Why would you join the Web Analytics Association?

What would you want the WAA to do for you as a member? Would you want to be involved, or just pay for some benefits you could receive without really having to sink your valuable time into it (yes, it’s perfectly fine for you to pay and not put anything in, it’s why you’re paying!)?

If you have recently let your membership lapse, why was that? Were you expecting something you didn’t get, or did you join not knowing what to expect?

If you were in charge of the WAA, what would you do differently?

Just curious…

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  1. What would you want the WAA to do for you as a member?
    -Provide materials (tools, documents, templates, training videos, et al) that would help me do my job better
    -Market the value of digital measurement
    -Foster a community where professionals can easily connect and share information

    Would you want to be involved?
    Yes. I want to rollup my sleeves and get shit done. If i’m good at creating interactive web sites, why can’t I work on the site? If I can create amazing email marketing campaigns, why can’t I be the email marketing admin for the WAA? The problem is “involved” means, regardless of what others say, participating on bloated committees where action is slow or even dead. We need to stop playing parliamentary procedure games where action is slowed by the heavy handed oversite of the leadership body and start plugging people directly into roles where they can have immediate impact.

    If you were in charge of the WAA, what would you do differently?
    Kill the process. Kill the bureaucracy. Kill the committees. Create small, nimble teams that come together for a specific project and then disband. I know my opinion is not a popular one but I want much less patting ourselves on the back for throwing parties and sponsoring events and much MUCH more action geared towards providing value to the lay WAA member.

    Posted May 12, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Permalink
  2. Randy

    Let’s do a run down from the benefits list on WAA:

    Discounts to Industry Events – Ok…I’m not big on “industry events”, or my company is already paying. No value.

    Networking Opportunities – Web Analytics Wed. Free, and local. Twitter, LinkedIn groups.

    Ground-floor Involvement – Opportunities to help develop and shape industry standards and best practices. How? WAA isn’t recognized like IEEE or other certification groups

    Continuing Education – Various focused and expert-level programs to ultimately result in certification for web analytics professionals. – Certifications don’t go very far; when they do, it’s usually for certain tools

    Publication Discounts – How quaint, printed materials. I’d rather read any number of free blogs and listen to podcasts to get cutting edge ideas.

    Conference Discounts – Seems like a double-count here with “Industry Events”
    Reduced entry fees for eMetrics Summit and other industry events.

    Discussion List – Explore topics with other influential members of the web analytics industry.
    Twitter, blogs…social media!

    Member Directory – LinkedIn.

    Benefits are looking pretty slim here for $199/yr. I’ll never be able to consume all of the free, high quality content out there, and combined with getting the most web experience I can and being a leader in moving digital analytics forward at every company I work with…well, I don’t see what value the WAA is providing.

    Heck, just by putting the word “Omniture” on my LinkedIn profile, I get recruiters calling me off the hook. It’s not hard to be found in this economy.

    Posted May 12, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Permalink
  3. Alex B

    This is going to sound overly negative, and I don’t mean to be harsh– there are MANY people in the organization who I consider leaders in the field, passionate and hard working. If this sounds like I am condemning them, well.. my apologies in advance, because that is not my intent.

    That all being said. I saw next to 0 benefit from being a member of the WAA (~4 years ago) now. The networking opportunities were overrated (vastly superior to attend WAW and meet the community etc from my point of view). The material may have been great.. I don’t know, I never had time to read it.

    The industry is so bloody hot right now that being a member is by no means a requisite, and quite frankly, I would question the wisdom of an employer who required membership to it in the first place since there is really no barrier of entry.

    In the end, a year or so lapsed and I don’t think I got ANYTHING out of the membership. So I let it lapse.

    I don’t have many answers, only complaints (sorry about that), but there was just very little value for my money, and this was well before the rates were upped to $200 a year.

    Posted May 13, 2011 at 10:09 am | Permalink
  4. I may have a different perspective because I am not, nor have I been, a member (Though I may be in the future). While I appreciate that the organization is trying to form some unity in a very spread-out industry, as an independent contractor (with no lack of job opps), it was hard to justify spending the money when I don’t really feel like the resources already available to me are lacking. I can follow the discussions, get to know the people, and attend the WAWs, plus pretty much anyone contributing education resources to WAA is also contributing to #measure, where it is accessible for free. I feel like by not being a member all I have missed is the politics, though perhaps it only seems that way because I don’t know what I’m missing?

