On Friday of last week, January 22nd, The Business Insider inspired, what has now become a lengthy discussion regarding the differences between online measurement solutions and their accuracy. Throughout this conversation various misleading statements have been made by Comscore regarding Quantcast and our service.
We are happy to provide some clarity and a healthy challenge.
Because we provide a free service, doesn’t mean we don’t take measurement seriously. In fact, we’re the only service to submit to the Media Ratings Council for accreditation without being forced into it by our industry bodies. We do make money from advertising services, by helping major media companies create more compelling audience packages they can sell to advertisers.
Our service is used extensively by publishers, widget companies, video platforms, ad networks and more, all of which require accurate measurement and so our system assigns traffic and audience to the organizations that control distribution. This means that frequently multiple tags are initiated from the same page, but we systematically detect instances in which the same tag is fired twice simultaneously for the same piece of content. We don’t charge to do this because it’s done automatically – we couldn’t possibly manually audit every one of the millions of web destinations that use our service.
The Internet is highly fragmented and makes extensive use of syndication and 3rd party distribution – this is one reason panel based solutions don’t work (there are more). In the three years since Quantcast launched the first direct measurement audience service, Comscore has labeled our service as harmful and our approach as rogue. With their current attempt to replicate it, it would appear we might be onto something after all. The free market favors innovators and, while we might take some arrows, our unwavering commitment is what really matters, and, at Quantcast, we know that our customers – from individual bloggers to the world’s largest media companies – trust us to help them improve their business.
Measuring the Internet is hard and Comscore rightly point out the complexity of dealing with the issues that have been highlighted by the IAB (Internet Advertising Bureau) such as multiple tags and robots.
So here’s a challenge for Comscore:
By the end of this week – for every media property that you measure – publish an IAB compliant traffic report that shows your detection of double tagged content. While you’re at it, how about also showing the amount of traffic that can be attributed to robots and even how many page views are generated as result of auto-refresh. For extra points, how about showing what the auto refresh period is too? Then allow any publisher, who chooses, to make this data publicly available so everyone can take a look.
We’re up for it, are you?