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« Adobe buys Omniture : What are they thinking? | Main | Survey Says: Thoughts from X Change on Online Survey Sample Size »


Gary, we are in heated agreement about the questions surrounding this acquisition. Regarding your comment "Eric is no fan of Omniture" nothing could be further from the truth. I am a huge fan of the successes they are helping their customers create --- Jim Hassert's process-driven culture around Omniture products at AOL, Shari Cleary's amazing use of their technology at MTV Networks, and your own client Greg Dowling at Nokia, working to redefine how SiteCatalyst will be used to measure the mobile Internet.

I personally think that Omniture is a great company --- driven from the top, passionate throughout, and powered by some of the most rich technology in the sector. Yeah, I may have historical challenges with members of their management team, but whatever ... we can agree to disagree.

If you detect bias in my posts, and I suspect you do, it comes from the conversations I'm having. As I commented in my second post, the sentiment from customers I'm talking to is (still) running 2:1 against the sale of Omniture to Adobe --- not that anyone gets to vote.

As you said, the benefits to Omniture's customers are not obvious to most people. The ideas and opportunities the companies have put forth seem good but don't seem to deliver short-term value to customers. One medium-sized one (but a huge brand) I talked to said they like the deal since they're huge users of Flash but mostly because they thought they'd get more leverage over the company. Not the most ringing endorsement from where I sit.

I'm totally willing to be wrong and would LOVE to have to eat my words in 12 months when Adobe is delivering even better web analytics than we get today from Omniture. Let's mark our calendars ... in mid-September 2010 if Adobe's Omniture line is crushing the competition and delivering value commensurate with costs I will, what, slam a green beer at the X Change? Wear only Omniture green all conference? Hell, I'll publicly hug Matt Belkin ...

(Okay, maybe not hug.)

In the end Aaron Gray (who had to live through one of these types of acquisitions) make a salient point, one I have echoed: out-of-sector acquisitions have a poor history of delivering value in the web analytics industry. By my score we have Google Analytics and the potential at Yahoo Web Analytics (which are free) on the "provides value" side of the equation, and NetGenesis, Andromedia, Deepmetrics, WebTrends, Clicktracks, and probably a few I'm forgetting on the "fails somehow" side.

Not that it matters but this is one of those situations that becomes self-clarifying over time. We'll know about Omniture's Q3 in a month, and how the integration will really look in six. At least that is comforting ...

I agree with Adam, this changes everything. I'm just not sure it changes everything the way we think it will.


Eric T. Peterson
Web Analytics Demystified, Inc.

I love Eric's comment about "heated agreement" - exactly. I really couldn't find anything to disagree with in his comment and not much in his earlier posts though I'm less interested in what Omniture's management was thinking and more in what Adobe's is thinking. The seller side of an acquisition usually has less interesting reasons (like money) than the buyer and the reasons in general matter rather less.

I retract the "no fan" description, though I think Eric protests too much. I could easily describe many of my friends and Semphonic co-workers the same way and without any shame.

Being in business and working closely with companies and products we invariably develop some rooting interests. These work in all sorts of funny ways and are neither especially good nor bad. We owe our clients our best opinion - and it's important that those opinions be unbiased by self-interest, but that doesn't mean they must be unbiased by experience or uncolored by emotion. That would be no sort of opinion at all.

I myself have a soft-spot for Microsoft dating back to may early days programming Windows 3.x. What makes this perplexing is that Windows 3.x was one of the most arcane, poorly documented, and crash-prone software systems ever. You give your heart where it takes you - and just as in relationships - it's often the worst challenges that win you over (at least when you're young). This hasn't stopped me from thinking that many of Microsoft's products are poor, and it didn't stop me from dismissing their measurement effort as a bad imitation of GA.

On the other hand, I admit to being no fan of Google - probably for no better reason than that they have so many legions of fans. Yet I deeply admire and use many of their products.

Nor do individual products or what people do with them necessarily have much meaning in this context. It's easy to admire what Jesse does with Excel without committing to liking Microsoft or even Excel. And I needn't be a fan of Java as a programming language to admire a beautiful application written with it. I can, at the same time and without any sense of contradiction, like Discover, detest Survey and be indifferent to Search Center while admitting that people can do good or bad things with each.

But even if I don't think it's a big deal, I suppose everyone should get to pick their own labels when it comes to stuff like that.

And I have to say that I hated those green drinks and feel pretty much the same way about green beer. In fact, I just realized that perhaps the very worst part of this deal is that Matt Jacobs may not be able to come out as a Huddle Leader to X Change. Now that's a bummer.

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