Performancing Software Vs. Analytics Software

ML Aug 9, 2006

It’s unavoidable that we’re categorized as a search metrics service. But we have yet to provide HitTailers with anything that could be called a metric, short of the ratio numbers at the top of the long tail diagram. And even that’s a stretch. All we’re trying to do is help you increase your natural traffic by explicitly telling you what to write about. We’re more like a distillery, taking your 100,000-word-lists, and refining them down to just a couple of words that matter. HitTail is not analytics.

HitTail is performancing software. By HitTailing, you directly impact on the performance of your site, dispensing with all the pesky, pedantic steps in between that marketing-types like to ponder. Appropriately, Markus Merz of the website is one of the first to get it. He colorfully describes HitTail as the SEO Mafia, leaning on you, telling you exactly what you ought to be doing if you know what’s good for you. Yep. Markus gets it.

In the most extreme example of how not-analytics we are, we could strip out everything but the Suggestions tab, and it would still work. But then, it wouldn’t be as fun. We’ve had nothing but positive feedback on our Ajax interface and real-time search hit monitor. It’s part of the quality that makes HitTail so addictive. And we’re breaking some cool ground, letting you browse millions of records no slower than if it were 100 records.

The inevitable categorizing of HitTail as search metrics is a result of the overshadowing analytics mindset that has been with us since WebTrends. Now, there are literally dozens of products in the analytics space, both free and paid. And since HitTail’s introduction several months ago, new players are jumping onto the scene that focus on natural search. We are engaged in the “Portal Worship” stage of peformancing software, where analytics plays the same sexy role that portals played circa 1999, before the stellar rise of Google. What these new guys don’t get is that no one who’s building their qualified website traffic really wants to spend all their time with charts and graphs. They just want to be told what to do–quickly! They are HitTailers and just don’t know it yet.

It’s a good thing for HitTail that the competition don’t see that the world doesn’t need is yet another analytics package–particularly not one that’s going to become a paid service. Google has set the price of analytics. And the benefit provided by the competition has to be large indeed to justify paying. The only analytics software worth building these days is one that captures all the extended data available to webservers, but normally not captured in the log files, plus all the data that’s normally lost via the multitude of Internet caches (at both the ISP and local level), and which lets you query the results with a very powerful language, get the response as an XML feed, and format it for easy, meaningful consumption–in other words, a pipedream. The next stage of analytics development requires more than the current Internet infrastructure can provide.

There’s a little ground still to be made with predictive analytics, but as far as predictive analytics for the purpose of building new natural search traffic, it’s already here in the form of HitTail.

Happily, because HitTail basically sidesteps the entire search metrics discussion, we are able to focus HitTail in on what’s important: driving more traffic. We zero right in on the predictive quality of the data that’s available. We’ve built and patented the machinery to separate the wheat from the chaff. We’ve automated the flour mills. And by making higher quality flour available to a broader (non-technical) audience, we let you bake the bread.

To extend this metaphor a bit further, the HitTail copycats that are stuck in the search metrics mindset are counting your stalks of wheat, sorting them by height, and providing you nice photographs of the wheat fields. Then they’re saying: “There you go, that should help you bake the bread.”

This is why we renamed MyLongTail as HitTail. Anyone can pull the long tail of keywords from your logfile data. But it’s not about your long tail. It’s about you HitTailing. It’s a process to be performed–not a report to be run. And HitTail handles the first half of the chore, milling it down into flour, so you can take it that last step, and bake the bread.

One response
  1. Avatar
    Markus Merz

    Hi Mike,

    thanks for mentioning my little article about HitTail over at

    After using HitTail now for some time I can tell you that it works very smooth and that I like it very much.

    The export to CSV feature is a little underestimated (?). This feature gives a lot of extra power to the publisher up to the point where you can kind of drag & drop an article outline from the generated list.

    That’s a great feature!

    If you want do something good to your users you should built in some possibility to create some kind of keyword clouds around chosen phrases to give a wider picture for certain keywords.

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