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Sunday, July 24, 2005

Ajax Disrupts Web Analytics Industry

We had been covering the advent of Ajax, the new technology moniker, & speculations about what's next after Ajax, Fredric Paul highlights that traditional web analytics may be affected with increasing usage of Ajax. Excerpts with edits and comments:

Ajax is already befudlling traditional web vendors while relying on a mishmash of existing Web technologies to create a new breed of fast, highly interactive sites. These kinds of interactive apps continues to catch on, & they could force Web publishing, advertising, and traffic-measurement companies to change how they do business. Exemplified by Google Maps and Yahoo's Flickr photo-sharing site, Ajax is an umbrella term for a mix of JavaScript, Dynamic HTML, and XML used to reduce the need for Web clients to reconnect to a Web server every time they attempt to download information. The idea is for sites to update their contents in a background cache so that the next piece of information is ready to display as needed. These rich micro-interactions mean that the page itself doesn't have to reload, only the portion with fresh data actually changes. Less data needed to be transferred makes for faster downloads, which makes for a better user experience. Critical applications like The Sabre online reservations system, is reportedly starting to use Ajax to make it easier to deal with the database's huge data set.
While most of the focus lay on Ajax's threat to commercial Web development environments it may pose an even bigger challenge for Web publishers and advertisers and for the Web analytics industry – as it shatters the metaphor of a Web "page" upon which much of Web publishing and advertising is based. Most content management systems, for example, separate design from content – but this is not possible with Ajax. Web site traffic metrics are also affected. Most sites measure their traffic in terms of visitors and page views, but Ajax blows away the page-view metaphor & Click paths have to be measured differently. If sites track traffic and sell ads based on page view impressions, everything changes when users start interacting with the site and making multiple changes without ever refreshing a page. New higher order metrics may need to be outlined. For many, page views have long been the accepted way to measure traffic and sell advertising space. If Ajax applications continue to gain ground, Web publishers, advertisers, Web analytics companies, and everyone else affected will just be plainly affected and ust look at a new approach to work around the technology.

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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
"All views expressed are my personal views are not related in any way to my employer"