Priorities

July 10th, 2007  |  Published in etc

Curious:

“In a nod to the success of emerging Web 2.0 technologies like AJAX and streaming media, one of the country’s largest Internet benchmarking companies will no longer use page views as its primary metric for comparing sites.”

“Nielsen/NetRatings will announce Tuesday that it will immediately begin using total time spent by users of a site as its primary measurement metric.”

Further down:

“And while Yahoo and MSN likely would maintain their current rankings, Google will probably ratchet down on the list because while users visit the site often, they don’t usually spend much time there …”

Since I was instructed some time in early 2000 to forsake the page view as a measure of my own success as a site editor, I can kind of get behind the concept in principle for just about every kind of site but a search engine.

I mean … Google’s myth is sort of holistic. People respond well to the ads because Google’s so efficient otherwise. They spend less time weeding through paid placement, attention-gobbling banners and affiliate linkage, so they develop a trust for the potential usefulness of the contextual ads. I even use the ads for market research sometimes, searching for a term but ignoring the organic results in favor of the AdWords results. It’s not perfect, but the ads complement the results.

The idea that Google will somehow be penalized for its efficiency, or perhaps that others will be rewarded for inefficiency, seems wrong in terms of an absolute user experience metric and, more directly, contradictory of what makes Google popular with the very people Nielsen’s trying to track and quantify.

If you’re trying, as the Nielsen folks say, to measure “true advertising opportunity,” don’t you have to factor in the good will the filler around the ads generates?

Or maybe the advertisers themselves hate Google for its teflon-like results pages, crave space on any page that’ll accommodate their controlling impulses and I’m missing the whole point.

Not really my department.

Via Slashdot by way of Alterslash.

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