comScore and Nielsen NetRatings to be audited!

The Wall Street Journal reported today that…

The Interactive Advertising Bureau asked the two major Web-traffic-measurement companies, comScore Inc. and Nielsen//NetRatings, to submit to an outside audit to find out why the two companies report different audience sizes for the same Web sites.

Ok, it’s 2007. The Internet has existed for over a decade. During that time, we’ve all watched comScore/MediaMetrix, Nielsen and other would-be measurement/ratings gangster firms pulling numbers out of their…. analytic data models, presumably making tons of money from the BDC’s who pay them for their statistical brilliance.  Finally the IAB has stepped up to the plate and managed to ask the emperor for some threads.   The WSJ notes,

Reston, Va.-based comScore has agreed. New York-based Nielsen//NetRatings was to respond today. Disparities between these companies’ numbers and Web sites’ internal server logs are no secret. For instance, unique U.S. visitors to NBC Universal’s online women’s network, iVillage, reached 15.5 million in March, according to comScore. Nielsen//NetRatings measured the audience at 12 million. IVillage says it had 26.5 million unique visitors in March. ComScore and Nielsen//NetRatings rely on audience panels, which the IAB calls archaic.

(gleeful emphasis mine)

At least Alexa was smart enough to duck for cover when it changed its model to a measurement of relative share of traffic.  This is useful if you’re interested in (a) comparing similar sites which are (b) likely to be frequented by a typical Alexa toolbar user, and (c-z) among other caveats, you allow for the meteoric rise of YouTube within the zero-sum universe that is Alexa’s database.  I actually love using Alexa as a bizdev tool… but I digress. As for Nielsen//NetRatings… I was always a huge skeptic of their reports, and so I can’t wait to see what happens with this new inquiry.


About danspira

My blog is at: My face in real life appears at a higher resolution, although I do feel pixelated sometimes.

Posted on April 23, 2007, in Advertising, Analytics. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Comscore recently reported that 19.3 million Canadians visited Sympatico MSN sites in the fourth quarter of 2006 despite the Canadian online universe in 2006 being estimated at less than 20 million people.

    There are only 30 million or so Canadians… in the world, eh? MSN has approximately 10% of the search market (according to comScore, of course) so.I’m scratchin’ my head on this one.

    comScore says, “comScore’s panel methodologies reflect the investment of millions of dollars and years of research and development. We are confident that they will stand the scrutiny of a third-party evaluation or audit.” Millions of dollars, eh? 19.3 million dollars?

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