Thank you, Kas, for your comment... and the link to your blog, Negative Logic. While it was heartening to see I was not alone in having initial difficulties, either I'm luckier than you, or being a former pundit still carries a little weight.
I got my e-mail response last night, but only read it this morning... in an e-mail I can't reach from here (I have my computer dual-booting Windows 2000 and SuSE Linux, and of course the e-mail is sitting in the wrong partition). But the Google techs indicated they were having difficulties with the verification routine (and it appears they still are). The good news is that the site would collect data even without verification... and that proved to be true.
I checked Google Analytics at roughly 6 AM EST, first using Mozilla under Linux, then an hour later with my preferred Firefox under Windows 2000. I mention this because Mozilla and GA didn't get along. I suspect I'm missing an undefined plug-in, as the reports were simply unreadable in Mozilla. With Firefox it was another story.
The good news is GA did indeed have yesterday's traffic analyzed. I admit I was surprised at the volume of information GA provided, including data on pages on which I had not placed the tracking code! The software is indeed potent, but it will take me some time to learn to use it to the most benefit. Each report page includes explanatory text that will make that task much easier, but even the basic information can work to show me where some adjustment might be needed.
The bad news, which leaves IndexTools my preferred analytics tool, is the data is clearly not intended for near-real-time reporting. Great for the big picture, but if you're a micro-manager or simply ultra-curious GA doesn't cut it.
My quick review can be summed up by saying Google Analytics is a nice tool for the economically-challenged webmaster or marketing manager who has the patience to wait out the installation issues.
Now, let me address some of the comments I saw on Kas' blog:
It should be pretty obvious to anyone following events in the IT world (including former pundits like myself) what's going on between Microsoft and Google. I'm personally glad it's happening, as this competition is driving some bold advances in Internet technology. Google may not be exactly doing no harm, but I think we'll all benefit from the effort.
You see, the really good web analytics companies offer astounding products at equally astounding prices... making many small companies settle for cut-rate solutions. By taking a top drawer product like Urchin and making it accessible to the small shops, Google is not only giving the little guy a helping hand, but they are encouraging the other top drawer companies to look at their offerings a lot closer. As a result, some will eventually start cutting their rates, while others will look to see how they can make their products even better to justify their rates. Ideally, we'll see both. There may be some bruising in the market, but the end result will be a lot healthier for that bruising.
I'm giving Google Analytics some time to clean up, then I will watch the competition to see how they respond.
And thank you, Kas, for taking an interest in my blog!