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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Internet

Net auditing seeks standard

An influential group representing major advertisers and their ad agencies today issued new guidelines on how the audiences of interactive media should be measured.

An influential group representing major advertisers and their ad agencies today issued new guidelines on how the audiences of interactive media should be measured.

The Coalition for Advertising Supported Information & Entertainment (CASIE) recommendations are considered important because some mainstream advertisers are reluctant to spend money on Internet ads until comparable, reliable methods to measure audience have evolved.

"It's another step in getting better measurement, which should eventually help move the industry forward, which means more buying and selling," said Judy Black, who chaired the committee that issued the guidelines. She is a senior partner at Bozell Worldwide, a major ad agency.

Guidelines from the coalition now call for cleaner divisions in measuring and auditing traffic at Web sites and other online media. For instance, CASIE recommends that independent audience measurement should be taken and audited by a firm other than the one that's doing the counting.

If ad buyers accept those recommendations, it could force firms like Internet Profiles (I/Pro), which both measures and audits Web site visits, to change their businesses.

CASIE also added a definition of "clickstream" and adjusted some earlier language to describe terms like hits, visits, and pages to conform to new practices.

The coalition represents large advertisers and the American Association of Advertising Agencies, another trade group. The Advertising Research Foundation has also endorsed the guidelines.

CASIE's original guidelines, issued in October 1995, were primarily oriented toward interactive TV, not online media such as the Internet, commercial online services, and newer "push" technologies such as PointCast and BackWeb. CASIE updated its recommendations to reflect those industry changes.