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Nielsen//NetRatings Launches MegaPanel Service

As the enigmatic nature of the Internet is still of primary interest to all sectors of business, online and off, Nielsen//NetRatings, the measurement and analysis arm for NetRatings , announced plans Wednesday to launch a U.S.-based version of its already established MegaPanel Service.

The new service adds to a portfolio of other similar but separately functioning Nielsen//NetRatings data report services designed to provide insight into online consumer behavior.

According to Sean Kaldor, vice president of marketing for Milpitas, Calif.-based Nielsen//NetRatings, the MegaPanel Service was launched in France, Germany, and the U.K. shortly after Nielsen//NetRatings originated the acquisition of Paris-based NetValue in August 2002.

NetValue had first developed the concept behind the MegaPanel but had not yet launched it, said Kaldor.

"We accelerated it and extended it to the U.S.," Kaldor told internetnews.com.

The MegaPanel is based on one million Internet recruits who have all agreed to exchange information about their surfing and spending habits in exchange for a chance to win at a sweepstakes contest.

The recruits, which cumulatively represent four key markets including home users, work users, and university users, have all downloaded a piece of tracking software into their personal or work PCs that meters where they shop, what they spend, and what their online and offline e-commerce and finance patterns are.

The new service can also measure Website effectiveness and can perform survey functions that track specific consumer attitudes and behavior, the company said.

According to Kaldor, nothing is done to influence their behavior, so in effect they act as a clean slate for companies looking to acquire information on specific types of Internet activity from a global cross-section of one million Internet users in the major European countries as well as the U.S.

"The new MegaPanel product provides a level of research insights only possible from a large panel size, serving the key markets that require more exhaustive online usage and transaction research," said William Pulver, president and CEO of NetRatings.

The MegaPanel will make its American debut sometime in the second quarter of 2003, the company said.

Other Nielsen//NetRatings services include WebRF, an online planning tool; @Plan, a platform for Internet media planning and buying; NetView/AMS, an Internet audience measurement service; and AdRelevance, an online advertising tracking service.