We're really happy with the intuitive UI, combined with the video tutorial Talend offers. I'm not a developer and this was the first time I explored a data integration tool but it was very easy to learn how to use Talend. I'm very happy with how quickly I got up to speed and how the UI allows us to develop these operations processes without having IT support. That has been a huge plus and it is helping us scale our processes while the company grows.Vadim Telyatnikov, Director of Advertising Operations
A leading teen destination website
Founded by brother-and-sister teen entrepreneur duo, Dave and Catherine Cook, myYearbook.com is the third largest social network in the United States. myYearbook has grown from a single high school to more than 10 million unique visitors and 2 billion page views per month. The average myYearbook member visits the site eight times per month and spends 30 minutes per visit.
The site's user base is over 90% American, with 75% of its new memberships from the United States and 25% from other countries; membership currently totals 16.1 million. According to Nielsen NetRatings, myYearbook was one of the top ranked destination sites for teens ages 12 to 17 in September 2006.
Multiple sources, multiple formats
myYearbook has created a service that is highly valued by its members and a platform for marketers to reach and engage this audience in a friendly and effective way. The company's direct sales force sells big brands directly through campaigns and anything that doesn't sell in this arena is treated as leftover inventory. "I work with many different partners on any given day," says Vadim Telyatnikov, Director of Advertising Operations, "and figure out where the leftover ad inventory will be placed - networks like Google, Yahoo, and Value Click. And then we work with publishers to help them generate revenue."
The Advertising Department was pulling web statistics from various web sites to allow easy reporting and analysis. The data - grabbed manually - were in a number of different formats and needed transforming to match a predefined format that could be stored in Excel. This is a strategic application for myYearbook, but it was very time consuming and needed to be more efficient. "The reason I started looking at Talend and a few other solutions was that I wanted to migrate directly to the database," says Vadim Telyatnikov. "After doing some research, Talend seemed better for a couple of reasons: it's cost effective; it's open source; and the UI technology is simple and straightforward."
myYearbook's database of choice is PostgresSQL and all the data pulled from online reporting ends up as CSV Excel files. "In the long run, what I need to do," says Vadim Telyatnikov, "is to automate the pulling of the data, but right now we do it manually and store it in Excel files. At that point Talend takes over, converts all the data from the different partners into a single format and then stores it into the database."
Getting up to speed
Getting started was easy. "I learned directly on the tool," says Vadim Telyatnikov. "I'm not a developer, but I have a bit of programming and IT background. After I downloaded Talend Open Studio for Data Integration, I just played around with it. I spent some time with the tutorials and the examples that Talend had. And I used the forum a little bit to get some answers to some deeper questions. With any other tool, it might have taken me a month to figure out a package that really fit our needs but, by that time, using Talend, we had 80% or 90% of the processes already built. We got some support at the end that showed us some tools I missed while learning it by myself, but essentially we did it on our own."
A big plus was the intuitive UI. "We're really happy with it," adds Vadim Telyatnikov. "The UI combined with the video tutorial Talend offers made it very easy to learn the tool. It took me a couple of weeks to really get a feel for it and start using it, but just the fact that I was able to figure out how to do everything on my own was amazing. This was the first time I explored a data integration tool, or any tool of this type for that matter. I was very happy with how quickly I got up to speed. The UI is great in terms of us being able to develop these operations processes without having IT support. That has been a huge plus and it is helping us scale our processes while the company grows."
Ramp-up time was rapid as well. It took myYearbook less than two months to get the tool to its current state. Although still a work-in-progress, there are already indications of improved efficiency. "Once we build those components that will automatically go and pull data from the partners, we'll be extremely efficient," says Vadim Telyatnikov, "but that's still in the pipeline waiting to be developed. Another project under test in the queue is a method of grabbing data through email."
"Overall, I'm happy with the tool because even though we're not yet using it to its full extent, it has taken us further toward where we want to go," adds Vadim Telyatnikov. "We couldn't scale Excel, but we can scale using Talend. At this point I don't know how we'd even get the data into a database without a tool like Talend."