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123LogAnalyzer - Fast, Inexpensive and Easy to Use

by Glen Emerson Morris

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One of the key software products anyone with a business oriented Website needs is some kind of Website log analyzer program to determine just how traffic is behaving on their site. Since this information is used to determine the Website's return on investment, it's essential to have solid numbers, including how many people are visiting the site, what pages are getting the most traffic, how long visitors spend on the site, where they come from, what pages they exit from and other essential statistics.

Unfortunately, log analysis programs have tended to be either very low cost packages with few features, or very expensive packages that had more features than anyone other than a very large corporate Website would need. A good example of the way things have been heading is the product line from NetIQ. Their flagship Enterprise Edition log analyzer goes for $10,500. Their "small business" product line includes the WebTrends Log Analyzer V8.1, priced at $500.00, and the Log Analyzer V8.1, Advanced Edition, priced at $1,999.00.

Realistically, it's difficult to see a lot of advertisers willing to spend as much on a Web log analyzer as they would for a copy of Photoshop, let alone $1,999. Fortunately, a low cost alternative named 123LogAnalyzer has hit the market. 123LogAnalyzer goes for $129.00 for a single user license (or $149.00 for a 10 license pack), and offers many features found in $500.00 and up products.

Our initial impression of 123LogAnalyzer was good. The user interface for 123LogAnalyzer is extremely well done. It's simple and easy to use. Most of 123LogAnalyzer's screens tell you about everything you need to know to use it, and it has a Help menu that can actually help.

Using 123LogAnalyzer is a simple three step process. First you download Web logs from your Website host machine (with an FTP application). Second, you load the logs into 123LogAnalyzer. And three, you select the range of data you want and hit the "Analyze" button. In a few seconds a browser window opens up with the information on your choice of ten different screens, including General Statistics, Activity Statistics, Visitor IP Information, Resource Accessed, Referrer Statistics, Search Engine Statistics, Geographic Region, Browsers and Platforms, Technical Information and Marketing Performance. Each of these categories of information includes two or more reports and/or charts and graphs.

For several months we used 123LogAnalyzer to analyze the logs of the Advertising & Marketing Review Website and compared the results with our Urchin 3.0 Enterprise analyzer, which is supplied by Earthlink as part of its Web hosting service. The numbers we got from each were generally consistent, sometimes with less than a .001% difference.

Earthlink's Urchin Stats did a solid job on the numbers, but we found that in terms of features, 123LogAnalyzer is an order of magnitude above Urchin in two ways, filters and reports.

While Urchin offers a number of ways to search for activity in certain time periods, it can't filter much else. 123LogAnalyzer, on the other hand, can filter the logs for precise data mining. For instance, 123LogAnalyzer can limit or exclude Website visitors from any or all of 30 countries and the continents. Check boxes handle the section on a single window, so no typing is required. It's also possible to filter based on what search engine referred the visitor to the site, and what the most popular key words used for searches were, which can be extremely useful information. This information isn't possible with Urchin.

A $99.00 ad-on for 123LogAnalyzer allows it to display a map of the United States and color code each state on the basis of how much traffic came from each state (and in the reports, how many visitors came from each town). This provided some interesting insight to our Website's traffic. Over a three month time period, three states consistently gave the Advertising & Marketing Review Website the most visitors, Colorado, California, and to our surprise, Virginia. In California, the majority of our visitors came from within a ten mile radius of Sunnyvale, where the Website is produced. We assume our visitors from Virginia are mostly connected with Washington, D.C.. (We've maintained for years that it's easier to find certain government information on our site than on any government site. Maybe we were right.) This is another example of information 123LogAnalyzer made readily available that Urchin couldn't provide.

The reporting feature of 123LogAnalyzer allows any of the reports to be exported to an Excel spreadsheet at the click of a button. Later in the tests, we came to see just how important those reports can be.

During our trial of 123LogAnalyzer some hacked our Earthlink site and used to resend over 35.000 junk emails over a two day time period. In retrospect, without 123LogAnalyzer it would have taken us several days longer to determine what was really going on with our Website and fix it. Unlike Urchin, 123LogAnalyzer showed us how long specific visitors were staying on our Website and how many pageviews they were generating. A quick analysis of the logs showed just a few people were accounting for a very large percentage of our traffic. Urchin could show us which pages were getting the most pageviews, but it couldn't tell us they were all coming from just a few people, or perhaps only one person.

Later, with 123LogAnalyzer, we were able to create a filter which allowed us to reliably factor out all of the visits and pageviews due to the spam attack. 123LogAnalyzer gave the real numbers when Urchin couldn't.

After using 123LogAnalyzer for three months we were convinced we couldn't live without it. If marketed at $500.00, 123LogAnalyzer, like WebTrends, might seem beyond the budget of many companies, but at $129.00 it offers a substantial return for investment. It can provide a great deal of information that can be used to make your Website more effective.

123LogAnalyzer makes three primary claims about their product; that it's inexpensive, easy to use, and faster than the competition. At $149.00 for a ten license package it's certainly inexpensive. It also proved to be as easy to use as promised, and in terms of speed, 123LogAnalyzer proved to be fast as advertised. It could process three months of Web logs in 30 seconds.

We found that we can not only recommend 123LogAnalyzer, but we can safely rate it as a "Best Buy," too. If you haven't invested in a professional grade Web log analyzer for your Website you might want to consider 123LogAnalyzer. It would be hard to do better for the money.

Glen Emerson Morris has been a senior consultant for Network Associates, Yahoo!, Ariba, WebMD, Inktomi, Apple, and Adobe.

Copyright 1994 - 2010 by Glen Emerson Morris All Rights Reserved

' keywords: Internet advertising, Internet marketing, business, advertising, Internet, marketing. For more advertising and marketing help, news, resources and information visit our Home Page.

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