Nielsen investigating errors in its Internet use data

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New York—Nielsen Co. on Thursday sent a letter to customers saying it is “actively investigating an erroneous decline in Internet use data.” The company said very long URLs have caused its system to mistakenly measure “an estimated 22% decline in time spent year-on-year” on sites measured by its NetView service.

Nielsen said it has not yet determined the impact on its other Internet services including Video Census, MegaView Retail, MegaView Search, AdRelevance, WebRF and custom research. The company said the problem will be corrected in its December data, which will be delivered in January.

In the letter, written by Steve Hasker, Nielsen's president-media products, and Ari Paparo, exec VP-online products, Nielsen recommended “limited use” of its online measurement data until the company completes its investigation and the cause of the decline is remedied.

Nielsen said it would issue biweekly updates on the situation and has engaged the Media Ratings Council to review the company's findings.

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