After I posted on Google buying Urchin, I got a call from the folks over at WebTrends. They felt a bit overlooked, after all, they just got bought too. Sure, I told them, I had noticed, but they were bought by a private equity fund, and that means one thing – the company is going to be prettied up and sold again, either to another search/marketing player (MSFT, IAC, Publicis come to mind) or to the public in a Marchex-like IPO.
No no, the very nice PR person told me. They really want to make this business work, as it was not strategic to its original owner (NetIQ) anymore.
Awww, come on, I retorted. These guys want to make a buck, and that’s that.
Then I got to thinking. Why is there a buck to be made in this space, anyway? Ahh…there’s the rub indeed. Arbitrage, of course – knowing what others want to know and profiting from it. Companies like Urchin and Webtrends offer insight into what visitors really are doing on the web, as well as insights into how marketer’s campaigns might be going, and what might be the wisest use of your marketing/sales spend. For the time being, such knowledge is hard to come by – Google is one such repository, Yahoo another, and then there are a number of independents. One was Urchin -but Google now owns it. Another is WebTrends. Watch this company over the next year. My prediction: It will be sold again.
PS – Good overview of the Urchin purchase by Andrew Goodman.