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BizReport : Research archives : April 23, 2007

IAB asks for an audit of web metrics firms

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is not content with the status quo of current web measurement, and is asking two of the largest metrics firms - comScore and Nielsen//Netratings - to make a few changes. Chief among them, being audited themselves.

by Kristina Knight

The IAB is asking the firms to submit to third party audits so that advertisers have a better idea of how both parties compile their measurement services. Such audit requests, made by the IAB and by the Media Rating Council (MRC) have been on-going for the last few years but so far neither measurement service has complied. Now in addition to the IAB and MRC, the Association of National Advertisers is joining the fight.

"To persist in using panels that potentially undercount or ignore the diverse populations that are the future of consumer marketing is to deny marketers the insights they need to build their businesses," wrote IAB President and CEO Randall Rothenberg in an open letter to Magid M. Abraham, the President and CEO of comScore, Inc., and William Pulver, the President and CEO Nielsen//NetRatings. "And it certainly appears to us as if these audiences are being undercounted or disregarded."

There have long been discrepancies between the measurements of comScore and Nielsen//Netratings and the IAB membership's server logs, giving question to whether the measurement companies are over-and-under measuring online visitors. There are also vast differences between comScore metrics and those of Nielsen//Netratings. By having the metrics firms submit to third party audits, the IAB is hoping to give advertisers a reason for the differences and possibly cut down on the disparity between reporting services.

Tags: comScore, IAB, Nielsen//NetRatings, online advertising metrics, online marketing

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