Sep 15, 2009

fish eating fish

Adobe's acquisition of Omniture could represent a lot, but I think it's a good indication of one thing: Adobe has finally concluded that there's money to be had on them internets.

Adobe can make absolutely incredible client software. "Can," not "always." Photoshop, Illustrator and After Effects are arguably monopolies in their respective fields. They're fantastic at making creative works, but for a long time the transition to online was a little rough. So about five years ago, Adobe acquired Macromedia to help them with that transition: how you actually get that work online with Dreamweaver and Flash.

These programs are still awesome, but time has told that the vast majority of people don't use specialty software to power their sites: they use social network platforms like MySpace, Facebook and YouTube because they get 90% or more of the job done for free.

And client-based software is a one-time purchase. There's no monthly fee, there's no subscription, you either buy it or you don't. And though Adobe's fought this with upgrades every 18 months, the economic market has artists and companies questioning whether it was really worth the additional hundreds more. And Adobe's played with online applications like Kuler and Photoshop online. But just like their Air platform, there's not much to be gained by Adobe for providing them.

Web analytics is a hugely lucrative field, because there's so many different things to track and so few know how to do it effectively. Google Analytics, obviously, is making incredible waves by giving away so much data for free. But they can only track page views, they can't track Rich Internet Application use like Flash (at least in Analytics). They track it in YouTube, but of course that just encourages people to be using YouTube as their video source over making their own. And there's a lot of other private trackers that give analytics for video (TubeMogul InPlay comes to mind), but they're incredibly expensive.

If, however, you as a client were able to implement analytics into your Flash media from the beginning, that would be extraordinarily valuable because it would be more secure, less cumbersome and potentially cheaper than employing a 3rd-party client. The site Watching Websites describes how this is probably Adobe withholding the data for a fee, which I definitely see the case: scalable data for a monthly fee that's optional for the user. This would be phenomenal because trackers now really only analyze regular video, not so much more complicated flash-based ads or mobile apps.

As Watching Websites puts it, "everyone making money tracking things - from bit.ly, to Doubleclick, to other analytics firms - is going to be watching this really closely."