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Google acquired Urchin and has offered its free analytics software for three and a half years. Microsoft first started promising a challenger back in 2007, but shuttered the beta in February.

But Yahoo has been a little slow on this front. Although they acquired analytics company IndexTools just over a year ago, and rumor has it Yahoo’s version is better than Google’s, they still have yet to offer it to the general public.

But last week, that started to change. Yahoo! Web Analytics will be available to Yahoo advertisers:

If you’re an advertiser in need of some serious analytics, you’ve probably been watching for our Yahoo! Web Analytics enterprise tool—and you’ll be glad to know that it’s now available for free to search and display advertisers supported by a Yahoo! account team.

In February, an independent report from CMS Watch reported that Yahoo Analytics was better than Google Analytics (okay, so I guess it was more than a rumor). Yahoo highlight some of the features that are unique to Yahoo’s offering:

Yahoo! Web Analytics offers user insight that you’re not likely to find in other free analytics tools, including demographic and behavioral insight on your website visitors, near-real-time reporting, and visibility into as many as 50 different types of actions that take place on your site.

[via marketingpilgrim.com]