Open Source Web Analytics

I have been thinking about this for some time, especially as I recently read Patricia Seybold’s “Outside Innovation”…but is there an open source web analytics solution out there? And if not, could something like that get started as a way to create a really flexible code and reporting engine? I know there are plenty of free options out there with Google Analytics being the biggest, but is there one that allows you to open it up and build more functions on top of it? Wouldn’t that be something that would be of huge benefit?

I love some of the things Omniture and other vendors can do, but because the code and reports are set up in proprietary fashion, they lack a certain flexibility in changing things or adding things that would be really useful. For example inside the applications, you have graphing and trending functions but nowhere as powerful as what you can do in Excel. Why not allow users to free-form create graphs within the tool? Or have more access to the raw data model to create even more relationships and corelations? Or conditional formating in dashboards within in the tool. Or have people contributing to create a javascript that could do even more?

Having a bunch of people all over the world working on the code would likely lead to new innovations and functionality that would really enhance what could be done in the space. Perhaps that is why some companies build their own from scratch (like Amazon) so they do have the control and flexibility.

Companies would emerge to just handle the services part of using an open-source tool and implementation of the open source code. But the reporting tool would be free. Could that work? Or have I had one too many Sierras celebrating the A on the Marketing exam?


6 thoughts on “Open Source Web Analytics

  1. alls you gotta do is:
    Mine the Google site and put the findings in any ODBC compliant database, then you can create a pivot table in Excel to slice and dice the data however you wish and report on it… or better yet, use SQL Reporting Services (which has surpassed excel in many ways).

    IIRC the Google Analytics site has links that allow export. By automating the export of that data to a common location and using SQL Integration Services (DTS in days gone by) to get that into a proper database the rest would be cake.

    Of course, by the time that was written and working Google would change something and the work would begin again, or you could just spring for a 3rd party solution that allows access to a back end database.. besides, who owns the data? The Vendor or the Customer?

  2. Ted, thanks for responding.

    Barberry ct still rules.

    I dont think you can mine the Google Analytics data (i’m not speaking of their search data), as I think its sort of locked away. I don’t have a problem with the data being stored elsewhere, but I’d love to open it up to see what is in there so you can customize relationships and corelations. And then alter the reporting engine based on those relationships, etc.

    But yeah if you did indeed house the data on your server, I’d probably start with MySQL and work my way up to a more robust DB.

  3. Mining Google would be the major challenge. I’ve done a little inspection of their HTML and they have done a pretty good job (go fig) of making that next to impossible. Not like the good old days when most stuff was just static HTML.

    Speaking of Barberry Ct, I was just riding behind there yesterday at lunch. I’ve taken up MTB of late, and I Passed flat rock. Remember how ticked your mom got at us after Bob got his foot cut down there?

    Tell Kerry I said Hi, and her brother Mike too. I haven’t seen them in going on 15 years… geez I’m old.

    Lucky Dylan looks like her 😉

  4. I’ve felt the same way as you do about the need for open source web analytics for a long time.

    That’s why I’ve now released the Open Web Analytics framework ( It’s exactly what you are describing. A way for companies to create their own reports, graphs and features without being locked into the commercial services.

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