Closer scrutiny for media’s web stats

The New York Times reports on‘s troubles with determining how many users visit the site and who they are, a trend I predict is likely to increase in coming days with other media outlets.

All evidence suggests that advertisers are becoming increasingly concerned with the accuracy of measuring users’ activities. The Audit Bureau of Circulation is pushing a web data initiative, as is the traditionally broadcast-only Nielsen ratings.

Editors and managers should be taking a hard, honest look at where their traffic comes from and whether it will be able to stand up naked in its full glory to advertisers. Fortunately, many newspapers seem committed to building local traffic, not just focusing on raw page views.

On Forbes, the NYTimes reports:

“A closer look at the numbers raises questions about’s industry-leading success. For its claim of a worldwide audience of nearly 15.3 million, it has been citing February data from comScore Media Metrix, one of the two leading providers of third-party Web traffic data.

There are several problems with that statistic, though, and comScore has since revised the figure downward to less than 13.2 million as part of a broader revamping of its worldwide data for many sites. Jack Flanagan, executive vice president at comScore Media Metrix, said the new figures were released “a couple of months ago” after it changed its methods for estimating global audiences.

There is also the question, given’s user figures, of where those visitors were going. According to comScore, 45 percent of its February traffic went to, a companion Web site heavy on car reviews and photos. About three-quarters of the traffic came from outside the United States.”

[Via MediaBistro]

Author: Danny Sanchez

Danny Sanchez is the Audience Development Manager at Tribune's and Danny has been with Tribune since 2005 in a variety of editorial, digital and product development roles in Hartford, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale. He has also previously worked in the newsrooms of the Tampa Bay Times and The Miami Herald.