Web Analytics and Your Tax Dollars

california.jpegYou’d think cash-strapped government agencies that operate Web sites would jump at the availability of free and very robust tools such as Google Analytics.

Think again.

Earlier this week, I was on a fascinating call with the people who run many of the major federal government Web sites. The group included one woman who does the same for a state agency. We mostly talked metrics, and what measurements to consider when gauging the performance of sites that are non-commercial in nature — like theirs.

Given the budgetary constraints these sites operate under, we spent a good deal of time discussing free (and very low cost), Web-based measurement tools, such as Alexa.com, Compete.com, and Quantcast. And, of course, Google Analytics.

That’s when the woman from the state agency spoke up. Because her site represents a state government, and because hers is not the state of California, she cannot use Google Analytics on the site she operates. Why? Google’s TOS, which specify “This Agreement shall be governed by and construed under the laws of the state of California…”

That’s why at least one state agency is paying for (an admittedly more robust) commercial analytics package.

OK, so it’s not $3.1 trillion in defense spending. But still.

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