Wednesday, October 14, 2009

iPerceptions + WASP: my take

I'm really proud and happy to announce iPerceptions has acquired the WASP product line and technology. You can read the official press release, but I also wanted to share some personal thoughts about what it means for me and for the 11,000 WASP users around the world.

Three years in the making

When I started working on WASP, around November of 2006, I was a part-time web analytics practitioner trying to solve, or at least simplify a real issue: how to check if our web analytics implementation was done correctly. I already had several years of experience implementating web analytics tools and knew how complex it was. What started as a proof of concept quickly became an interesting side project. One thing leading to another, a public beta was announced and in January 2009, a commercial product.

An unfulfilled need

Cookie deletion rate is a recurring topic; is it 3%, maybe 10%? It simply amazes me! The primary cause of poor analytics data isn't cookies, it's bad implementation... While you don't have much control over cookie deletion rate, you do have control over the site instrumentation (or you should!). In a study recently commissioned by Google (full PDF report), Forrester revealed the most important consideration factor for choosing a web analytics solution is "reliable data collection" (45%!). Yet, vendors generally do a very poor job at offering quality assurance tools.

Word of mouth kicked in, user base grew to over 11,000 worldwide, 150 tools detection and a  market predicted by Forrester to grow 17% for the next several years. Feedback, feature requests and constructive comments helped gradually tweak the product. There is still a long list of ideas and things to do, and as the market evolve, so will WASP. Alternatives are either too complex, unpractical, or too expensive. Clearly, WASP is answering a need: I have never seen a perfect implementation!

Always be learning

WASP has been an amazing learning experience. As most of you know, I did everything on my own, from development to marketing, commercialization and support. However, I was at a crossroad: do I want to become a product vendor, hire a bunch of people and grow the business, or remain true to the core reason why I wanted to become a freelance. I've been a strong advocate of web analytics, I love teaching & speaking at conferences (hear me at Infopresse in Montreal this Thursday, and at eMetrics Washington D.C. next week!) and my interests are for research & education. WASP is why I won the WAALTER award, and certainly a strong factor behind my election to the Web Analytics Association Board of Directors. I have other projects I want pursue; the Web Analytics Maturity Model, the concept of Just In Time Tagging and other crazy ideas to make web analytics easier.

My future and the future of WASP at iPerceptions

"Why iPerceptions?" you might ask. There were other offers, but iPerceptions is best positioned to bring WASP to the next level while remaining true to its original spirit: free trial, single user entry-base product up to enterprise level capabilities; wide range of products detection; closely listening to the Voice of Customer. They can  bring the expertise and manpower I couldn't.

The popularity of 4Q Online Survey also demonstrates their ability to bring innovative solutions to the market. As an independent thought leader and member of the iPerceptions Advisory Council, I will stay closely involved and help them with new and interesting applications that I'm sure will have profound implications for the analytics community.

Parting thoughts

Thanks to my "angel advisers" (you know who you are!) for your insights & recommendations. Your willingness to help is always deeply appreciated and I'm trying to "pay it forward" whenever I can. Thanks to you: web analysts, vendors, fellow bloggers and users of WASP!

I will keep an eye on WASP and help iPerceptions the best I can. In the meantime, and as always, I'm happy to hear your feedback!
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