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Is Forbes.com Offering Advertisers Less Than Advertised?

It's a surprising piece to see in The New York Times, but Peter Edmonston seems to have written an article whose sole purpose is to smear the reputation of Forbes.com, the self-described top business site on the Web. Forbes.com touts 15 million uniques per month, with an average income of $150K. But comScore, the research firm that provided those numbers, has revised its February data downward to less than 13.2 million, after it revamped its worldwide data for many sites. Also, about 45 percent of Forbes traffic goes to ForbesAutos.com, which is included in the figure. So what? Isn't eBay Motors included in comScore's rendering of eBay's total monthly uniques? Doesn't Yahoo include Yahoo Games when third parties measure its traffic? Yet traffic to Forbes.com has tumbled. In July, Forbes' Web sites drew 7.3 million unique visitors worldwide; ForbesAutos drew about 1 million. However, that would firmly move Forbes down the financial site pecking order, below Dow Jones & Company (which includes The Wall Street Journal and Barron's Online), CNNMoney.com (which includes Fortune and Business 2.0), and the myriad sites affiliated with Reuters. Each had an estimated 7.6 million visitors in July. But each of these holding companies (with the exception of the ubiquitous Reuters) also owns one or more business publications. So, is it a problem if Forbes is tacking on all its properties to its total site count? The real story is that ForbesAutos.com went from accounting for 45 percent of the company's Web traffic in February to just 13 percent in July. Otherwise, 6.3 million uniques for its business site is about what it was in February--if you use comScore's revised February total

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