Click wars: Ratings companies strike back

Media buying company Zenith Media's research director, Deb Perry, who conducted a three-month study of internet site visitation in relation to web advertising, said internet advertisers, publishers and ratings companies were misguided in their use of "big numbers" to measure the popularity of websites.

Perry cited recent statistics given by internet ratings company Media Metrix, which she said listed 500 websites that attracted more than 50,000 Australian visitors per month. According to Media Metrix, the survey sample included 2000 online panellists.

"What does that 50,000 people mean?" Perry asked. "They're just projecting their panel out to the population."

Media Metrix's vice president and director of research for Asia-Pacific, Jonathon Jephcott, admitted all market research, including that surrounding the internet, incurred "sampling error". Moreover, Jephcott agreed internet audiences were "volatile", thus the sampling error for their behaviour would be considerable.

However, he pointed out that the use of a small sample as a means by which to estimate the behaviour of a larger sample formed the basis of all market research, including that of television, which he said had been conclusively proven to be accurate.

"This suggests a misunderstanding of sample survey theory," Jephcott said. "She's (Perry) a distinguished researcher . . . she's being ungenerous."

Similarly, Vivien Feyen, marketing director for internet ratings company IMR Worldwide, rejected Perry's criticism as "not well informed". Feyen agreed that web ratings terms, the validity of which Perry challenged, such as clicks and hits were "vogue terms", but suggested internet market research methodology was "much more sophisticated than Zenith knows".

Perry compared the current standard of internet market research to that used in cinema and outdoor (billboard and public transport) advertising. She said companies spent relatively small percentages of their marketing budgets on cinema and outdoor advertising because accurate demographic figures regarding cinema audiences and exposure to outdoor sites were not available.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Byron Kaye

PC World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?