Thursday, February 1, 2007

Google Analytics informs me that I am fluent in Chinese

It is well known that Google Analytics is a nice technology, but I would have never guessed that it could reveal a useful skill that I didn't know I had - the ability to write fluent chinese. Well, that isn't exactly true, but in effect it has done that. Let me explain...

NOTE: this blog entry was originally posted February 2nd, 2007 on my previous blogging system (

In my various writings on dev2dev, I have provided links back to the demo site I work on - That site contains a number of demos running on WebLogic Portal 9.2 related to Enterprise Mashups, Ajax, Drag and Drop, and Google Gadget technology. If you have read my stuff, you will see the code name Adrenaline, which is a part of the WLP Mashup story. The demos for Adrenaline are on The site is a great way for WLP product engineers like myself to demonstrate new WLP features, or new uses of the existing WLP product.

Google Analytics

Many web admins know of Google Analytics - it is a free service provided by the mother ship. It provides a set of great features for answering questions like:

  • How many people have visited my website?
  • How many page views do I have per day?
  • What Google Search terms drive people to my site?
  • Where are my visitors from?

Not only is it useful, it is really easy to implement. You simply need to add a javascript snippet in every page on your site. Google does the rest. About a month ago, I implemented Google Analytics for so we can understand better how popular the demo site was, and what people liked looking at. Although we are all technical people who work on it, the business concept of ROI (investment being our time) is important to us.

I took a look at my Google Analytics console for today and saw something strange. See the image below.

The fact that Adrenaline is not a big hit in Africa and Greenland is not what I found strange. I would like to see more Canadians visiting, but that isn't entirely strange either. What was strange is that a new website became a significant referrer - see the pie chart on the right*. For the first time, dev2dev showed up twice as a top referrer. Why?

Although the UI cuts off the suffix, I could see that the second dev2dev is none other than OK, that must be the sister site for dev2dev in China. That made sense, but something didn't. Who is driving traffic to from the Chinese dev2dev?

The Skill I Never Knew I Had

Curious, I did a search on for - and it is at this point that I discovered my latent skill. I can write in Chinese! My article on Adrenaline is also on, but translated into Chinese. I had a native speaker take a look, and it is no babelfish hack job - it is a real translation. I didn't know I could do that! Well, ok, the real story is we must be employing chinese translators for dev2dev. I didn't know this, but I think it's a great idea.

But what I really like is how Google Analytics revealed an unexpected use of That is what analytics is all about - finding illuminating patterns in the behavior of customers. In this case, Google delivered. Now we have data that can drive a business decision: do we hire a translator for

And to my anonymous translator: thank you!

* the pie chart shows a blurred entry. It appears to be a mail server from Japan, but since I don't why it is showing up, I blurred it. It may somehow identify a BEA customer, and so I played it safe and obscured it.

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