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Who’s right? Panel-based measurement versus raw server logs

Good summary in the NYT today about how hard it is to get good numbers in online advertising: How Many Site Hits? Depends Who’s Counting – New York Times.

How many people visited Style.com, the online home of Vogue and W magazines, last month? Was it 421,000, or, more optimistically, 497,000? Or was the real number more than three times higher, perhaps 1.8 million?

The main discussion ends up being around comparing the panel-based numbers (Nielsen, ComScore, and others) versus the server logs that people have.

In truth, the panel-based folks should probably offer a pixel to publishers to get even deeper counts – panels can be very off, which works in TV because there’s no other options, but not in online advertising.

On another note, I’m getting my wisdom teeth out this afternoon so I won’t be blogging for the next week or so. Wish me luck!

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