net.Genesis Targets E-Businesses With Most Valuable Customers

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E-business technology and services firm net.Genesis, Cambridge, MA, expects to land its first clients this month for its recently announced Most Valuable Customer program, a service the company hopes will help drum up business for its net.Analysis Web-site visitor tracking software.

The $5,000 service, which is designed to show which visitors to an e-commerce site generate the most revenue, essentially gives a one-time snapshot of net.Analysis, a software package that net.Genesis installs for its clients, along with support services, for about $12,000.

The company hopes the service will give the growing number of large enterprise E-businesses -- some of which lack a full understanding of how their site traffic can be monitored and analyzed -- a taste of what net.Genesis technology can teach them. And the company hopes the lowered price will hook clients before competitors Andromedia Inc., San Francisco, and Accrue Software Inc., Sunnyvale, CA, get hold of them with their own software.

At its root, the Most Valuable Customer program is a pragmatic way to show businesses what site-visitor analysis is all about, said Tom Burke, net.Genesis director of marketing communications.

"We're still doing a lot of market education, building awareness," Burke said of net.Genesis, which at five years old is a veteran player in the field. "And I think the good thing is that the market is wide open. For us, the challenge is to make sure that we're taking the right approach and we're grabbing the leadership role in the market."

Under the Most Valuable Customer program, businesses will give net.Genesis a segment of their Web data, usually from roughly 100,000 site visits. The company will then use its net.Analysis software to break those visitors into five sets of 20,000, arranged from best customers to the worst customers.

A Web site that makes most of its money through banner advertising, for example, might have the five groups arranged by which Netizens alighting on its site clicked through to the most pages, thereby seeing the most ads. The least-valuable quintile of visitors might comprise Web surfers who went to the site but jumped back off the home page before clicking through to any other pages. A virtual business might also learn which groups of Web domain names are generating its best visitors in the first place.

Then, net.Genesis will turn over visitor reports along with some interpretation of data and suggestions on other steps the client could take to learn more about customers through a "full-blown implementation of an e-business intelligence solution," Burke said.

He added that he does not foresee clients paying for the service repeatedly.

"That's kind of counter to the way the Web works," Burke said. "It's about immediate gratification, immediate results. The cycle times are much shorter."

Sales of the net.Analysis software give net.Genesis about half its revenue, with the remainder coming from its Professional Services Organization, a unit that advises businesses on designing online measurement programs and integrating different commerce systems, among other tasks.

The company has installed its software for a total of between 250 and 300 clients, Burke said. He declined to reveal whether privately held net.Genesis is profitable, stating only that it is a venture-backed company that is looking at the public market.

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