    Maybe such a code of conduct should be pushed forward by the WAA, both for solution providers and for service companies such as OX2. But in the meantime, if you allow me, I will use a variation of your code of conduct for my own project.

    Sincerely,
    S.Hamel
    http://immeria.net

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