Urchin logfile software


It’s possible that I’m the only web analyst around who didn’t understand the interplay between Google Analytics and Urchin (but I doubt it.)

I have a customer with Urchin logfile software whom I wanted to upgrade to Google Analytics (and I even got them an invitation from GA while I was at the eMetrics Summit.) While I was at the Summit, their Urchin reseller set up their current Urchin 5.0 software for their new website, and told them that there would be an upgrade. I was sure that Urchin is going to die and will be replaced by Google Analytics completely; after all, Google bought Urchin for just that purpose. However, Tim Seward from The Unofficial Google Analytics Blog assured me that I was wrong — he even called me from his son’s ball game on Saturday morning to tell me how wrong I was. Server side Urchin is not only alive and well, but will be upgraded to Urchin 6 sometime in 2006.

The Google Analytics site says,

Urchin 6 software will not be free when it is released in 2006. However, if you paid for an Advanced Support contract that expired after March 2006, you will be offered a free upgrade to Urchin 6 software when it is available. If you are looking for a free analytics service, please sign up for Google Analytics.

And of course, if you want client side analytics, you have to use GA.

Robbin Steif

Our founder, Robbin Steif, started LunaMetrics in 2004. She is a graduate of Harvard College and the Harvard Business School, and has served on the Board of Directors for the Digital Analytics Association. Robbin is a winner of a BusinessWomen First award, as well as a Diamond Award for business leadership. In 2017, Robbin sold her company to HS2 Solutions and has since retired from LunaMetrics.

  • Justin

    Hi Robin,

    Let me start with full disclosure. I work for a Google Analytics VAR like Tim. With that said, I wanted to address your last comment in your blog post, “…if you want client side analytics, you have to use GA.”

    I assume you’re talking about browser based collection of analytics information.

    Urchin 5 software does support a client side collection technique. It’s called the UTM Tracking method and its almost identical to the tracking method used by Google Analytics.

    Using the UTM tracking method provides greater detail on your site visitors. In fact, the UTM tracking method is the only tracking method in Urchin 5 that uniquely identifies site visitors.

    The Urchin 5 documentation has a chart identifying the differences between the various tracking methods in Urchin 5:


    If I’m misinterpreting your comment just let me know 🙂


  • Timothy

    It’s important to remember that, while Google Analytics tracks visitors via client-side methods only, the UTM Tracking method that Justin outlined above uses both client-side page tagging and web server logfile analysis.

    So, yes, Google Analytics is the only purely client-side product offered by Google/Urchin, but Urchin software can be either entirely log-based, or supplemented by the UTM client-side collection method.

    Hope that clears everything up.


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