    I do see a future for the organization, though, and do hope to be a member someday (once I settle into a more permanent role somewhere) so I can contribute and see a WAA membership become something someone in our industry wouldn’t want to be without.

    Posted May 13, 2011 at 10:11 am | Permalink
  5. I joined the WAA because I didn’t know what the benefits of being a member were, and I thought that was the way to find out. I thought it was worth the $199 investment to see. (And to be clear, it was my investment, not my company’s.)

    Since then, I have gotten involved via joining the Membership Committee and worked on a number of different projects, and I feel that’s been a great experience. Those involved in the Twitter #measure community do tend to talk to lots of folks, but you definitely see a difference just chatting via social media vs. actively working to deliver a project together. (A better sense of how they work vs. what they say, perhaps.)

    I do agree that we (the WAA) need to continue to develop the benefits of being a member. Not everyone wants to get super involved (though I will say you get more out of it by getting involved, but everyone is different and I certainly understand that.) However, on the flip side, we do need smart dedicated individuals to work on increasing those benefits 🙂 So we do need some of that involvement.

    Jason, I think you make a great point actually. Having a shorter-term way to get involved, and in a smaller group than a fully-fledged committee, might be a way to get more things done and get more people involved, since it’s a shorter commitment. (Aka “I know I can spare some time over the next month but I can’t all the time since our busy season is coming up” – etc.) I do think we need committees to oversee those initiatives (e.g. check in – how’s this going, how’s this going, okay.) But short-term projects with smaller groups sounds great to me. To some extent, there’s some of that going on now – there was a sub-committee that worked on the Gala, I’m a part of a sub-committee (there are only three of us) working on Career Development information for members. We work on our own and just check in with Membership to say what’s up. But perhaps figuring out how to fine tune that would be good. After all, it would be kind of cool to be able to reach out to WAA members via email and say “We’re working on X, who wants to participate?” Might get some folks that aren’t currently too involved if they get to sign up for it, and there’s a timeframe around it.

    Okay, I think I’ve rambled enough. The short version? I agree there need to be more benefits and want to help to develop those.

    Posted May 13, 2011 at 11:36 am | Permalink
  6. oh where to start…

    You *should* join to the WAA to be a part of a the group driving change and helping to shape this industry. However, outside of a few items like the Code Of Ethics, I am not not seeing this happen.

    I still disagree with the way that nominations were held for the most recent elections. And I still disagree with the “slate” method of electing board members. I *am* a current member, and will continue to be as I was told that I needed to be to have a voice heard, but the concept that the only way to be active is to be on some bloated committee is nonsense.

    That being said, I am a big fan of these local symposiums that are being put on by local groups across the country. It is about the community, not the current processes that are in place. And things that are truly done for the good of the community versus what is being done for the association seem to be two different paths. Perhaps this is just my perception of what is going on.


    Posted May 13, 2011 at 11:49 am | Permalink
  7. Chris J. @measurefuture

    Some thoughts, from someone who has been client-side and provider-side (and who is now client-side once again):

    1) Cost: Most practitioners are budget-strapped (hence the notable rise in the interest \ usage of “free tools” over the past 2-3 years) and have trouble getting T&E to regional free or low cost events. $199 is a steep barrier to entry for most practitioners.

    Why not drop the rate in half?

    2) Networking opportunities – limited. There’s an opportunity here – why not some local, afternoon events, perhaps WAA can help organize them and local members can host them at their offices?

    I had success with this idea (along with some friends from McKinsey) with a group called “SWIG” (Strategic Web Insights Group) a few years ago, we took turns hosting lunch and shares or late afternoon meetings in our conference rooms, before the economy changed (and people moved around…). If we couldn’t get guest speakers, we picked some folks from amongst our local group (NYC area) and picked a topic and discussed it, it was a great way for some folks to get some public speaking opportunities to potentially prep for a shot to speak at the “big league” events in our industry.

