Macromedia to Bring Analysis to Design Products

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Macromedia Inc. expects to begin reaping the rewards of last year's buyout of e-business software firm Andromedia Inc. when it rolls out products combining the two firms' technology this month.


In December, San Francisco-based Macromedia, a Web site design company perhaps best known as the maker of Flash, scooped up Andromedia, which makes Web site collaborative filtering software that pitches products to individuals based on the assumption that people who behave similarly online will desire similar goods.


Now Macromedia wants to let Web developers and IT pros install collaborative filtering into their sites so they're ready for consumer analysis from the get-go, said Kent Godfrey, senior vice president of strategic solutions at Macromedia and former CEO of Andromedia.


In other words, marketers building new sites will be able to put in a piece of the e-commerce puzzle during the early design stage. The other option usually involves waiting until a site is up and running before considering how to go about installing analysis capability -- a more time-consuming proposition that often comes down to "rip the site apart and tag it for analysis," Godfrey said.


Macromedia plans to introduce a combination of its Dreamweaver site design technology and its Aria site activity-analysis software, which tracks, records and reports on customer behavior. The new technology is slated for availability this month.


Dreamweaver Objects for Aria is designed to let Web developers build analysis of page views, click-streams and visitor navigation into their sites. The product uses a Web interface, and the analysis "objects" can be installed in a "drag-and-drop" manner using a mouse.


The company also plans to set up a public space on the Internet designed to let designers download Web site elements that perform prebuilt functions such as product or movie recommendations. Another new product, LikeMinds eMail, is designed to manage personalized e-mail campaigns.


This month, Macromedia announced a deal with customer relationship management firm Art Technology Group Inc., Cambridge, MA, to collaborate on marketing, sales and development efforts.


Macromedia claims Dreamweaver is the dominant "Web authoring" product, with just under 70 percent market share. The company considers GoLive, a design package made by Adobe Systems Inc., San Jose, CA, its main competition.


Godfrey said the time has come for merging analysis capability with site design technology as the Web development community becomes closer to the previously separate world of corporate IT. He noted that e-commerce companies increasingly want to set the standard involved in their sites' design so they're less likely to face problems with integrating new technology down the road.


"I think the stakes weren't as high before," Godfrey said. "You think back a year ago, the term 'Webmaster' was a commonly used term. And that's because most Web sites could be implemented by a Webmaster -- one person."


But that's changed as sites have become dependent on larger staffs to develop and maintain them. For example, almost 200 full-timers operate Macromedia's Web properties. The company's online media drew 5.35 million unique visitors in February, according to Media Metrix Inc.


Flash Player, the viewing variable in Macromedia's Web site design equation, can run music tracks and complex animation on sites. As of last month, almost 90 percent of Web browsers had Macromedia Flash Player installed on their computers, according to a study from NPD Research. Flash Player is included with Windows 98, Netscape Navigator, America Online and Apple Macintosh operating systems. Macromedia gives it away on the Web as well.
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