How Google Abandoned Urchin

By Deane Barker on October 9, 2007

When Google acquisitions go wrong: the disappointing story of Urchin: This opinion piece is so true.

Everyone knows that Google Analytics was based off of Urchin, but if you go to Urchin today and try to buy it, you’ll find that it, well, sucks. None of the coolness that went into Google Analytics has made it anywhere close to the original product on which it was based.

[…] Urchin’s core customers have been ignored, product development has stopped on everything but Google Analytics, and companies are wondering why Google took the money and, well, ran.

The problem stems from the apparent fact that Google’s interest in Urchin Software Corporation was limited to its SaaS offering. Google has since developed Urchin On Demand into a real powerhouse analytics suite, and given its ease-of-use and cost (“free”), it’s amazingly popular. The problem is that Urchin’s other analytic tools have been ignored since the acquisition took place, but they weren’t supposed to be.

I found this out because an intranet client of mine wanted Google Analytics for their intranet. Knowing that wasn’t possible, I got the idea that I could just get them to buy Urchin. Sadly, Urchin hasn’t moved an inch forward since Google bought it.

I think the Urchin team is a little bitter about it too. I was looking into this right after the cool update to Google Analytics was announced. I wrote Urchin to ask them if the new UI was in Urchin as well. They responded sheepishly with something like, “Well, you can look at a demo of our stuff here…” It seemed like they had fielded this question before, and they knew the sale was already lost.

I wonder if they’ll ever update it, or if essentially releasing Google Analytics codebase to a purchased product is too much of a leap for them.

My client ended up using Mint.

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