Thursday, July 5, 2012

Countly's Gorkem Cetin argues open source is best when it comes to app analytics

Recently named as one of four countries of app store revenue growth, Turkey is also home to mobile analytics start up Countly.

But seeing as there's no shortage of app analytics solutions, why should you care about Countly?

Well, its approach is a little different – for one thing, Countly is an open source project.

To find out more about Countly, and exactly how it plans to lure app developers and marketers away from more established solutions, we caught up with Görkem Çetin, one of the company's founders.

Pocket Gamer: Can you give us some background about Countly?

Görkem Çetin: We are four friends with diverse areas of expertise, such as server-side programming, open source, community management, usability, user interface design, and mobile applications.

We had been thinking about merging these capabilities to create a project with value to mobile developers, and had been thinking about various different ideas. We focused on 3-4 great ideas initially, and then agreed on developing an open source mobile analytics platform particularly for mobile game and application developers.

We quickly decided on the domain, shared the responsibilities, and started working hard. That's the story behind Countly.

What's it like operating a tech company in Turkey?

As long as you have a laptop and internet, it’s not very different from the rest of the world.

Turkey is a great country to live in, with its people, location, and history. It has great economic potential in terms of technology companies and competitive business, too, but this is often underestimated because of unstable money policies.

The Turkish gaming market has seen a lot of growth, and Turkish internet users are some of the most engaged in Europe. Those are the positive points.

But high taxes can push companies out of the market, forcing them to work in relatively unproductive or side economies. Smartphone penetration is still lower than other developed countries, although the number of iOS and Android devices on the network is increasing like crazy.

This gives a huge potential to newcomers with bright ideas.

What does Countly offer over existing analytics solutions?

We started Countly with an ambitious aim – to be the first native and open source mobile application analytics platform.

We chose open source since some other analytics platforms just own your data with agreements, and sell it to third parties without asking you. We believe that your data is yours, and users should be able to control the data they store in mobile analytics products.

Therefore our goal is to make it easier to move data from one service to another with ease.

Other than that, we can proudly say that Countly has the best looking user interface among all relevant products. We spent hours and hours refining and finalising the dashboard, and came up with a gorgeous and sexy UI that increases the effectiveness and satisfaction of the administrator.

Last but not least, our users can vote on Countly's feature sets, be a part of our community, and define the project's future roadmap.

Countly is an open source project. Why?

Many open source projects are equal to or superior to their proprietary competitors.

Keeping our project private would actually make it harder for us to match our competitors, and put a greater burden on our shoulders. We also expect that rollout and pilot trial periods will be shorter with Countly, which helps ensure that our platform is available to a wide audience, quickly.

In a nutshell, opening up our source code gives us confidence, faster development times, and better value – something that everyone (including us) needs today.

What features are you looking to add for future versions of Countly?

Many. But first and foremost we are looking forward to implement is event driven analytics, where you can track almost anything, including touches, swipes, x and y coordinates of the player when they died, or levels completed.

You will even be able to view heatmaps of your game using events, and adjust the difficulty of your levels accordingly. Since Countly gives visual cues in true real time, you can track what’s happening in your application at that moment.

That's not all, though, and we're working on plenty of other goodies.

Interested developers can have a look at our roadmap for Countly, and define the future of the project by working with us.

What's the market reaction been to Countly to-date?

Absolutely fantastic! People have been very pleased with our user interface, as well as the quality and completeness of the application.

Of course, after working on our baby for more than six months, we're thrilled at this positive reception. We've amassed more than 1,500 downloads so far, and about 380 watchers on Github.

Many people asked for a paid service, and we've started working on it slowly. We believe in data liberation, so customers will have the opportunity to install Countly on their servers anytime.

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