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Audience measurement guidelines proposed

A Net industry coalition is tackling the contentious issue of how to measure the number of people who view advertisements online.

A Net industry coalition today is tackling the contentious issue of how to measure the number of people who view advertisements online.

A subcommittee within the Future of Advertising Stakeholders (FAST) Measurement Committee issued proposed voluntary guidelines for audience measurement. The group is seeking industry comment, after which, "following a 45 day period, FAST will issue final voluntary guidelines for the industry," the coalition said in a statement.

Others also have tried to standardize Web traffic measurement, but so far, a consistent standard has eluded the industry.

Audience measurement has been debated heavily, because it affects many businesses' bottom lines. Similar to Nielsen ratings on television, Web traffic numbers let advertisers know how much ad placement is worth on Web sites--and, as such, can make all the difference to an ad-supported site's revenue stream.

"Audience measurement is perhaps one of the most frustrating business issues facing agencies and publishers today," FAST chairman Rich LeFurgy said in a statement. "Credible and reliable online measurement is the burning issue for online advertising and is key to the continuing growth of the medium."