Yahoo! to drop I/Pro audits

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Yahoo!, the first auditing client of Nielsen-backed Web measurement company Internet Profiles Corp., switched allegiances, tapping Audit Bureau of Circulations' ABVS Interactive and Ernst & Young to verify traffic and ad delivery on its Web site. Yahoo! said it will work with I/Pro until summer, when the new measurement system kicks in. Yahoo! and I/Pro say they're discussing other ways to work together in the future, but won't be specific.

Losing Yahoo! is a blow to I/Pro, which is in the midst of renewing several significant auditing contracts. After several months of setbacks, I/Pro sorely needs to retain key clients to buck up its business.

"Yahoo! has always been on the cutting edge of this stuff," said Tim Reed, I/Pro director of marketing. "The fact that they're the first to move out and go to a Big 6 [accounting] firm isn't completely surprising."

"With our expanding inventory and content on Yahoo!, we felt it was best to strategically change the way we audit and certify our sites," said Jeff Mallett, Yahoo! senior VP-business operations. "We decided it was best to move away from the model of sending files to an independent source. ... The combined proposal and business agreement with Ernst & Young and ABC was the best combination we saw."

Starting this summer, Ernst & Young will provide third-party certification of Yahoo!'s audience measurement software. ABVS will validate Yahoo!'s site usage reports.

Copyright April 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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