Should Blogger or Web Site Owners Really Boycott comScore?

By Dipankar Das, Gaea News Network
Monday, January 25, 2010

web I wrote a post yesterday about Jason Calacanis’s argument regarding Web Analytics company comScore. He complained how ComScore’s method of counting traffic websites, via a sample of users, was incorrect and now they are offering “$10,000 to get your stats correct extortion ring”. So, he requested bloggers and website owners to boycott comScore.

comScore investor Fred commented about Jason’s statement.  He countered that comScore invested over $100 mm per year to manage the data. ” Their move to a hybrid model is a reaction to many of the criticisms that people have had of their panel model over the years.”  Also, it is not easy to maintain huge traffic data. Somebody has to pay for this.

Comscore’s CMO Linda Abraham  strongly countered Jason’ argument.

  • She said that comScore uses server side measurement system that measures people, not machines or cookies. The other analytics companies don’t bring under consideration all of the factors like cookie deletion, multiple browsers, multiple machines for the same users, multiple devices etc. That’s why their counts are so high.
  • The server side measurement is not only the pixel tracking. The hybrid system really differentiate between cookies and real people. It doesn’t show cookie based inflated measurement.
  • The initial $5000 that comScore charges is required for audit that gives access to the users to comScore report for 6 months.
  • The other $10000 per year is required to access on going comScore direct report.

Auditing beacons on every page to identify pages with multiple beacons that result in over-counting, and pages with no beacon that result in undercounting.

  • She further says that subscription is the only revenue source they use to cover cost. In this process, comScore only makes 9% of pre-tax margin. Google and Quantcast can offer free metrics because they sell data to the target advertising. comScore doesn’t like to adopt business model based on advertising.

We provide a valuable service and we are proud of it. We offer the most accurate 3rd audience measurement tools available which are paid for in real dollars by more than 1,200 companies who, unlike you, freely choose them despite available ‘free’ services.

Michael Arrington thinks that Linda is right in her views and disagrees with Jason.  He said that comScore measures traffic directly from website servers using panels and statistical analysis and it produces near perfect result. Mike uses comScore data first when it is available and he will continue to do this.

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