RealTime IT News

Nielsen, NetRatings Launch Corporate Internet Usage Survey

CommerceNet, Nielsen Media Research and NetRatings Inc. said they are working jointly to measure how people in U.S. corporations actually use the Internet in the workplace.

Industry group CommerceNet and Nielsen Media Research will design the research methodologies, and data will be collected by Nielsen//NetRatings, the new Internet measurement service from Nielsen Media Research and NetRatings.

CommerceNet is a not-for-profit association of more than 500 companies and organizations founded to promote the commercial use of the Internet. Member companies come from a range of industries, including finance, consumer products, telecommunications and technology. CommerceNet already has notified member companies of the initiative and discussions with executives are under way.

"CommerceNet members are leaders in the development of the Internet, and are aware of the importance of reliable estimates of `at-work' Internet use to the development of the Internet as a communications and electronic commerce vehicle," said Loel McPhee, director of research at CommerceNet. "Our plan is to have CommerceNet companies play an active role in generating the quality research necessary to understand how the Internet is being used in companies and organizations today."

The research will begin by recruiting CommerceNet member companies, rather than individuals, onto the panel. Once a company agrees to participate, Nielsen//NetRatings will select a representative group of Internet users among employees. Individual information will be aggregated and reported with industry and demographic data, while preserving each company's and employee's anonymity.

The new service is designed to develop data from a cross-section of companies and organizations, and to overcome various obstacles that have inhibited measurement thus far. For example, a recent Nielsen//NetRatings survey of prospective at-work panel members found those most likely to agree to be on a panel were self employed or worked in small companies. More than 90 percent of those interviewed said that their companies had policies or guidelines that prohibited or inhibited participation.

"Developing a representative, at-work Internet panel has been hampered by considerations such as system security, the confidentiality of corporate information and other factors," said McPhee. "As a result, a 'chicken-and-egg' cycle has developed--companies want at-work use data, but are reluctant to allow measurement to take place."

"We believe we can develop and use a research plan that protects the security of company data and the privacy of participants while generating valuable information that will further energize the growth of the Internet," said Dave Harkness, senior vice president, business development at Nielsen Media Research. "The Internet is used by millions of people each day in corporations. . .yet there is no measurement of workplace usage being done today that's based on accepted methods of high-quality research."