Criticize Google Analytics. Win Prizes

June 04, 2007
By Robbin Steif

It’s a contest! With real prizes and great judges.

Background: Just about everyone knows that I am always complaining about how bad the GA documentation is. (No secrets there.) When I talked to Amy in GA Engineering at the Emetrics Summit, she said, “Make me a list.”

win-prizes

And, just about everyone knows that many minds work better than one. Hence the contest. So here are the categories, the judges, the prizes and the very minimal rules.

Category #1: Mistakes. We (the contest — I should make it clear that Google isn’t sponsoring this) are looking for things in the documentation, Conversion University, or the Google Blog that are just plain old wrong. For example, the URL Builder does not specify utm_campaign as required, even though it is required.

Category #2: Omissions. We are looking for important facts that are just plain old missing from the documentation (only. Conversion University and the blog are not meant to be as comprehensive.) For example, GA uses Perl Compatible Regular Expressions, which is an incredibly helpful fact if you are designing fancy expressions, but nowhere (that I’ve seen) is that included in the documentation.

Category #3. Opacity. (Opaqueness?) We are looking for important concepts that are really poorly defined in the documentation only. Example: have you ever tried to write a filter and used this as your only guide? Wouldn’t it be awesome if Google told you the kinds of values these filters usually take, so that you knew how to design your Regular Expression?

The Judges. In addition to yours truly, the judges will be Justin Cutroni, Director of Web Analytics at Google Analytics Authorized Consultant Epikone, and Avinash Kaushik, who is technically an outside consultant, but works as the Analytics Evangelist for Google. All decisions will be very subjective (but final.)

The Prizes! We have four prizes, donated by two of LunaMetrics’ customers and one of the judges. Databazaar agreed to donate a $50 gift certificate for printer supplies (ink, toner, whatever you need). Voip.com agreed to donate a month of free Make a Call (“click to call”) and six months free of a second line on your cell phone. Since I only have myself to blame for the fact that the good second line voip pages are not up, I had better explain: when you have a second line for your cell phone, you can give out one number to potential boyfriends and not worry that they will drive you crazy, even after you figure out what creeps they are. Or, you can call about a potential new job on your employer-owned cell phone, and your current employer never sees the charges because of the cool technology.

The fourth prize is a signed copy of Avinash Kaushik’s book, Web Analytics: An Hour a Day. (It went on sale on Friday.)

Rules: All entries must be posted here as a comment (so that everyone can see them. Including Google. That means, they’ll get your thoughts, whether you win or not.) Everyone is eligible except myself and the judges. (That means, all the GAACs are eligible, and I hope some of you submit some ideas.) No idea is too stupid (because if you don’t understand it, there are probably close to two million other users who don’t either.) You can submit in as many categories as you like, and you can submit up to three ideas in each category. This is only for Google Analytics and not Website Optimizer. Please don’t submit product enhancements or bugs here, this is about documentation only. All entries are due by June 26, 2007.

Whew. I think that’s it for now. Late Addition: Here is a post with the winning entries.

Robbin