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ComScore: 'The Internet Company Everyone Loves To Hate'

  • Fortune, Monday, September 29, 2008 11:30 AM
Fortune's Jesse Hempel calls measurement firm ComScore "the Internet company everyone loves to hate." Earlier this year, ComScore issued a report saying that Google's domestic paid clicks had flattened, causing the Web giant's shares to tumble. The report proved to be "unfounded", however, as Google later announced a 30% rise in profit. As a result, Google shares rose 17% and ComScore shares fell 24%. As Hempel says, "Few people ... wept for ComScore."

ComScore and competitor Nielsen Online are supposed to be the Web's measurement authorities. Businesses that want to advertise on the Web buy ComScore data while publishers who want to compare their traffic with competitors or even understand how their sites are used pay ComScore to audit their site. As Hempel says, ComScore is like the referee of the online advertising industry, "and like refs everywhere, ComScore drives the players nuts."

Gian Fulgoni, ComScore's co-founder, admits there may be no easy statistical fixes to the practice of Web measurement, but mostly he finds criticism of his company "irritating." When people ask, 'How can you possibly project what 200 million people in the U.S. do from a sample of a million?', Fulgoni replies, "If you don't believe in sampling theory, next time you go to the doctor and he wants to take a little blood, tell him to take it all."

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