27 October 2006

The difficulties of Web 2.0 measurement

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Web measurement
Ann Light reports in Usability News about an interview with Eric T. Peterson on the difficulties of Web 2.0 measurement that appeared on the eConsultancy site.

“Peterson is a veteran of web analytics and tackles Web 2.0 features and concepts with the eye of someone who has grown used to a rich stream of information from page hits.”

“As he puts it, with Web 2.0: ‘A lot of what is really important is happening either a) off the website proper, such as RSS or b) below the level of the page view’.”

“‘The former creates a challenge because, well, it’s hard to measure stuff that is out of your control. The latter because so many of the web analytics applications out there treat the page view as canonical.”

“‘Ask yourself: what about AJAX applications allowing multiple user ‘events’ without a page reload? What about podcast ‘listens’? What about people who are tremendously loyal to your content but never visit your web site? What about mash-ups like Google Maps? The list of challenges Web 2.0 is creating for us is long, to be sure.'”

“When asked if he feels there’s an urgent need for appropriate metrics to be sorted, he says: ‘if, as an industry, we don’t, we’ll be in exactly the same space two years from now that we are today: bickering about the definition of a ‘unique visitor’.'”

“The rest is brief, interesting, perhaps alarming, and worth a read as an introduction to the issues.”

Read full interview

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