Web Market Metrics Mashup: 2010

The comScore episode being written about since last Friday–with Michael Arrington of TechCrunch, Jason Calacanis of Mahalo, Fred Wilson the famed VC-et al, aside–the bigger deal with this fiasco in my mind: is comScore’s new ‘Hybrid’ web ratings gig GOING TO WORK…and be believed? They need to convince people and rationalize their recent switch in posture in how they analyze Web traffic. Then the issue of what they want to charge comes into play, even if that is what set off the Web frenzy to begin with.

See the story on this everywhere, including a great summary on TheNextWeb > here. For those not yet in the loop, comScore has launched a new product that basically tries to combine the best of the two different ways to measure Web traffic, Panel vs. Sample. They also want to impose a revised fee mechanism for this, which set off the current dialogue on AllThingsD:, ValleyWag and many other places. It is from this, that the fiasco touched off.

Nielsen’s been trying to play this game, too as it were, throwing Broadcast into the mix for fun. Many [including myself in a MoM[S] blog posting on the subject from last year > here] have written about comScore ceding with this move to Quantcast’s success; comScore needed to be in FRONT on this already & isn’t. My key word above was “ceding”, which in my mind is what comScore appears to have done.

Now it may be true that this provides great Media visibility to a couple of key Web players, mentioned above. Michael Arrington, for one, hasn’t had a dustup like this since, oh October or so, with the Scamville revelations [Pulitzer Prize work in my view, btw.] But there also Billions in ad budgets potentially at stake in this, and so this whole deal matters. A lot. For us on the Sales side, navigating this properly will be critical in our Agency/Client relationships.

comScore, as I said above, had long taken a stance that basically ceded one side of this game more or less [i.e. the Sample, or “non-Panel” approach], to Quantcast. With SO many publishers complaining about the disparity in their internal Server numbers vs. what comScore reports as their traffic on an ongoing basis, their navigating into the launch of a ‘Hybrid’ product needed to be smooth & clean. But like a politician’s “parsing” on a particular subject, this looks like less of an objective choice on their part, and more like a need to be relevant. Big difference.

Even if ‘buckets of ink’ aren’t spilled on the Internet [to borrow on a quote about the Press of yesteryear], comScore’s fighting with the reigning denizens of the blogosphere is unlikely to be a winning stance.

Make SURE the ‘Hybrid’ product works, comScore, justify it simply & concisely, and FIX the pricing issue. And do it quickly, please. If your importance in the marketplace wasn’t as strong as it is, none of this would have mattered, no one would have cared.

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~ by MindOnMediaSales on January 25, 2010.

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