Leading Australian internet research company Hitwise has turned its back on a review process designed to produce a standard way of measuring online audiences.
Earlier this year the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Australia established an industry panel to consider what form an online audience standard should take. The panel issued a blueprint in August and called for submissions from the industry.
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But in a blow to the process Hitwise, a big player in Australia’s online metrics market, has decided not to make a submission in response to the blueprint.
Hitwise chief marketing officer Tessa Court says while the company is supportive of industry discussions on the issue, in this case the measurement methodology required by companies such as Hitwise to tender for the blueprint was pre-determined before measurement companies had a chance to submit a proposal.
“Instead of setting out ‘industry issues’ and having metrics companies come up with a ‘solution’, the methodology was pre-determined in the document. As such, we have opted to not submit a response,” Court says.
One of the groups participating in the process, and a founding member of the IAB, is the Australain Interactive Media Industry Association. Chief executive John Butterworth says reaching agreement on how online audiences are measured is crucial for the internet industry.
“Online advertising is worth a billion each year, but people have been using different measurement methods, so it’s vital for confidence in the advertiser market that how it all works is consistent,” Butterworth says.
And, he says, the decision by Hitwise not to participate won’t be a problem for the review process. “It’s entirely a commercial decision for them, but no one group sets the standard – the process involves pretty much everyone – publishers, advertisers and industry bodies – so really it is the industry.”