WebTrends 8.0C Upgrade - Is it worth it?

One of the questions I'm frequently asked is "Should we do the incremental upgrades of WebTrends?" This question is a difficult one to answer as many of these types of upgrades fix very little and the problems they address may not be impacting your particular use of WebTrends.

So now with 8.0c out I'm being asked this again. First off I always tell everyone you should do every upgrade and keep current. It just makes sense. However, since many clients' installations are managed by their IT departments and performing a WebTrends upgrade, needs to be scheduled well in advanced accompanied with copious amounts of paper work, the answer may not always be that easy.

So here is my answer to the WebTrends 8.0c question. Check the list of fixes and decided if you really need the patches and fixes contained in 8.0c. Here are my two reasons for the upgrade:

One, WebTrends 8.0c includes the upgrade to allow WebTrends to work with IE 7;

Two, from my perspective, WebTrends has addressed one of my concerns with the product and the "Report Designer" module. In the past when you granted user permissions to all report templates, the Designer Module would appear in the navigation and when clicked on it appeared that you could change some of the Options settings as the screen would open up with editable fields. Fortunately, the save button was grayed out. On several occasions I'd have users asking what this was and why they couldn't save changes.

Well in 8.0c, WebTrends has addressed this to a certain degree. While the Report Designer menu item still appears, the link to the "Options" screen is no longer present. Access to the list of report templates and dashboards is still there, but only a list of these items appears when the links are clicked on. I still wish that WebTrends would stop this entire module from appearing unless a user has edit privileges, but I'll take what I can get.

All in all, WebTrends 8.0c is worth the upgrade especially if you're planning on rolling out IE7 in the near future to your organization.


WebTrends 8.0c Upgrade Now Available

WebTrends quietly released a version 8.0c upgrade on December 15th. Version 8.0c in now available for downloading from WebTrends' FTP server. It's been a few days since the upgrade was made available on the WebTrends FTP site (ftp.webtrends.com), but still no alert in my installation or others that I monitor. I'm sure one will eventually show up.

Don't remember a version 8.0b, don't worry about it. WebTrends only released version 8.0b for their on-demand service. Version 8.0c doesn't seem to fix much, even in their documentation there is no reference to IE7, I've yet to confirm if the IE 7 fix is included, but my preliminary test show all is OK. Still I don't know what would have happened if I hadn't done the IE7 WebTrends patches first.

I was hoping for more fixes and improvements, but for now all seems well. A list of the fixes is available at product.webtrends.com/wrc/8/issuesresolved/IssuesResolvedInWebTrends80.pdf
And the upgrade is available for downloading at


Web Builder 2.0 Another Success

Just as in the past attending a Web Builder conference has proven worth while. The mix of people representing all aspects of web development is a great opportunity that you just have to take advantage of.

As I said before, I'm glad Fawcette who brought back WebBuilder after 4 years. I just hope this conference once again becomes an annual event and that I can continue my streak of attending every WebBuilder conference.

To Jim Fawcette, thanks again for the great conference and the opportunity to speak to this amazing group of people.


Ethical Blogging at Web Builder 2.0

I'll be doing a last minute presentation here at Web Builder 2.0 as slot opened up by a speaker no show. My chosen topic for today is "Ethical Blogging". There was a last minute request for a presentation and I was given the opportunity to choose my topic.

This is going to be an interesting presentation as I pulled together a mini slide presentation on what I think Ethical Blogging is in about 25 minutes. What will truly make this presentation interesting is I've recruited DL Byron author of Publish and Prosper: Blogging for Your Business to join me for the presentation. The session will have very few slides and we'll be turning it into more of a live human to human conversation with all attendees participating.


Ajax and Web Analytics Problem or Opportunity?

This morning, I sat through the most imformative Keynote I think I've ever sat through. Scott Dietzen the President and CTO of Zimbra, kicked off Web Builder 2.0 with some great insight into the potential of using AJAX to build Web 2.0.

I'm not going to summarize his talk, but he really showed the potential in a way everyone from marketing people to hard core java developers could undertand.

I finally got to see some of the issues that the web analytics world is going to face when it comes analyzing this new generation of web sites. I know products like WebTrends claim to have a solution, and yes it should work. However, during the presentation, I may have discovered some other alternatives for more accurate reporting.

I talked breifly with Scott and hope to follow-up on it over the next few weeks. Perhaps between the two of us, we'll come up with a workable and easy to implement solution that will work across all web analytic tools.

Teaching the World about Web Analytics

Last week I had the privilege to deliver a 20 minute presentation on how to improve the accuracy of web analytics reporting to AIMS (Association of Internet Marketing & Sales) in Toronto. The presentation went extremely well as I was flanked on both sides by cases studies.

One of the cases studies addressed improving Search Engine Marketing efforts with analytics and the other was improving overall web site efficiencies with it. The irony was both of these presentations dealt with the travel industry.

Today in a few hours I'll be addressing the international crowd at WebBuilder 2.0 in Las Vegas. The subject is Improving ROI with Web Analytics. A very similar presentation to last week's, but this time it's just me.

So far the best part to the trip is my hotel room. While my flight here was uneventful (just long with a 2 hour layover in Denver), getting out of the Las Vegas airport was another story. I had to wait 30 minutes for my suitcase. Now I'm not a person who normally checks a bag for short trips, but with the layover I thought it would be the wise thing to do. Well never again. Now the worst part, after checking into Caesars Palace at the airport checking, I decided to take their airport shuttle ($7 vs. a $20 cab ride). What a big mistake, after rushing the length of the terminal to catch the next shuttle, I was told it was full and I'd have to wait for the next one. Well the next one didn't arrive for another 30 minutes. So basically it took 2 hours from touch town of my flight to the hotel.

The bad news continues, the room they gave me, didn't have a view. OK not a big deal, but when I looked out the window, I was right next to a roof top heating and cooling system making lots of noise. Fortunately, I complained and I'm not one to complain, but with a big presentation to do the next morning I thought I better. Well my hats off to Caesars Palace. Despite being sold out, they found me a better room. They gave a much superior room (about 3 times in size) as a no charge upgrade and it even has a reasonable view (35 floor vs. 4 floor).

Why am I telling you this? Simple, it is all analytics. Telling people it took you 2 hours to get to a hotel from an airport doesn't tell anything. Was that a good thing or a bad thing? Once I break down the steps into a scenario we get to see where problems are in the process. If I hadn't prepaid for the shuttle, and had known I'd have to wait 30 minutes, I would have abandoned this scenario and the ROI for Caesars selling shuttle passes would have gone down.

While Caesars Palace gave me a less then desirable room at the airport checkin, they demonstrated a desire to fix the problem at some cost to themselves, they improved my experience got a nice writeup in this blog, made me feel good about being here which in turn may mean I'll spend a little more at least tell people about it. Hence a soft conversion that is hard to put into dollar values, but still a positive factor in the ROI equation.

All these topics are being covered in today's presentation, the only difference I'll be talking it about from a web site perspective and there really isn't a difference. There is always a customer at the other end.