What Exactly is 'Publisher's Own Data?'
I've never been impressed when publishers report Web site traffic using tools like Alexa, Compete.com or Quantcast. Anyone who uses these products for anything but a friendly way to compare one Web site against a competitor has little or no place in this business.
One step below them are the folks who still rely on "Publisher's Own Data" to tout their Web site's unique visitors, total visits or page views. I can imagine the call from a battered and bruised print executive asking his technology team to make his Web site numbers look as good as they can.
When an advertiser, a vendor or a business partner has a good reason to ask about our Web site traffic, I tell them.
Of course no one reports "hits" any more, right? And these same publishers are surely removing internal site traffic, as well as visits from spiders and bots just as any reliable Web site analytics application does automatically-or at least I hope so.
The new year also brought an end to the season of editing media kits and looking at ones from our competitors. Still present in a lot of them are the three words so many people have just become accustomed to using: "Publisher's Own Data." Why not use: "This crap is completely made up," instead.
This past week Mediaweek published an article about an initiative to move print advertising more toward the way television audiences are measured in order to provide some accountability to advertisers regarding their readership.
As print folks scramble to find ways to compete with a quantifiable online audience, I only hope that someone eventually will find a common and accepted way for publishers to accurately report Web site traffic.