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Intelligence Land Search Watch & Who Hit It Wise? seems to be prepared for the leave of Danny Sullivan, the founder of SEW and it head editor for over a decade. While Danny is preparing via his firm Calafia Consulting the launch of his new site on December 11 and SEW not only lost Danny but most of their long term and well respected editors as well, such as Chris Sherman, Barry Schwartz, Jenifer Slegg and Bill Slawski, did the owner of SEW, Incisive not just sit around whining and doing nothing.

They got Christine Churchill, the President of to write and post a very good article about the premium Keyword Research and (Competitive) Intelligence Tool from Hitwise called Search Intelligence. You can read the full article here.

This is probably the best way to go, because nobody want’s to try filling Dannie’s shoes and shutting down the site does not make sense either. Make it a place for well respected Guess Writers and Blogger, very much like The two sites did already overlap here and there, this trend will probably continue.

Anyway, back to the Hitwise Review by Mrs.Churchill. She provided some general information about the service that are pretty interesting, such as:

It includes (Search Intelligence) lifestyle, demographic, ranking, charting, clickstream as well as the aptly named Search Intelligence tools … … According to Bill Tancer, General Manager, Global Research for Hitwise, Search Intelligence provides information on over 800,000 websites in more than 174 industry categories. The data is derived from partnerships with internet service providers and represents 10 million US Internet users (25 million worldwide). …

Now we are leaving the realm of small business budget completive intelligence and keyword research and enter the playing field of the big boys. Like this:

…. reports focuses on clickstream data—the path users take when clicking links. Hitwise lets you look at clickstream data in a clear and unambiguous way. It’s powerful information. Flow lines don’t lie and clickstream data can be used to spot leaks in customer retention or bounce-offs to competitors in an easy and accurate way. The power of this feature is its up- and downstream data from a particular website. … …. could I see clickstream data coming to my site, but Hitwise shows you where users go after they leave your site. …

I wish I had a statistic, but my guess is that over 90% of the site owners and companies don’t even look at that information for their own website, if they even have it. It’s not a standard feature for Web Analytics solutions and packages to get that kind of information in much detail. Now with Hitwise can you see that kind of stuff for whoever you choose to. since…

… If the site you are requesting isn’t included in the 800,000 sites categorized, you can enter it into the database and wait a few weeks for the tool to gather enough information about the site to make the results meaningful …

Also a nice feature is this one.

… enter up to 10 phrases at a time for comparison or bulk import search terms via the portfolio tool …. …. the same comparison tool allows you to chart traffic for both individual websites as well as entire industries ….

Decision making is much easier with that kind of data handy, isn’t it?

… compared two competing websites and was curious about what caused the spike in traffic for one site. By hovering my mouse over the spike in the chart I was given event options. This option links you to news, press mentions, and other web traceable events so you can assess the reason for the traffic volume spike ….

oh.. yeah, the nice little standard features everybody has. I wonder where this spike came from.. Anybody? Google News, nothing, press releases? nothing. Viral Campaign? nothing. Gee.. or there it is the competitors site was down so they came to us. That was easy, only took me 2 hours 🙂

It gets better though:

… the website search term report … lists the most popular terms actually typed into a search engine which resulted in traffic to the website being tracked … … makes you feel like you’ve tapped into your competitor’s logfiles … … This report exposes the full tail—all the high volume traffic words driving traffic to your competitor’s site, …

Who is still doing research there? reading a report that highlights everything already and only expects you to say “do it” or “don’t do it”. Okay, my comments were meant to be ironic. It amazes my what type of information are available online about things we would not think of and in what detail. I feel sorry for the offline peers at the competitive intelligence department who have to do so much to get a little bit of information about what the competitor is doing.

It reminded me of “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams where the philosophers complain about the project of the engineers to build a computer that finds the answer to life, the universe and everything. They say rightfully, that a “thing” like that would put them out of business when they do their job and philosopher for ages about weather god exists or not and the computer simply provides a yes or no answer and for a yes answer the phone number of God right along with it.

I got contacted by Hitwise once and got blurry eyes when we talked about the features (I am nosy, I admit it). I was not surprised anymore when it came to the pricing of the service

… Pricing for access to the Hitwise data ranges from $50k to $60k annually, and scales down based on narrower deliverables (number of seats, categories, etc). …

Unfortunately is this cost a bit beyond my means. I have to live with the monthly newsletter they have and look over their nice Newsletter Archive.

The Stats Hitwise makes public in their newsletter reminds me every month about the power of their service and only look with envy at people that say in a subordinate clause things like.. ” … I saw xyz when I checked something at my Hitwise account earlier today …” . Ah I hate those pricks ;).

Also worth reading from time to time is the Hitwise Weblog.
Please do not take this post too serious. To everybody at SES Chicago, enjoy the last day of the conference.

Carsten Cumbrowski
Internet Marketer and Entrepeneur without a Hitwise account,
but plenty of old-school  keyword research and competitive intelligence tools and services


Category Tools Web Dev SEO
Carsten Cumbrowski

Carsten Cumbrowski has years of experience in Affiliate Marketing and knows both sides of the business as the Affiliate and ...

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