AOL to share user traffic data with partners

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America Online has started releasing data about its members' Web usage to AOL partner companies. The statistics represent AOL members' page views of Internet Web sites that get stored in caches behind AOL's firewall and therefore do not get counted by the log servers of the Internet sites themselves. With its approximately 8 million members, AOL's hidden Web traffic statistics have long been suspected of greatly offsetting the number of advertising impressions and other site activity that Web sites try to measure.

Jim Moloshok, senior VP of Warner Bros. Online, an AOL content provider, said the statistics AOL has begun sharing indicate that AOL users are responsible for an additional 30% of traffic to Warner Bros.' site. Mr. Moloshok said in the future Warner Bros. will seek to raise its Web advertising rates to reflect the higher traffic volumes.

AOL is currently releasing the statistics only to sites that also provide content within AOL's proprietary online system, on a weekly basis. A spokeswoman said the company is planning to release similar data to non-partner Web sites in the future.

Copyright June 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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