Measurement firms, End of the line?

Hitwise recently sold for hundreds of millions,  and comscore is looking to do an IPO.    From what i’ve been hearing everyone is trying to cash out as fast as they can.

1.  Comscore and nielsons numbers often differ by a factor of 10.  Nielson is so pathetic they often rank 1 page spam sites in the top 5 dating sites in the US.    The numbers these companies release are often completely meaningless and easilly gamed.  As shown here.   

2.  The numbers from these firms have no context.   If you look at’s numbers it clearly shows there is absolutely no relationship between a sites usage and the number of unique monthly visitors it has.   If you want to game comscore and become a top 50 site in the US,  just spend $10,000 a month on spyware.

I’ve now stopped sending 10’s of thousands a year on these services as the data is pretty much useless,  compared to   From now on I am going to stick to using  as they actually have relevant data that has some kind of context.   Not only can I see the uniques,  actual monthly visitor counts,  pageview stats etc etc  but I can see that on a daily basis.     Why on earth is anyone going to pay comscore $60,000 a year for 12 reports that basically amount to a “light version” of which happens to be free?  

While comscore still has some data that compete doesn’t have such as clickstream data, you can get the same info from some providers for a few hundred dollars a year creating a mashup with that blows away any of these extremely expensive paid services.

14 Responses to “Measurement firms, End of the line?”

  1. billo Says:

    What do you think of quantcast? I kind of like their clean interface and quid pro quo for sites that participate more deeply.

  2. Lauren Moores Says:

    Thanks for the kudos to Compete! And thanks for using the data!

    Just to clarify, Compete already does a mashup of different types of clickstream before we normalize and release data. Our data comes from ISP clickstream, ASP clickstream and our toolbar and recruitment clickstream. We over 11 panels that provide information and allow us to put the data in context (i.e. understand bias).


  3. Zoltan Says:

    Quantcast is good. I like them because you can actually see traffic changes on a daily bases.

  4. Community Building Blog Says:

    I am also a big fan of Compete and have mentioned it in my blog within an article comparing Alexa and Compete

    Compete along with Google Analytics – what more do you need, eh?!?!

    – Martin Reed

  5. Markus Says:

    Quantcast is good to for demographic data. I trust their data for publishers that have added their javascript and there are a lot of them.

    Compete is now better for the moment as they include momentum data and attention metrics. These are probably the most important.

    As for my comment about clickstream, i’m refering to 10 ten sites used before this site, or 10 ten keywords that users find the site with on search engines

  6. john Says:

    What do you think of Hot or Not going to a paid model?

  7. Jake Says:

    Compete is terrible. It is made up of NetZero people in their panel. If you like the numbers it is because your site tends toward these free people. Real companies would never look at something as low end as Compete and make million dollar decisions off of them.

    You are very confused.

  8. Randy Parella Says:

    Jake –

    I like the parked domain you put under your profile – very professional.

    Who do you work for? comScore?

    Your post doesn’t even make sense. Compete cites multiple data sources and even hosts one (their unimpressive toolbar) on their site. Oh, and the last time I checked NetZero wasn’t free since 1999.

    Good luck with that IPO – you’ll need it.


  9. Jay Meattle Says:


    We have invested a considerable amount of time and capital in developing the largest and most diverse domestic panel in the market. The largest web properties in the world leverage our data to understand what is happening on the web.

    Our clients make multi-million dollar decisions based of our data and insights every day. I encourage you to take a look at our (select) client list on our site.

    Also, for a transparent comparison between the various services, take a look at the following link:

    My email is provided on this post if you would like to discuss our data and methodology.


    Product Manager

  10. marc Says:

    Just use google analytics, they are pretty good.

  11. Chris Says:

    I’m a fan of Quantcast, but I’ll have to say that their estimates for non “quantified” (adding the javascript) are about as bad as Alexa’s, Competes, and everyone else working from panels.

    Also Markus, out of curiousity, if you trust the Quantcast numbers for their quantification program, why have you opted not to submit to the same scrutiny?


  12. Markus Says:

    The same reason I don’t add thousands of other widgets. Its not going to make me money, and its only going to slow down page load times.

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