Ad Networks Duel Over Audience Reach Figures

You could call it the case of the dueling ad networks. First DoubleClick
issued a statement saying it has the third largest audience reach on the
Internet. Then LinkExchange fired back, saying it just ain’t so.


In the middle is Web usage measurement firm Media Metrix, which later put out
a statement intended to clarify matters. But it all apparently boils down to
fun with figures, or as someone once said, there are lies, damned lies, and
statistics.


The DoubleClick Network, based in New
York City, first issued a statement claiming it has the third largest audience
reach on the Internet behind AOL and Yahoo, according to Media Metrix April figures.


The DoubleClick Network includes more than 170 sites around the world and
currently serves an estimated 1.5 billion ads each month to 35 million people,
the company said.


DoubleClick reported that Media Metrix said that AOL’s reach is 46.3%, Yahoo’s
is 42.4% and DoubleClick’s is 29.4%, followed by Netscape at 25.8% and
GeoCities at 25.5%.


Cooperative ad network LinkExchange then issued a statement
saying that DoubleClick’s release is “incorrect.”


LinkExchange said the correct Web reach numbers according to Media Metrix’s
most recent report (May 1998) show LinkExchange fourth in reaching users at
home, behind AOL, Yahoo! and the collective Microsoft sites. It ranked
DoubleClick fifth.
Among users at work, according to LinkExchange, DoubleClick was seventh and
LinkExchange was fifth.


“No matter how you look at it, DoubleClick is No. 5 at best, behind AOL,
Yahoo!, Microsoft and LinkExchange, NOT No 3,” said a Link Exchange spokesman.


Still, it may be more significant than just some number juggling. Various news
services picked up the original DoubleClick release and apparently, when the
news got out, DoubleClick’s stock soared 29% in one day, reaching nearly $63,
up about $13.


DoubleClick said it was company policy not to comment on unusual market
activity, Nasdaq said in a statement


Media Metrix early Wednesday issued a lengthy statement which is worth the read if you’re in the interactive ad game.

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