The Zombies are here!

Today’s post is not about getting good Omniture reporting it’s about stopping Omniture reporting. Sometimes more data is worse than no data at all.

For most companies getting Omniture code off a site is not a problem. It’s a call to the IT department. But what about businesses with partners and affiliates? What about internationalized sites? Sometimes it’s harder to get the Omniture code off of a site than it is to get it on.

I once worked for a large multinational that did business in 122 countries. Somehow, it became common practice for foreign developers to take the Omniture code from the US site (my bailiwick) and copy and paste it onto their site and add a new reporting suite for their own purposes. This kind of development sends reporting data to the US Omniture suite and to the foreign Omniture suite. So, when I’d see an overnight jump in, say, laptop sales, I’d start my analysis of what drove traffic and find out that a web site in Poland launched with US Omniture code on it. Not only does it inflate my reporting but you’re stealing my server calls! After all, Omniture gives you only so many per month.

In a company that does business in 122 countries just try and get the web marketer for Eastern Europe on the phone. Not easy. And once he’s on the phone and speaking his native Hapsburgian tongue how do you explain “dude, get my Omniture suite name off your site”?

In the Omniture contract it states that if the relationship between the client (you) and Omniture is terminated but the client still has Omniture code on her site or sites and is sending server calls to Omniture’s database they can still charge you. That makes perfect sense. Those thousands or millions of data points do have a storage cost. So take a long term view and don’t create zombies.

Yes, zombies. Even dead web sites can live on and while they may not feed on brains they do feed on server calls. I worked for a media company that had content platforms that they sold to partners all over the world. They’d put up a partner branded site, plug in my company’s content distribution system and share the revenue. They had the eyeballs and drove the traffic we had the goodies to sell. Hundreds and hundreds of partnerships were created over an 8 year period.

Sometimes these business partnerships would die, they would bury the corpse of a site by taking it out of the navigation and stop all marketing efforts, but the zombie site would be alive and well. Not robust and spry mind you, but still out there, still sucking on server calls slowly and methodically with its arms stiffly outstretched. But how does the beastly zombie site stay alive if nobody can find it? Bookmarks, search engine cache, old links buried in forums. You’d be surprised how much traffic a site that was “taken down” can generate years later.

Now you think finding a foreign manager in your own company is hard. Try finding the person in Italy who is a new hire and hasn’t heard of this 3 year old dead partnership and has the power to make the call to IT to do the work and IT prioritizes it somewhere just above cleaning the rings out of the coffee pot. Those are really, really strong zombies. And you might as well abandon that plan to find supplies, tools and weapons and get to that well forested island in the river with the class 4 rapids all around it. Crap, what happens in winter when the river freezes?! Need another plan!

So what’s the solution? If this sounds like your company go talk to the legal department. If they have affiliate and partner agreements they probably have a legal boiler plate they use. Get them to include a clause that states that within 30 days of the termination of the business agreement all Omniture tagging that leads to server calls in your reporting suites must be removed. After 30 days the partner will be billed for those server calls at whatever your Omniture cost per million of server calls is.

Good luck zombie killers!

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