WebTrends, LiveStats, WebSideStory – are all software vendors with no standards for calculating hits, views and more. Competing methods of measuring traffic online leave advertisers and marketers almost flying blind!
From the start, measuring online traffic was a juggling act. Rather than simply relying on a Web site’s traffic reports, major advertisers traditionally compared that data with independent services. Those outfits argue that there are many reasons not to just count the clicks off a Web site’s server logs. For example, comScore points out that servers would count pop-up ads as a page view if their tracking service didn’t filter them out.
Independent traffic analysis becomes more important as bigger chunks of advertising flow online and the threat of “click fraud,” grows bigger. Newer services, such as Alexa and Hitwise, are also alternatives to the older traffic-measuring companies and providing some free traffic data via their Web sites.
Buzz Marketing BuzzKILL: Overtime a variety of metrics will be applied to different services until one measurement that combines a set of standards can emerge. Until that happens Web metrics will remain a crapshoot.