WebTrends Upgrade: The Price is Wrong! - InformationWeek

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Software // Information Management
Commentary
8/29/2007
09:40 AM
Phil Kemelor
Phil Kemelor
Commentary
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WebTrends Upgrade: The Price is Wrong!

What troubles me is how pricing based on "unique requirements" has become the standard operating procedure among the largest Web analytics firms - not just WebTrends. Perhaps this is just a reflection of a software space maturing and coming up with more enterprisey licensing models - "whatever you've got is what you'll pay" - but for you, the customer, this is not a good thing. I rarely meet a customer who completely understands their license or contract agreement.

Not long after my "WebTrends Release Boosts Scoring, Segmentation" post, WebTrends' Director of Product Marketing Matt Langie contacted me to tell me that I'd gotten their pricing wrong. Pricing for Marketing Data Warehouse is not $1,000 per month, as I thought I'd been told during the demo. Langie said this statement contained errors:

"Existing customers of the Marketing Warehouse will be upgraded to Score and Visitor Intelligence at no additional cost."

It should read:

"Existing customers of the WebTrends Marketing Warehouse will be upgraded to WebTrends Visitor Intelligence at no additional cost." He added, "In addition, WebTrends Marketing Warehouse is no longer a standalone product that is licensed, but serves as the underlying database which powers the two new products in ML2, WebTrends Score, and WebTrends Visitor Intelligence. As such, new licensees of WebTrends Score or WebTrends Visitor Intelligence will now receive the Marketing Warehouse inclusive in these product offerings."

To this I responded with the following questions - questions that you might ask as a current or potential customer:• What is the additional cost of Score for existing customers? • What is the cost of Score for new customers? • What is the cost of both Score and VI if purchased by new customers together?

"We are not publicly disclosing the specific pricing for our new product offerings," Langie responded. "Each customer's unique requirements ultimately drive their level of investment into these new solutions. I would also add that both WebTrends Visitor Intelligence and WebTrends Score are priced on a usage model."

OK, so WebTrends doesn't want to publicly disclose its pricing, but I find the explanation somewhat hard to decipher. If you're a WebTrends customer, or thinking about becoming a customer, I suggest you ask the same questions to clarify your costs.

What troubles me, though, is how pricing based on "unique requirements" has become the standard operating procedure among the largest Web analytics firms - not just WebTrends. Perhaps this is just a reflection of a software space maturing and coming up with more enterprisey licensing models - "whatever you've got is what you'll pay" - but for you, the customer, this is not a good thing. I rarely meet a customer who completely understands their license or contract agreement. Vendors may consider their pricing as "flexible," but it's just plain confusing to most, and after my exchange with Mr. Langie, I'm left believing that the pricing for Marketing Lab 2 will remain a mystery to most until the first invoice, unless they're quite tenacious in their exploration.

Speaking of becoming a new WebTrends customer, the company announced its "Move to ML2" program earlier this month. Designed to play on the potential squeamishness being felt by Visual Sciences' HBX customers these days due to the likely sale of the company, the "Move to ML2" program allows HBX Analytics licensees to apply up to 100 percent license credit towards a new investment in WebTrends Marketing Lab 2 (ML2).

HBX customers considering taking the bait should know - as we've discussed in the Web Analytics Report - that switching analytics vendors is not a trivial task. Against the license credit, you need to consider costs and time for transferring historical data from HBX to Web Trends ML2 - that is, unless you decide to throw that data away. Also think about going through the process of another implementation. WebTrends is not offering any other credits towards implementation, data migration, and so forth at this time, according to Langie.

While I don't think Visual Sciences is doing a great job of making its customers feel secure by announcing the company is for sale, it might be worth seeing how this story plays out. Given tightening capital markets, it might take longer for Visual Sciences to find a buyer than originally planned.

Phil Kemelor is Vice President of Strategic Consulting Services for Semphonic, a Web analytics consultancy. He is also a lead analyst with CMS Watch and consults with enterprises looking to select Web analytics technologies or apply best practices.What troubles me is how pricing based on "unique requirements" has become the standard operating procedure among the largest Web analytics firms - not just WebTrends. Perhaps this is just a reflection of a software space maturing and coming up with more enterprisey licensing models - "whatever you've got is what you'll pay" - but for you, the customer, this is not a good thing. I rarely meet a customer who completely understands their license or contract agreement.

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