A Call for Involvement

On Monday of this week, the first meeting of the ARF Online Media Council was held. I am privileged to be chair of this council. The mission of this group is “to promote the establishment of accurate, reliable and acceptable measurements in the areas of planning, buying and assessing the efficacy of online media as marketing tools.”

What, you say? Don’t we have enough groups working on standards? Yes and no. The ARF is generally the place where standards for other media emerge (the other is the MRC or Media Ratings Council, which works closely with - and is a member of - the ARF). In addition, the ARF is the ONLY non-profit association that permits all stakeholders (agencies, advertisers, sellers and research/data vendors and those who package research) to participate with an active voice. We don’t intend to take over the good work that is being done by the OPA, IAB, AAAA and other groups. In fact, these groups are all members of the ARF and had representatives at the meeting. What we can do is provide a forum where all of the outside work (and some new, inside work performed by ARF committees) can see the light of day and be commented on by all stakeholders.



The ARF is establishing this Council in response to popular demand that came out of the ARF Online R/F Committee formed last year. The work of the R/F committee has already resulted in a number of strategic alliances and a much clearer industry brief on what needs to be done to get R/F standards that can be agreed to by all. The [just launched] ARF Online R/F Pilot study, which has full cooperation from NetRatings, comScore, DoubleClick and Atlas DMT is an example of what can be done under the ARF auspices. Simply put, this is the first time ever that an industry study involving such competitors will have been undertaken.

The work of the council is just beginning. But already, there is talk of working with MSN, the IAB, Dynamic Logic, the OPA and others to publish a book on the efficacy of the online medium, from both branding and DR standpoints.

Other issues that this group will tackle include impression definition, data ownership, effective frequency definitions, qualitative issues, differences between various measurement methodologies (e.g., server vs. panel based), audience measurement when ad blocking is involved, online planning workflow and many others.

If your company is a member of the ARF, get involved in the council. The next meeting will be on 6/2/03 at 2PM at the ARF in NYC. Please respond to to sign up for this next meeting. If your company is not a member of the ARF, contact Gabe Samuels and he will give you information about joining. It is one of the least expensive, most highly leveraged involvements you can take on. We welcome your participation.

David L. Smith is President and CEO of Mediasmith, Inc.

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