Web Archaeologist

Job Titles of the Future: Michelle Friedman


Who: Michelle Friedman
Company: Organic Online Inc.
Age: 37
Has held title for: 7 months
Previous title: Web developer, MicroWarehouse
Degree: BS in math and computer science, Emory University; MBA in marketing, Fordham University


Michelle Friedman has never gone on a dig of ancient ruins. But she does know a thing or two about archaeology — of the Web. At Organic Online, an Internet advertising and development company whose clients include Levi Strauss and Colgate-Palmolive, Friedman excavates information: How many visitors are coming to a site? Through what page are they entering? Ideally, Friedman says, she is able to watch a site from the day of its launch — “so that every change can be a calculated change, instead of a guess.”

Who needs a Web archaeologist?

Lots of companies do. They build successful sites that get lots of traffic, but they have no idea how people get to those sites.

How do you begin an excavation?

I try to make sense of the numbers. If 75% of people who come to a site use Netscape, then we can code the site to be Netscape-compatible. If Mother’s Day increases traffic on a site, then the calendar matters.

Do you worry about privacy?

No. I’m looking at people in the aggregate. I’m not looking at individuals.