Google Analytics Goes Free – But There Is a Cost

Google recently finished the integration and rebranding of Urchin as Google Analytics. This included changing the pricing from a monthly subscription to free. However, there have been some costs for loyal Urchin subscribers:
1. The reports have been painfully slow to update. As of this writing, the data is 22 hours behind. While it’s interesting to know what happened yesterday, it’s not nearly as valuable as knowing what’s happening in real time on a web site.
2. New registrations have been halted.: Due to the overwhelming popularity of the new product, Google has stopped accepting new accounts for now. Andrew Goodman touches on this at Traffick.com
Both issues are particularly painful to a business who was perfectly content paying for the service before.

What could Google have done differently?

1. Run legacy clients on a separate platform, so they continue to receive the service they’ve come to expect.
2. Let legacy clients opt-in to the free version once they’ve had a chance to compare the service to the paid version.
3. Charge something rather than nothing for the service. This would be a better throttle than shutting off new registrations.

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