comScore Responds To IAB's Request For Third-Party Audit

comScore on Monday offered a diplomatic response to an open letter issued last week by the Interactive Advertising Bureau asking comScore and Nielsen//NetRatings to submit to a third-party audit of their measurement processes.

"comScore welcomes the objective outlined in the IAB Open Letter of achieving transparency in panel methods for measuring the size of online audiences," the measurement company said in a letter released Monday. "comScore has already had positive and productive discussions with the IAB to initiate a thoughtful and cooperative process for achieving greater transparency and understanding the root cause of the difference between Web site server logs and panel-based measurements."

As part of its efforts to achieve transparency, comScore recently opened its methodology to an evaluation by the Advertising Research Foundation, and said it plans to release the results publicly in the near future.

"I want to assure the IAB members that comScore is committed to the digital media industry and strives to provide, to the best of its abilities, accurate and unbiased measurement," said Dr. Magid Abraham, president and CEO of comScore. "We look forward to working with the IAB and the rest of the industry on establishing measurement standards for all participants."

Although the IAB has spent years pushing the two major Web audience measurement services, an audit by the independent Media Rating Council is more likely now because there's a sense of urgency and greater industry support, said Randall Rothenberg, president and CEO of the IAB since January.

Media companies have often complained about major discrepancies between their own log files and panel companies' versions of their traffic.

In addition, the owners of sites serving niche audiences say their traffic can be ignored completely because panels represent a miniscule fraction of the total Web audience and do not accurately reflect all segments.

Nielsen has not yet issued a response to the IAB's request for an independent audit.

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