2.0Ventures proposes a centralized website statistics aggregator. Basically, Alexa for web stats.
I like the idea, it’d be a very useful tool, in some ways much more useful than Alexa.
However, I think he glosses over the obstacles in the idea. Here’s one example:
First, we have to convince the stats package developers to include a simple api for their collected data. And if it’s possible, convince them to output in the exact same way. This of course would be the biggest obstacle, and take some work. But it can be done with the right incentives.
What incentives? The aggregator probably couldn’t afford to pay the web analytics companies to release the data. There would need to be some monetary benefit for the companies. Would it get them more customers? Would it please their customers in some way? I’m just not seeing yet what incentive they’d have to release that data.
Also, do their customers want their data released? I really have no way to stop Alexa from estimating my traffic. However, I feel like I should have the choice on whether Google Analytics releases this blog’s data to some aggregator. Frankly, what would be my benefit to release it? Only if I wanted to brag about my stats, but there are various details that I wouldn’t want to be public. Especially if it were one of my ecommerce sites.
I’m sure some decent percentage of the web world would be willing to share the data just for the heck of it, but a lot of people out there won’t, especially if they don’t share in the profit from it. We have no choice with Alexa. What also makes Alexa useful is that is essentially has every site. If sites were opting out of this new aggregator, would it be as useful?
Another issue is that Alexa uses their toolbar to gather data, something controlled by them. This web stats idea requires multiple companies to cooperate and create similar, which is never as easy as it seems.
As I said, I like the idea, I just think there are some LARGE hurdles to making it comprehensive enough. If you can manage to get half the analytics companies and only get half the sites using those services to release their data, you really don’t have a large enough portion of the web to make it something where people know they’ll get the data they’re looking for. It still might be useful, but I doubt it would reach the level of Alexa for ubiquity.