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Associated Press reports that Nielsen/Net Ratings will scrap measurements based on the long-time industry yardstick of page views and begin tracking how long visitors spend on a site. Neilsen says time spent is a measure of engagement with a site.
Wait a minute! Right now, I have seven tabs open in Firefox, and since I get interrupted by phone calls, email, dog walking, the need to write, IMs, Skype, and bouts of thinking, some of those sites might stay open for hours. That doesn’t mean I’m engaged with the site. And I bet you work the same way.
I do not know the perfect way to measure traffic, but I am sure that time spent isn’t it. Several people have come up with formulas for measuring blog influence, taking into account Alexa rankings, Google results, links from other blogs, and so on. It seems to me that a more complex formula is what Nielsen needs.
Aside: just this morning, a potential client asked me how many hits my site gets, indicating that many businesses have a long way to go in understanding site traffic.
Any suggestions for what would be more realistic?