Omniture out of fresh ideas, sells to Adobe


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At the recent Web Analytics XChange conference, four of the founding fathers of the analytics industry debated the future for web analytics. Amongst them was John Pestana (a founder and current Director of Omniture), Brett Crosby (Urchin/Google), Matt Cutler (founder of NetGenesis), and Bob Page (co-founder of Accrue, now a Yahoo!).

The consensus, if there was one, was that the industry was approaching maturity, and there was some speculation that the next generation of web analytics was on the horizon, just about to disrupt the status quo. Revolutionary in nature, and built for today’s ecommerce challenges, the new generation would brush away the old.

Little did we know what John Pestana already knew: that a few days later Omniture would be acquired for $1.8bn, a signal that the industry is rapidly approaching maturity and maybe even a wave of consolidation as we saw in October 2007 in the Business Intelligence industry.

That the Omniture leadership sold up at this point, after such rapid growth, indicates that they’ve been out of fresh ideas. The stock price, of course, is about one half of what it was two years ago, although it has had a good run in the last few months, in common with many other stocks. But you don’t sell up if you’re hell bent on revolution.

Omniture was a revolutionary company in its day. But if your margins are under pressure from commoditization and the company has gotten so big that it seems unable to innovate, then it can be difficult to figure out where to go.

Perhaps John Pestana’s reply when asked what the one thing he’d change about the industry—’Google’— was closer to the mark than the flippant and sarcastic way it was delivered.

Charles Nicholls
Charles Nicholls is a social commerce expert and board advisor to several e-commerce startups. He founded SeeWhy, a real-time personalization and machine learning platform, which was sold to SAP. Serving as SVP of product, he built SAP Upscale Commerce, an e-commerce platform for direct-to-consumer brands and the mid-market. Today, Charles serves as chief strategy officer for SimplicityDX, a commerce experience company. He has worked on strategy and projects for leading ecommerce companies worldwide, including Amazon, eBay, Google and many others.


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