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AdCount tallies viewings

Web advertisers and ad-supported Web sites get a new way to count how many ad banners visitors view.

Web advertisers and ad-supported Web sites are getting a new way to count how many ad banners visitors view.

AdCount, a service from NetCount and accounting firm Price Waterhouse, becomes available today after beta testing with the Los Angeles Times and other clients.

AdCount will challenge the Web's leading tracking service, Internet Profiles' (I/Pro) I/Count, which has landed an impressive client list among major Web content sites in the past year.

Independent ad-counting services confirm for advertisers that their ads are really being viewed and give Web sites a credible third-party for their figures and charges.

"Advertisers have been reluctant to commit to serious online advertising budgets because of the lack of accountability," Alan Segal, associate creative director at ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi Pacific, said in a statement.

AdCount's methodology differs from I/Count's by counting every ad viewed, not just checking a representative sample based on a Web site's log file, as I/Pro does with its service. Paul Grand, NetCount's chairman and founder, said AdCount's automated system is more complete, less subject to tampering, and makes results available faster than I/Pro's service.

AdCount carries the endorsement of Price Waterhouse, which is an equity investor in NetCount and brings a sterling endorsement of its methodology, something NetCount is sure to use in its marketing. I/Pro's I/Count service is cobranded with A.C. Nielsen, the TV rating service.

AdCount is available for Netscape's high-end Web servers running Solaris, Irix, and Windows NT. By year's end, it also will be available for Microsoft's Internet Information Server, Open Market, and Apache Web servers. Pricing starts at $1,500 a month with a $1,000 installation charge.