None of the metrics companies have made a public statement about the controversy surrounding the page view (PV) metric yet. However Fred Wilson’s comment indicates for the first time that they understand the problem and are working on a solution. Fred’s blog A VC is well read and I had no clue that he’s on the board of comScore.
He also stresses the fact that PVs should not be confused with number of ads seen:
Ajax and other more modern web technologies allow for new ads to be displayed without a page reload. Ad views can grow even as page views decline.
And he brings up another point that I haven’t really considered yet. More and more pages are integrating widgets and third party content. How should those be measured? Who should get credit for the page view? In fact comScore is probably tracking this as a full PV of the target server today if the request is triggered client-side and the response has content-type text/html. See Comscore’s Google Numbers Are Too Low for some technical details.
He wraps up with a promise:
The bottom line is a page view isn’t a page view anymore. It’s a lot more and a lot less. And we are going to come up with new measurement terms in 2007 that recognize this fact.
Google’s Adam Cutts was also joining the discussion a few days ago with his post Page view metrics? Bah, humbug!. Thanks for defending Yahoo! btw:
I want to come to Yahoo’s defense about something. A recent spate of reports says that Yahoo has been surpassed by various companies in terms of page views. Why is that relatively bogus? Because of Yahoo’s switch to AJAX for its mail.
Update 12/28/06: Two more links related to Ajax and PVs: AJAX Affects Page Views (on O’Reilly Radar) and MySpace Passes Yahoo In Page Views But Not Audience (on search engine land)
Update 2 12/28/06: Fred Wilson defended comScore back in late October 06 noting that he’s an investor and board member (I must have missed that). He also points to the bias due to the panel approach that I also mentioned in Comscore’s Google Numbers Are Too Low.
Update 3 12/28/06: If comScore understands that the PV metric is obsolete and has to be replaced with something more meaningful, why is it still making the headline and first paragraph in their press release? To their credit, they’re including a comment about Ajax (but only further down):
Further, Yahoo’s increased integration of AJAX technology may have had a dampening effect on page views, as the technology enables real-time site updates without the need to refresh a page.