, Google Partnership Discussions

The Washington Post reported talks between Google and, a hosted CRM application vendor.

This move is another direct challenge to Microsoft, which offers CRM products, but also could add an element to Google Analytics that only a handful of other companies have: the ability to track offline conversions to online advertising.

Visual Sciences, formerly known as WebSideStory, is one such competitor that will be impacted by this alliance. Using the API, an analytics company is able to pass the lead information along with the advertising info - thus creating a two-edged sword for improving ROI.

The first and most obvious advantage is the ability to improve spends for offline conversions. The second, and more attractive to large scale sales teams, is the ability to determine where the better quality leads originate, and thus pass them to the right sales people.

One wonders how far in advance this alliance was in the minds of the people at Google, or if the creative CEO at saw it as a great way to partner with a company that could help it improve its market share against Microsoft's CRM products.

Give your opinions here.

About the author

Frank Watson has been involved with the Web since it started. For the past five years, he headed SEM for FXCM -- at one time one of the top 25 spenders with AdWords. He has worked with most of the major analytics companies and pioneered the ability to tie online marketing with offline conversion.

He has now started his own marketing agency, Kangamurra Media. This new venture will keep him busy when he is not editing the Search Engine Watch forums, blogging at a number of authoritative sites, and developing some interesting online community sites.

He was one of the first 100 AdWords Professionals, a Yahoo and Overture Ambassador, and a member or mod of many of the industry forums. He is also on the Click Quality Council and has worked hard to diminish click fraud.