Like everyone else it appears, I certainly did not see the announcement of Adobe’s acquisition of Omniture for $1.8 billion coming. However, it reminds me of Telefonica’s $5.4 billion mind blowing purchase of Lycos in 2000. A good sales person can make it sound like a perfect match and a bargain to boot. Yet for me, it does not appear a good fit…

In recent years (since November 2005 in fact), the web analytics market has been moving away from big, expensive software projects where you pay simply to collect data. The model is now about collecting data for free – computer memory, disk space and processing power are getting cheaper each year. This has been driven mainly by Google, but also adopted by Microsoft (though that failed) and more recently Yahoo.

The model is, collect data for free and instead use your budget on insights – understanding and taking action. Avinash Kaushik has famously been banging this drum since 2004 – he calls it his 10/90 rule i.e. spend 90% of your budget on insights and action and 10% on the technology (for a free product, the 10% is the resource required to implement). And that rule is not just applicable to small business – many Fortune/FTSE 500 companies use Google Analytics.

Is the future orange?

Do you view Adobe’s move of paying big bucks for Omniture and its 5000 or so clients, as being in the opposite direction to the market? I am no fortune teller, but I would be happy to place a small wager on where things stand in 5 years – more orange than green…