Mix and match: The perfect open-source Web commerce company

Open source has a great chance to take a big role in Web commerce and advertising, but requires the right combination: Acquia, Magento, OpenX.

Occasionally I get brilliant ideas about who should merge with whom in open source. OK, so it's very occasionally, but I think I'll start sharing them under a "mix and match" headline.

Forget fantasy football. It's time for "fantasy open source."

Over the past few weeks I've spent a fair amount of time with the Acquia team, the company that offers a commercial distribution of the ubiquitous Drupal open-source Web content management system. Drupal is very strong in Web publishing and has an amazing community following, which makes it a nice pairing for two open-source projects/companies that help vendors make money over the Internet.

The first is OpenX, an open-source ad-server company that I've written about several times, and which I continue to believe offers a disruptive way to shake up the online advertising business, especially for smaller Web publishers. While Drupal is used by plenty of marquee brands like Intel and FedEx, it has a strong base of support within these smaller Web publishers.

Why not give such small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) a way to build a Web presence (Drupal) and a way to drive customers to their sites (OpenX) at the same time?

While we're at it, why not also provide the e-commerce engine to turn ad-related interest into paying customers? Magento, which I've also covered several times, is a natural fit.

Yes, Magento, like Drupal and OpenX, has its share of big customers, including Germany's equivalent of REI, Globetrotter. But Magento already has a lot of traction within the mid-market segment that Drupal and OpenX also serve.

Granted, mergers and acquisitions always look better on paper than in actuality, but I think the combination could be potent. Each company comes with strong communities and strong products. Each also contributes to a very interesting, subscription plus transaction-based revenue stream.

Disagree? Which companies (at least one of which must be open source) do you think should get together?

Follow me on Twitter @mjasay.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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