A Unique Visitor Weighs In $SCOR

by francine Hardaway on January 24, 2010

"Jason Calacanis Punches Comscore In The Face. Comscore Punches Back. Fred Wilson Drags Us Into It. $SCORWoke up this morning to the breakup of Brangelina,  the new litter of Shiba Inu puppies, and this answer to a post of Jason's that I read yesterday and felt unequipped to weigh in on.  I don't put ads on my blog, I don't have do look at my numbers, and I am happier not to. Honestly, I'd probably quit writing if I looked. 

Yesterday afternoon, while this bitch-meme was escalating, I was at a rather more benign event in Phoenix where newbies were discussing how to develop passionate communities using social media. (Which probably means the stakes for this kind of argument are going up every day as all the small business owners discover this new means of marketing).

But reading all the posts by various parties to the debate, I have to say that what's missing now is the point of view of someone like myself: just a plain old visitor to these sites.

Here I am, a person who deletes cookies rather often, changes browsers, and works typically from three different computers and an iPhone.

Here's what Comscore's CMO said:

1) First of all, we measure Unique People rather than Unique Cookies which web analytics systems erroneously can unique visitors. I would challenge you to find any kind of server side measurement system that measures people, not machines or cookies. To show you how absurd server side numbers are, AOL Inc. had about 259 MM Unique cookies which gives it over 125% reach compared to a true reach of 54%. The inflation is driven by cookie deletion, multiple browsers, multiple machines for the same users, multiple devices etc… Large companies do not complain about their numbers because they know their server side numbers are flawed as obviously evident by the AOL metrics, not because ‘comScore fixes your number”. This dynamic is less obvious with smaller sites—they don’t realize how inflated their numbers are until their reach starts exceeding 100%.

2) Our Hybrid measurement is not mere pixel tracking as you assert. Our panel, which allows us to distinguish people from cookies, is a central part of the system used to correct for the inflation of cookie based server-side measurement.

Since that's what I do. She has to be right, using pure, simple common sense. I know I am only a single data point, but think of all the people who use IE6, keep getting those messages about security, and keep calling tech support people who always tell you to delete your cookies every time something goes wrong.

Cookies have to be a primitive way to measure visitors. At best, the measure computers, not people.  At worst, they measure the same person re-setting things all the time.

About the rest, I have nothing to say, since I "know" and respect everyone involved. I admire all of them for their distinctive energy, and I feel the same way I used to feel when my kids got in a fight: don't put me in the middle, because I love you all.

Posted via email from Not Really Stealthmode

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