Back in 1999 I wrote a column that pointed out that it’s really hard to get accurate numbers on visitors to Web sites, that MediaMetrix can’t be trusted (it undercounts critically important at work users), and its competitors aren’t much better.
Fast forward to 2004. Wired News’ Adam Penenberg writes a column that says that it’s really hard to get accurate numbers on visitors to Web sites, that MediaMetrix (now Comscore MediaMetrix) can’t be trusted (it undercounts critically important at work users), and that it’s competitors aren’t much better.
Adam’s right. Plus ca change… And today, the whole explosion of RSS and blogging promises to further cloud the statistics that marketers want.
In my column, I argued that the whole concept of “reach” as the be-all and end-all yardstick of success on the Web had some pretty negative implications, favoring sites and services with broad and superficial followings. I still think that’s the case. If there’s a future for businesses and services that offer depth and rich value rather than “quick hit,” low-loyalty visitors — and of course, sitting here at Salon, I think there is — then we need to do better than MediaMetrix, Neilsen and company.
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