Fighting Over The Page View

This is infuriating. All over the web, the pundits are talking about the death of the page view as a significant metric in the online advertising business.  Yet, the article I just linked is all about how site publishers and media sellers are whining about discrepancies in page view totals between their server logs and what Nielsen and ComScore pick up.  So, predictably, the IAB and the MRC are stepping in to audit the process of both firms.

What do we hope to get out of this review process?  Do we want to bring the numbers closer together?  I'd argue that's the exact opposite of what we want.  I think it's important to have an independent third party with its own methodology measuring website traffic.  And screw the differences between page views in the server log and page views as projected from a web panel...

After all, who do you trust more?  The publisher of a website who can count every internal pop-up ad as a separate visit?  Or the independent third party with the methodology that might not be perfect, but is at least uniformly applied?

Panel measurement may never be as accurate a measure of page views or unique visitors as server logs CAN be.  But we can't trust unaudited server logs, either.  If we do, we end up with publishers who try to game the system.

I think we need some independence from publisher pressure for ComScore and Nielsen. And we need to stop trying to get them to consensus.  They're two companies with differing methodologies.  We don't need to make them look like one another.  Let the market decide.