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New York Times: In Web Traffic Tallies, Intruders Can Say You Visited Them
The New York Times has an interesting article about how pop-up and pop-unders were counted as pageviews/hits/unique users and the like. The story cites Entrepreneur.com as the main site that lost 5 million pageviews a month when their pop-under campaign was no longer counted in their views. I know for me, I have seen that popunder probably two hundred times. And I am glad that Nielsen NetRatings is finally doing something about it. And shame on Entrepreneur.com for counting those views.
Pop-up windows appear all over the Internet, including the Web site of The New York Times. But they are typically used as advertising to pitch a product or a service.
Entrepreneur.com’s pop-ups were unusual because they contained news content, like articles on how to start a small business, making them hard to distinguish from an intentional visit to Entrepreneur.com’s site. This hailstorm of pop-ups more than tripled Entrepreneur’s reported traffic before it was detected and factored out a month later.
The technique of using pop-ups to gain readers underscores just how important sheer numbers have become in the online media business. Advertisers are shifting their marketing dollars to the Internet, but the rates they pay are low compared with traditional media.
Consequently, publishers who have struggled for years to find a way to make money online are taking aggressive steps to get their Web pages in front of as many eyes as possible.
This is just another case of markters being able to spin any number any way they want. Same as the gaming Alexa crap from Jason Calacanis, who still has not posted the results of his test. Unless his test was just there to get a higher Alexa rating for his big venture capital announcement.