Last updated Jan 17, 2013 - send me an email/message if you want this updated. @paulzoff
Analytics is everything to an online company. It provides the metrics to measure your online products/company's growth (shrinkage), visitors and reach. There are a lot of analytic tools out there. Some are free and some are paid for. Google Analytics is the largest free tool. It is used by over 17 million websites (http://bit.ly/11W6sX).
You may be familiar with terms like conversion rate, # of visits, Visitor OS but are you familiar with the hazards of Google Analytics?
Your websites usage information is owned by another company.
Your competitors and potential competitors can see your market share and revenue or, worse, pay to see your market share.
You don't know where your usage information is being used or whom it is being sold to.
Your website visitors are used against you if you use Google Adwords. Google is able to bid up the cost of Adwords to your website because it knows your volume and website usage.
If you use Magento or any Google Checkout system, Google has your volume purchase information and sells this to competitors.
Here is a list of alternatives to Google Analytics - http://bit.ly/11W6sX (Right side column)