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A Growing Trend

WebTrends announced plans to acquire OpenSoft Communications in a stock-for-stock deal valued at roughly $1.7 million. Under terms of the deal, UK-based OpenSoft will change its name to WebTrends UK Limited, while the company's 14 staffers will stay put in London.

OpenSoft has been a WebTrends product reseller for nearly half a decade, providing sales and aftermarket support on the start-up's flagship WebTrends Professional Suite. The popular software tracks everything from page views to Web surfers' astrological signs, and spits out attractive, customizable reports for any Webmaster's viewing pleasure.

Although pricey, WebTrends software is hands down one of the best in the business for tracking and analyzing eyeballs on any number of levels. Because of the sticker shock, the company sells its products mainly to ISPs and deep-pocketed corporations.

While a tremendous value with aesthetics to boot, much of WebTrends software could use a little support. That goes double for corporate big-wigs who often can't find the ON switch to their PCs. Installing and configuring a WebTrends package onto your local Mom-and-Pop Web host provider takes at least a cursory knowledge of working with servers.

This week, WebTrends unveiled the newest release of its original CommerceTrends brainchild, with version 3.0. The software collects clickstream data for Web site traffic analysis. Which is a fancy way of saying it compiles user activity within a site - where you came from, where you went once you got there, and how long you stuck around - that sort of thing.

The gist is to help e-commerce Web properties turn browsers into buyers by providing customizable tracking tools. Companies can find out things like which day of the week and what hours in the day get the most virtual foot traffic. WebTrends' analytical software spends most of its time compiling enormous log files not typically seen by the average user, and parlaying them into flashy usage reports.

The package starts at a steep $25,000 a pop, which is unfortunately more than most sites make in a month with their e-commerce initiatives.

One of the company's more intriguing nascent revenue streams is as an application-service-provider. WebTrends Live was launched earlier this year, and it allows customers to pay an a la carte subscription fee to use all of the company's popular Web site analysis tools, without the hefty price tag or the hassles of installing the software themselves.

Any questions or comments, love letters or hate mail? As always, feel free to forward them to kblack@internet.com.

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