John Pozadzides on Woopra, Taking on Google, and the Future of Real-Time Web Analytics


johnp_woopra_socialnerdiaHave you ever wanted to see who is on your web site at any given time? I'm not talking about the number of page views that your web site got this month. I'm talking about now, right now. Well, Woopra might be able to help.

Last night, on The Social Nerdia Show! live podcast's 27th episode, I had a conversation with John Pozadzides, the CEO of iFusion Labs, the parent company of Woopra, an innovative web analytics application that lets you see who your visitors are and what they are doing, in real-time.
You can listen to the entire conversation with John about blogging, analytics, marketing, social media, and much more, on the Flash player below. You can also subscribe to all our shows on iTunes, stream it from a mobile phone on Stitcher, and listen to it LIVE on Thursday nights on blogtalkradio.


Enter Woopra

Woopra makes me very excited about the future of real-time because real-time is how the web should be. It's what the web needs to be. I've done my share of waiting, refreshing, and reloading, and if 2010 is not the year for the real-time web to explode and break out of the tech bubble and into the mainstream, then I'm going to hang out in real-time in real-life with actual friends under the real-time sky drinking some real-time water. So take note Google. And take note everybody else. Anyone creating online products and services has a bit to learn from the accomplishments of the FriendFeeds, FourSquares, Radian6s, and Woopras of the world.

I first heard about John P. and Woopra at WordCamp Dallas. I must admit that I did not realize what Woopra was at first. The words "live" and "real-time" simply did not sink in. But once installed, I was able to see who was visting socialnerdia.com at that point. I was used to getting some of this info from Google, but Google Analytics always provided it a day too late. Woopra is about the now, and that adds a whole new layer of meaning to how we measure the web.

woopra_analytics_ifusionlabs_socialnerdia"When you're looking at Woopra, you're actually seeing visitors live on your web site and you can watch them move from page to page and see how long and how many times they've been on your web site," John explained about what Woopra does."We have one section called 'live' and one section called 'analytics.' You can combine historical information with live information," he added.

Taking on Google aka "Goliath"

"Woopra takes it to the next level," John said about his company's application compared to the widely used Google Analytics. "Instead of looking at what happened yesterday, we're looking at what's happening now." Of course, Google's "yesterday" might not remain that way, so I asked John about what how he feels about competing with Google . "This is truly a David vs Goliath kind of competition. Google has enough money to do whatever they want tomorrow."

Woopra began John's partners realized that they could try to solve a problem with web analytics applications. They were not trying to take on anyone.  Regarding whether he thinks that Google is coming after them to crush them, John responded "I don't think the folks at Google are like that. If they see an idea they really like they make an offer." The Woopra team is trying not to focus on the competition, but on their product and their customers.

In addition to real-time, Woopra also differentiates itself with a "chat (that) enables you to take action on what it is that you're seeing" and with notifications about ecommerce activities.

Getting on everyone's radar with social media

The product itself is what has created buzz online for Woopra. "We had a unique service offering that was of real value. We were very clear about the features of that offering."  Now, listen to these numbers: 6 employees working on Woopra, and 100,000 web sites using it. Obviously, there is something in Woopra that people see valuable, including people like Leo Laporte.

And excitement becomes buzz. Woopra has received some attention from major blogs and podcasts, even though no money has ever been spent on marketing. "Our savior has been social media. Our users have been the ones driving our success. We genuinely listen to them and we love them, and they return the favor. That has been the engine."

John thinks the corporate world may need to adjust its mindset towards social media. "The world is changing and people like Gary V. or Cali Lewis can instantaneously sway opinions by leveraging social media. Conversations are taking place... the only question is whether you choose to ignore them or fight the fight."

While there is a risk involved in entering the transparent, honest, and authentic environment created in social media, John believes that it might be more risky to be afraid of making mistakes. "People will forgive you for making a mistake but they will not forgive you for ignoring them... Companies are going to make mistakes. The way you get forgiven is by having a broader, stronger relationship so people can see beyond it."

We briefly discussed Apple and I'll just go ahead and say that I'm skeptic of Apple's ability to stay quiet online for much longer. And I think John, a recent Mac convert, agrees.

On blogging and specialization

johnp_woopra_socialnerdiaJohn's personal blog has been used for a lot of the Woopra demos so I had to ask John about his blogging philosophy.  The slogan of One Man's Blog is 'Specialization is for insects.' He asked out loud, "why limit yourself to one particular thing? Back in the 17th century and 18th century, the people that were really admired were the ones that were very well-rounded. Somehow in our modern society we have moved away from that. We tend to specialize in everything."

Woopra's blog has a similar approach, bringing up various topics that are relevant to the community it is trying to reach, instead of just pushing out a lot of info about web analytics.

"Design may play some small role, but it is not the most important thing," John told me about the importance of emphasizing content. "Unique topics and interesting stories will attract readers."

The future of analytics

As I said before, I'm quite excited about all things real-time on the web. Traditional media has been unable to capture real-time information about its viewers/listeners/readers. I mean, you can't know exactly how and when anyone is listening to a radio show. "The big problem with media in general is that we don't truly know how many people are participating at any given time." Woopra is working on ways to capture the information we need for various forms of web media, including podcasts and videos. That won't solve Channel 8's problem, but if we think of the internet as a new delivery mechanism.. then we'll be able to use innovative technologies to solve some of those lingering traditional problems."

And what about sharing the information that Woopra provides on a web site? John said that they are already working on this and are polishing it so that anyone can show off their live statistics as a widget. "It's in the lab, and when we do have it ready, we'll make it available."

I told John that one thing I feel continues to be missing in web analytics is a means to understand what all the data means. If an application like Woopra could tell its users to Tweet more or less often, or chat with users in Madagascar, or add more advertising, then we could not just have a lot of fascinating raw data, but also get help on how to use it. "Today, we provide data. Ultimately, it would be very interesting if Woopra had an intelligent aspect to provide Predictive recommendations."

Analytics going social?

We ended the conversation talking about adding social to the mix. I was wondering if we could compare things like our page views with Woopra's billions of aggregated page views to get some social insight, and John gave me a hint about where Woopra could be headed for. "You can keep an eye out for some very social functionality down the road to allow you to do some comparison between the things you're seeing and what the community is seeing," he said, and I'm looking forward to it.

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