Site comparability top priority in IAB guidelines

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The Internet Advertising Bureau last week proposed a set of measurement guidelines designed to make it easier to compare Web sites' advertising performance and traffic patterns.

By establishing definitions for Internet advertising terms and the methodology sites should use in gathering data, the guidelines are intended to create a standard for online advertising measurement.

"How do you compare CNET to Starwave?" asked Kate Everett-Thorp, chairman of the IAB's media measurement task force and VP-crusader and advertising programs with CNET: The Computer Network. "Our No. 1 goal is . . . comparability."


IAB will post the guidelines on its Web site for a 30-day discussion period, after which it hopes to make them final.

The guidelines provide definitions of basic terms like ad request ("an opportunity to deliver an advertising element to a Web visitor") and click ("when a visitor interacts with an advertisement"). They also seek to expand the definitions of terms associated with audience delivery, such as visitor (an individual identified by a "unique registration, unique cookie, unique URL tagging or unique IP address").

Perhaps the most controversial proposal is that sites would not have to tell advertisers if their ad image appeared, but only if an opportunity existed to send it.


The IAB task force, which includes more than 30 Internet publishers and measurement companies, said that while it's possible to determine when a page request is made, it impossible to determine if the images on that page were seen or loaded properly.

The IAB doesn't believe publishers should be responsible for reporting if images are delivered.

The IAB developed its guidelines without direct involvement of the Coalition for Advertising Supported Information & Entertainment, representing advertisers and agencies.

"They're proposing to offer a set of standards. We're proposing to offer to what extent standards are required," said Denman Maroney, chairman of CASIE's Web measurement task force and associate media director at D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, New York.

That group's measurement comparability study has been stalled waiting for enough measurement firms to participate.

Copyright June 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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