Google Sprawl, And My Big WA News

March 7, 2007

My company, LunaMetrics, became a Google Analytics Authorized Consultant (GAAC) last week. When I told the news to Jim Sterne, he wrote back something like, “Is that the sound of your phone ringing off the hook?” Which pretty much sums up the situation.

So it seems only appropriate that I talk about one of my favorite topics tonight (and soon it will be, this morning): Google Sprawl. (Stephen Colbert, I just want you to know that this is MY Word.) Google Sprawl is when you have way too many Google Accounts, and they are all intertwined. This happens a) because you started with Analytics back when it was hard to get an account. Now, you are measuring your customers using profiles on your own account instead of on their accounts. Then, you let one of those customers invite you into his AdWords using that email account. Oh what a mess. b) Google Sprawl also happens when your customers have a My Client Center (MCC) on Google AdWords and they invite you in to their Client Center before you get one of your own. Then, you take the test to become an AdWords professional using that Client Center (all the while thinking, “I don’t remember thinking ahead and setting this up!”) Suddenly, you are stuck with the task of kicking one of your best customers off of her own account. (“You can still get at the data,” and “MCC is really for consultants” don’t feel like great excuses when confronting that kind of task.) c) It happens when you stupidly tell Google to put your Website Optimizer in your MCC (it doesn’t work there). d) It happens when the customer invites you into their AdWords using one email name, but you, unfortunately, change the email address you want to use. Which may make it hard to access their Website Optimizer.

So take it from someone who has made every Google Sprawl mistake in the book. There is an easy way, three-step way around this all if you plan it out. Step #1. Use one, not-very-well-known email account and put all your own Analytics, AdWords and Website Optimizer under that account. #2) Use your well-known email name to create a My Customer Center (MCC) where you can invite customers in and access both their Analytics and their AdWords. Step #3) When your customer gets Website Optimizer, always use his account instead of your own, because then you can both look at the data. But you won’t be able to use your MCC (see Google Sprawl Mistake C above), so go create another gmail account, like, and get a “hard” addition to their account. The better to access WO.

Robbin Steif