Yahoo Buys IndexTools, Could Leapfrog Google Analytics

Google redefined the analytics market in late 2005 with the release of a free, re-branded version of the Urchin reporting platform. That product was the first to bring a site reporting interface to the masses, including many scrappy businesses that lacked the hundreds of dollars a month such systems typically cost at the time.

Now it’s getting some competition. With a deal to buy robust analytics platform IndexTools, Yahoo aims to compete with and perhaps leapfrog Google in the low-cost analytics space. Marketers say it may even start nipping at the heels of enterprise platforms Visual Sciences and Omniture, which have managed to hold their ground by offering custom installs and consulting services.

IndexTools, which is legally known as Tensa Kft., offers both standard and advanced site reporting features such as traffic alerts, custom reporting structures, and live cost analysis that incorporates dynamic pricing data from search engines. Marketers can choose from two versions of its reporting system, “e-business” or “enterprise,” priced at $50 and $250 per month respectively.

Yahoo declined to say whether it would make one or both of those products completely free to use, but it seems all but certain to happen. In an e-mailed reply to ClickZ, Yahoo said it would explore all possibilities for getting IndexTools “into the hands of all of our customers and partners.”

“Between IndexTools and Yahoo’s own analytics tools we intend to provide a full suite of analytics to our head and tail advertisers, agencies, publishers and development partners,” Bassel Ojjeh, senior vice president and head of Yahoo’s Strategic Data Solutions group, said in an e-mailed statement.

As such, Yahoo is likely to reach a different set of marketers than have migrated to Google Analytics, according to Jeffrey Eisenberg, co-founder & CEO of marketing consulting firm Future Now.

“This is really good for display advertisers, he said. “The people who are not using Google AdWords — this will make those people more aware of results.”

Assuming Yahoo makes part or all of the IndexTools product suite free, Eisenberg said he believed the development would likely lead to an “arms race,” as Google seeks to match IndexTools capabilities and Yahoo pumps R&D into the product to maintain its lead.

IndexTools’ management team will join Yahoo’s Strategic Data Solutions group, reporting to Ojjeh. That team consists of Márton SzÓke, managing director, Peter Galantha, CTO and Dennis Mortensen, COO.

In addition to its analytics and keyword bid management products, IndexTools offers professional services in the form of training, analysis and deployment advice. It also operates an R&D unit. Yahoo declined to share integration plans for all IndexTools’ separate operations, but said it expects to retain most employees.

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