    I can’t speak to anything else yet on the networking \ meeting topic, yet, but one additional note on my suggestion here. I certainly enjoy the WaW (Wed.) events – but I know from my “SWIG” experience that you’d get one group of people who could manage a few hours a month on an afternoon, but not make the evening events for various reasons.

    3) Being involved: If I do join, I certainly hope to be involved in an actionable manner. The comments I’m seeing here, though (and have heard elsewhere) are certainly food for thought (and enough to give a prospective member some pause…). I like the idea of short-term subcommitees for those of us who are time challenged and can only offer up moments in time to be involved. Given the seasonality of many of the client-side industries, I would think agile short-term groups that come together in certain times of the year would be very effective.

    4) Research: Separate from sharing our tweets, presentations at period meetings, blogs, etc., isn’t it high time the WAA had a journal of some sort (even online)? That could foster more interaction. The IEEE was cited above; most organizations have research journals or a way to share (and get peer review) research.

    There’s a lot of free content out there, but most of it is vendor-centric. Finding a way to share ideas and get feedback from a variety of viewpoints would help members, I think.

    – CJ

    Posted May 13, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Permalink
  8. Chris

    Most of the publicity around WAA, including in its newsletter, has to do with the Board nominations and the awards. So, my first impression is that the WAA exists to help people expand their resumes.

    My second impression is that WAA’s best-served constituency is newbies, because it does sponsor the BaseCamps.

    My third impression is that it’s a secret society (joke). But on the WAA web site the BoD minutes haven’t been updated in months, the committees section never goes beyond a mission statement, and the local events are rare and sparsely documented.

    If I were in charge I’d:
    – vastly increase the web site’s coverage of what the organization is doing, from the BoD down through the exec director and the committees.
    – have a financial statement. Are member fees paying for BoD’s travel and lodging for example? Where does the money go?
    – be the mouthpiece of the profession. Represent us in legislation, regulations, news stories, and also on blogs where people are saying uninformed things about web analytics. Manage our reputation.
    – be a clearinghouse for news and considered opinions about the legislation and regulations and news stories. Right now the web site has a couple links to a couple of Congress bills and other links to documents with no author, no date … not sure what they are.
    – be a clearinghouse for local face to face networking opportunities outside of WAW. I can name a couple of weekly lunches that web analytics people in my area might want to go to; they are not strictly WA but they are about online and/or marketing.

    I’m a member only because my company is willing to pay for it. If management asked, I would not be able to justify membership.

    Posted May 13, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Permalink
  9. Will be joining as a member soon. Would love to find out what the industry has in this field and would love to get in touch with some key folks to bounce of ideas.

    Posted May 13, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Permalink
  10. I wear a couple of hats where all this is concerned. I’m in the process of renewing our corporate membership at the moment and I’m happy to be doing so. I had my own membership previously, so I’m not just a member because the company is. At the same time, I feel a lack of inclusion because I represent a vendor. Now, this is an industry thing, not confined to WAA. I can’t get on speaking panels without paying a giant wad of sponsorship, even to talk about tool-agnostic concepts, because I work for a tool vendor. What, none of the practioners out there are selling something? But I digress…

    Personally, I just want the WAA site to work! Site search doesn’t work! How can WAA be a flagship without doing own-site analysis. This was provided free in the WAA Championships but not acted upon.

    The people working / volunteering in WAA are great but yes, where are the BoD minutes? We have an annual hoopla and then radio silence. If I join a WAA committee I get the odd meeting request to join a meet at 1am but no clear help on how to be on a committee. I’d start a chapter in my country if I wasn’t the only member so I depend on US WAA guidance.

    I think WAA has improved dramatically in the last year or so and I think this will continue. But I do think that vendors should be part of the party – our money is happily accepted, we just want to play too!

    Posted May 14, 2011 at 4:30 am | Permalink
  11. Jason Thompson asked pretty much the same thing back in September 2010: http://emptymind.org/waa-is-it-for-me/

    Posted May 15, 2011 at 10:50 am | Permalink