Both fear and a new product line is what I’m thinking.
In mid 2009 I turned my attention to Goodbarry. Not sure how I found the site, but when I got there, the site was not only well designed (old site no longer available after Adobe’s purchase) but it was very intriguing. Goodbarry was the retail brand for the core system called Business Catalyst.
First, for over 10 years companies have tried to make a product that makes it ‘easy’ to create and build a website. Pretty much all of them have failed. Why? Every developer knows that there is really no such thing as ‘out of the box’ solution (yet) that makes it easy to build a website, integrate an e-commerce platform or CMS. In the end, someone has to learn it, implement it, tweak it, modify it for the client’s needs while navigating the learning curve.
Anyway, it was obvious from the start that Goodbarry knew what it was doing simply by how they attracted both business owners and developers – and embraced them both.
Additionally, they catered to both ‘mom and pop’ but also made it a point to let developers know that they could create custom layouts, coding and still use the Business Catalyst system.
But, could they really succeed where so many others have failed?
Marketing agencies, web shops and production houses have been looking for easier ways to plug websites into CMS’s. Many of these needs have been fulfilled with Drupal, Joomla, Modx and WordPress. Yet, even though these are open-source systems they still require a significant amount of work (or expertise) to make them work with each new product. Sure, there are shortcuts, reusable code, plug-ins, and various other community oriented tools that spring forth, but in order to get different functionality that sites need (e-commerce, analytics, email marketing..etc) the development team now has to work with different third-party tools and then try to integrate those into this open source environment. Easy right?
So why would a company create a closed system amidst an open-source boom and try to do what so many others have failed to do? They weren’t just after mom & pop. If they were, no one would care. Neither were they focused on hard corps developers. So what’s the catch?
If I’m right, this company scared the crap out of Adobe for the following reasons:
1. In the history of building websites, this was the first company that could render a lot of Adobe products ‘less needed’ to get a really good site up and running.
2. If it were to gain momentum and a developer following independent of Adobe – it could easily become a direct competitor for ‘building sites’ in the web space.
3. It had the potential to corner the market in the CMS space – something that Adobe wants to be a part of.
4. Multiple software features under one roof – the combination of e-commerce, email marketing, contact management and analytics as a single package sent shockwaves through the R&D department of Adobe.
This is a good move for Adobe. This company had waaaay too much promise. My initial thought is that they would squash the project and sweep it under the rug. The more I think about it though – I think they are going to build some kind of Business Suite around this product – and someone cater to both Developers and Clients directly.
Will be watching this one closely.