The other day I received an interesting email from Yahoo!
It’s pretty easy to read between the lines here. In fact, little line reading is necessary. The new comScore beacon is providing more accurate results. Yahoo is not currently participating in the beacon program. Yahoo wasn’t keen on the “apples-to-oranges” comparison that “could create confusion for advertisers” because it would likely negatively impact their display business.
Don’t Forget Yahoo!
Bashing Yahoo! seems to be the cool thing to do these days, and they’ve certainly driven themselves into a ditch. But Yahoo! still holds a powerful position as a portal, content and email provider. This email seems like a not-so-gentle reminder that Yahoo! is still a 900 pound gorilla in some circles.
Beacons and Panel Data
The other takeaway here is the fact that beacons are fast becoming the best way to measure traffic. I see comScore’s introduction of beacon technology as a direct reaction to Quantcast.
The rise of Google Analytics allows more and more companies to know exactly how much traffic they receive. The result of this knowledge is a growing dissatisfaction with panel based measurements that aren’t just inaccurate but are sometimes flat out wrong.
No More Hand Waving
Whether it was the Web 1.0 darling Alexa or recent upstart Compete, panel based services continue to fail. The difference this time around is that we have beacons (like Google Analytics and Quantcast) that let us know when they fail and by how much.
So while Yahoo! has secured a 6-month repreive, the future will be in accurate and transparent traffic measurement.