I and the web analytics Industry in general was flabbergasted by the announcement of the Adobe Omniture marriage and there’s been a big ‘huh?’ debate going on since; which I see no reason to elaborate on. Eric does (as usual) some good analysis/commentary in his two posts Thoughts on Adobe + Omniture and More color on Adobe + Omniture.
However; I would like to set free my long term belief about this, as I can see some positive momentum in justifying the deal – people getting lulled into thinking that it might make sense (it does not).
To put it politely, I am probably less optimistic about the value of this particular acquisition than most are (quite honestly, I believe it’s broken). Though, I am happy to see that we all agree about this not being a deal about revenue and/or bettering the overall margin of Adobe product sales, which is something Omniture cannot help with, quite the opposite actually. So it must be about the technology, and there is no doubt about the fact that uniting content and tracking is an inevitable next step for the analytics industry.
That said, in the desire to unite content and tracking (and the subsequent optimization) I assume that those involved (Adobe) understand that the current data-collection methodology – primarily Script/Pixel tagging – is a HACK. It was never intended to be more than an intermediate delivery mechanism and a way of circumventing the IT department until we got true access to the data stream. So the future should not, and is unlikely to, include a, as some put it “installing tags” task (something which we debated vigorously at X change earlier this month). If we think about the task (detailed event tracking) at hand for a second and extrapolate today’s web-page status into a future of web-applications (which is happening as we speak). In this scenario we must also accept the arrival of a Web OS of a kind – which could be the browser, which is what we are seeing today, but it could also be something like Chrome OS or a Adobe AIR permutation if you like (to keep a positive tone in this post). In this scenario, which I again believe is inevitable, we have some history to draw our conclusions from, which is, if I use MS Windows as an example, 25 years of event handling and logging. You would NEVER dream of tagging a windows application, why?, because the whole application is built around an event log which you can choose to tap into if needed. The Web OS (in whatever shape or form it arrives) will most certainly and without doubt include the same thinking.
If you want my quick quotable conclusion and a quick $100 bet; what we’ve seen is the best of Omniture and any succeeding years from here will be downhill in revenue and likely innovation, furthermore the content and tracking marriage will be won and or lost on a Web OS level – and thus likely to be between Google, Microsoft and perhaps even somebody like Mozilla.
Sorry for the rant, but being an Entrepreneur and as frugal as I am, it just hurts to see the right thinking (content+tracking strategy), but $1.8B wasted on the wrong execution.
Anywho, from one Entrepreneur to another: congrats to Josh, John and team. Well done!
(1) I’m told that SAP looked at Omniture as well (briefly though), which in the current situation (not thinking ahead) and without disrupting Omniture business would have made much more sense.
/ Dennis R. Mortensen (@dennismortensen)