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Internet Ratings Systems

Elizabeth Van Couvering

Subject Communication Studies » Human Communication and Technology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


Internet ratings systems, such as those provided by Nielsen//NetRatings or comScore Media Metrix, measure and rank the popularity of different websites and are used extensively in setting online advertising rates (→  Internet ; Exposure to the Internet ). The three typical online metrics are unique visitors , page views , and reach . In theory, these are simple measures: unique visitors measures the number of visitors to a website (analogous to the “audience” of a television show), page views measures the number of times a web page has been seen, and reach represents the percentage of the audience who have visited the website during the period under question (typically monthly). In practice, each of these elements is subject to some controversy due to a lack of agreement about measuring methods and differing sources of data. In addition to the main variables of unique visitors, page views, and reach, ratings companies also report on the demographic profile (age, sex, race, location, occupation, education, income, etc.) of visitors for different websites. Ratings agencies may also report directly on the frequency and volume of advertising placed on different websites. Rating data are of high significance for television and radio because they may determine whether shows are renewed or canceled (→  Nielsen Ratings ). Online, this is rarely the case, although the use of ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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