WebTrends 8.5

WebTrends 8.5 was just released today (June 30th).

I'm in the process of downloading it and will report back my findings and recommendations about upgrading shortly.

Here's hoping issues with Geotrends have been resolved and that the new database for the backend is more stable and flexible than the previous MySQL.

If you're feeling adventurous you can download and try it for yourself at

Here are some of the new features as reported by WebTrends:
Analytics Reports and report Administration
New calculated measures provide support for user-configured formulas. Configure calculated measures in custom reports during configuration, or create them at report time to provide new insights in real time. Report users can rearrange existing columns or add new ones on the fly.

Analytics Reports
New Web 2.0-focused reports provide enhanced out-of-the-box tracking for Rich Internet Applications (RIA), RSS feeds, streaming media, and customer-generated media.

WebTrends Administration and WebTrends Accounts
New user roles provide consistent, streamlined user rights assignments and custom groupings when creating or modifying users in WebTrends On Demand or Software. Use preconfigured roles included with your implementation, or create roles fine-tuned to your organizational needs in WebTrends Administration.
WebTrends Analytics On Demand administrators now assign user roles, not rights, in WebTrends On Demand Accounts.

Other points to note:
The user interface no longer requires Java
Analytics Reports - Analytics Reports Calendar now defaults to monthly rather than daily.

Stay tuned for my review. I should be finished putting through its paces by the end of the week.


SEM Canada - Early Bird Discount

Here is the heads up on the next conference I'm scheduled to speak at. I really got excited about this conference after meeting the organizer Laura Callow last week at SES Toronto. She is a warm and friendly person, who is giving this conference a truly personal touch. As well several many of the speakers at SEM Canada were in attendance here in Toronto. We share the excitement of another search engine conference here in Canada. During various discussions, we acknowledge that this will be a different type of conference and how we are all being challenged to deliver something new and exciting during our sessions. Conference organizers are now offering a early bird discount of $695 for the two day event valid until July 7th.

I must admit, that most of the following post was so well put by Jim Hedger, that with permission I have reposted with only a few minor adjustments and some trimming. Now the essences of Jim's post:

The organizers of the SEM Canada conference scheduled for the 4th and 5th of September in Calgary have secured an "A" list of speakers including myself (Alan K'necht), Jane Copland, Todd Friesen, Ken Jurina, Cindy Krum, Bill Slawski, and Richard Zwicky, SEM Canada is now working on filling the most important seats in the conference, the audience.

According to conference organizer Laura Callow, local interest from Calgary and Edmonton is booming with several large companies in two of Canada's most prosperous cities booking space for their staff. International attendance numbers, which are vital for the conference's success, remain a hurdle as ID requirements for international travel are confusing for some US residents and high fuel surcharges have increased the costs of traveling. To bolster local support and turn that support into hard cash, SEM Canada is organizing a Test-My-Site taster conference.

In order to promote sales, SEM Canada is offering readers an enormous discount on the early bird rate. Until July 7, registrants can purchase a full, all-inclusive 2-day pass for only $695, down from the original early bird rate of $895, similar to the discount already offered to SEOmoz Premier members.

From the standpoint of a business developer, attending SEM Canada makes financial sense. Those who participate in the SEM Canada conference are likely to find a larger pool of potential customers than those attending similar SES or SMX events. There are few search marketing conferences held in Canada and the event in Calgary is the only multi-day conference on search marketing in western Canada. With a stable resource based economy, western Canada is the only part of North America seeing sustained economic growth at this time. The business market in western Canada, while served by amazing local talent, is still wide-open for search marketers to enter. There simply aren't enough of us up here to satiate the growing need for effective search marketing.

SEM Canada will be a far more intimate show than SES San Jose or the SMX East conference scheduled for one month later in NYC, giving attendees a chance to meet and really get to know some of the most influential names in the industry. It will also be a successful show, at least from a biz-dev standpoint, for those who attend.

Organizer Laura Callow recently emailed all speakers with a personal message for anyone interested in attending SEM Canada. "Please also ask your subscribers to contact me personally via email to put their names down on our hotel discount list I will call them back after they email me, or they can call me on 403-714-6170. We like the personal touch. Well I do…" Let's hope the personal touch works. The SEM Canada conference could be highly beneficial to the entire search marketing industry.

So I hope to see you there.


SES Toronto 2008 Review

Well another SES Toronto has come and gone. This annual Search Engine Strategies (SES) conference in Toronto is the one annual conference here in Toronto that I look forward to each year. As mentioned previously, I spoke at this year's conference (4th year in a row) on the topic of Keyword Research along with Christine Churchill and Michelle Pruitt (from Microsoft) and Louis-Dominic Parizeau. Our session was moderated by Anne Kenndey. While I was impressed with the quality of speakers on the panel as well as virtually every session attended, I can't help but feel a bit disappointed with year's conference

The networking opportunities and chances for everyone (speakers and attendees) to mix and mingle with most speakers were on par with previous years. I personally got a chance to get together with the usual suspects of with Jim Hedger, Richard Zwicky, Ken Jurnia, Andrew Goodman, Greg Jarboe, and Lyndsay Walker. In addition, I also got to reconnect with Bryan Eisenberg who I hadn't seen or chatted with in about 7 years and finally meet in person Laura Callow (organizer of SEM Canada scheduled for September of this year).

I was especially impressed with Incisive's decision to include an Orion panel session purely dedicated to measuring success in Web 2.0 world and another session focused on the analytics aspect of search engine marketing. While the Orion session my not have been as technical as I wished, it more or less met the demands of most attendees. What I found most disappointing was the lack of vendors at the show. My best guess would be at most there were 12 booths with the biggest sponsor being the Yellow Pages. The small size of the Google and Microsoft booths reflects poorly on them and the respect they have for the Canadian market. SES Toronto until now was not only the premier search engine conference in Canada it was basically the only one (this year there will be SEM Canada in Calgary), so why didn't they have a bigger and more technical presence at the show?

Another disappointment over previous years was the attendees. I'm used to a mix of beginners and experienced SEO people. This year excluding the speakers, I ran into only a handful of people had any SEO or PPC experience from the attendees. During my session I asked how many of the audience had keyword research experience and only about 10% raised their hands. This compares to over 50% who raised their hands last year during the same session.
Several of us have an uneasy feeling that this may be the last SES Toronto for a while. Nothing can be confirmed, and while Incisive was selling booth space for next June's SES Toronto, there was no attempt to presell it to the attendees (no banners, no announcement unlike when Danny Sulivan ran the conference). Here's hoping I'm wrong.

I am next scheduled to speak at SEM Canada right after Labour Day in Calgary (more on this line up shortly), with any luck I'm hoping to speak at SES San Jose in August and perhaps at Danny Sulivan's SMX East in October.