UPDATE: Our letter to the Editor of the New York Times was published. It reads:
Your expose on the shortcomings of panel-based digital media measurement — entitled How Many Site Hits? Depends Who’s Counting — was welcome, but failed to discuss alternative approaches that are being widely adopted today.
Panels are a sample, and therefore sensitive to sampling error — especially for the Internet’s fragmented media. For broadcast, panels are a necessity. But Internet content is delivered piecemeal to individuals’ computers and is therefore directly measurable via a census.
Quantcast has pioneered a new methodology combining panels with direct ‘site-side’ measurement pixels that collect traffic data on a census basis. Direct measurement is not a panacea. But with appropriate normalization, its the surest path to truth in digital audience measurement.
Inevitably, our standards — and the very currency of digital advertising — will migrate in this fashion.
This approach is already widely adopted by our Quantified Publishers — from Fox and CBS News to Gawker Media and WordPress — who seek a more precise alternative to panel-only approaches.