SurfAid is Not Enough: IBM Partners with WebCriteria

  • Written By: D. Geller
  • Published: June 6 2000

SurfAid is Not Enough: IBM Partners with WebCriteria
D. Geller - June 6, 2000

Event Summary

WebCriteria sells a product that evaluates a website in terms of the reactions of real surfers, as captured in a model (see TEC article Will Max Get Mad When He Surfs Your Website?) . The WebCriteria product, Max, is not a replacement for traditional traffic analysis. It can be a valuable adjunct that provides insight into why the traffic numbers come out the way they do. The Global Services division of IBM (NYSE: IBM) has an ASP product called SurfAid that produces traffic reports for its users. Under a newly announced partnership, IBM will recommend Max to its SurfAid customers, and the two companies will share information about their underlying data formats so that the two products can work smoothly together.

Market Impact

The real import of this announcement is that IBM has placed its imprimatur on the notion that traffic analysis alone does not provide enough detail for website operators to optimize their sites. This should result in other traffic analysis vendors, such as Microsoft and WebTrends, announcing enhancements to their own products that provide similar functionality to WebCritera's Max. We would not be terribly surprised to hear over the grapevine that Microsoft has expressed interest in purchasing WebCriteria; this would fit into its general Site Server strategy of offering sophisticated tools in a simple package.

User Recommendations

If the design of your website is probably a critical element in its success then you are already using a traffic analysis package to understand what your visitors do. If what you find doesn't meet your expectations, then WebCriteria's Max may be able to pinpoint design problems that interfere with your ability to present your message clearly. If you are developing a new website and are evaluating traffic analysis packages, this announcement should give a few extra points to IBM's SurfAid.

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