The study was conducted by ForeSee Results, which measures the impact of Web sites on user attitudes, loyalty, actions and overall satisfaction. It found that b-to-b sites have affected audiences in ways many site owners didn't anticipate.
The study found that while companies have raw data such as traffic volume and page views, they lack insights on some critical dimensions of site performance. One of the biggest challenges is getting a handle on how sites with multiple audiences may inadvertently encourage one audience while alienating another.
ForeSee compiles a proprietary index of sites it measures. While the index is in its early stages, it is yielding information that suggests b-to-b information sites have a ways to go before they come close to matching the positive impact of consumer-oriented sites.
"There's a whole generation of b-to-b sites that have grown up based on a fair amount of educated guesses and anecdotal evidence because there's not been much else to go on," said ForeSee Results CEO Larry Freed. "Companies are telling us they want to do better."