Urchin – Suicide by acquisition?

September 27, 2005

Okay, I’ve seen some corporate silliness in my time (*cough* *telcos* *cough*) but this is one of the finer recent examples…

Just to run down the players real quick, TextDrive is a pretty well respected hosting company, particularly among the ubergeek community (hosting sites like “alistapart” for instance). Urchin is an expensive but well regarded “web analytics” package (“web analytics” is marketing-speak for a statistics package that costs 10x more than your garden variety web stats, but offers some features you don’t find on standard stats packages — if you really need ’em, you suck it up and pay the money)

Over the past few months, TextDrive has changed out some of their infrastructure, requiring Urchin to relicense them; in the meantime, Urchin has gotten purchased by Google, and apparently is too busy getting their google-money on to bother returning a phonecall or e-mail from TextDrive to relicense them.

The story, from Simplicio…

Since about mid-August or so, the fine staff have called, e-mailed, and otherwise tried to hunt down someone at Urchin that could help them pay the company money.

Since the Google acquisition, it seems that Urchin has moved datacenters and is “re-evaluating” their pricing model. Looks like they’re pushing hard for a subscription-based, Hosted model.

Meanwhile, thousands of TextDrive’s loyal customers have no web analytics package because Google’s done gone and swallowed them up.

I’ve been kind of watching this with some background amusement, but it didn’t really trip my “astonished disbelief” filter until

  1. Some of TextDrive’s more vocal customers decided to start bitching about the situation publicly (the page linked above), and…
  2. Urchin’s VP of sales (the -very guy- who hasn’t been returning TextDrive’s calls, mind you), finds the page, makes a comment saying that they’re “really busy” — and yet still doesn’t return the call.

Let me see if I’ve got this straight — they’re too busy to return the call and take the money, but not too busy to troll for bad press and try to spin it…

lol… I wondered where these kind of ‘net business people had gone since the bubble burst; I figured most of them ended up in the food service or housekeeping industries…

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