New entries join global race to measure the Net

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Global marketers now will have multiple choices to track Internet advertising, with three major services jumping into the fray.

Xtreme Information, a London service that has tracked worldwide TV and print advertising since 1984, will launch Xtreme Internet Ad Watch to track ads in 11 countries starting Oct. 1.

NetRatings, already aligned with Nielsen Media Research in the U.S. market, last week struck a deal with ACNielsen Corp. to monitor international Web advertising. And Media Metrix, a leader in the U.S. market, is proceeding with its global expansion.

At its launch, Xtreme's Internet Ad Watch will track ads on 95 Web sites in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Mexico, the U.K. and the U.S. In January, the company will roll out the service to additional countries, including China and Japan, eventually covering the same 19 markets in which it tracks TV and print ads.


Xtreme's Internet tracking is designed for global marketers that want to see Internet ads competitors are running, said Xtreme CEO John Gordon.

"The world has become so much smaller that you have to measure your competitors' activity [in other media] on a global basis," he said.

Market researcher ACNielsen, meanwhile, teamed with Internet audience researcher NetRatings to form ACNielsen, which will track online audiences, advertising and user activity in international markets. The service will be called Nielsen/Net-

Ratings, also the name of a U.S. service that involves Nielsen Media Research, a separate company from ACNielsen.


NetRatings' U.S. rival, Media Metrix, is offering online audience measurement internationally through partnerships with media and market researchers in France, Germany, Sweden and the U.K. with plans to cover an additional four countries by the end of the year. Media Metrix will operate the European service as MMXI Europe.

While it will now be easier for marketers to track Web audiences and ads, marketers still face a challenge in tracking competitive Web ad spending. The best-known U.S. supplier of spending data, VNU's Intermedia Advertising Solutions, has yet to release any U.S. spending data for 1999. So while sister company Competitive Media Reporting prepares this month to release first-half 1999 offline spending, Intermedia still is unable to tell advertisers what their competitors have been spending online this year.

AdRelevance does offer estimates of ad spending; Media Metrix and Xtreme Internet do not.

ACNielsen Vice Chairman Michael Connors said Nielsen/ Net-Ratings can estimate online ad spending by merging Web publishers' rate cards and discounting data with its banner tracking service.

But any company-specific Web ad spending data are estimates. Web deals are negotiated, and rate cards are becoming less relevant in a market where ad prices are often tied to how an ad performs. More than half of Web ad deals in the first quarter were priced, in part, based on performance rather than on a cost-per-thousand model, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau. That makes ad spend tracking a tougher job.

Copyright September 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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