Audit Bureau Will Test Auditing at Four Web Sites
Fitzgerald, Mark, Editor & Publisher
AUDIT BUREAU OF Circulations begins testing its interactive media auditing methods in October on four World Wide Web sites, including two offered by the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
The four beta sites for auditing are TimesFax, the New York Times' daily electronic news digest on the Internet; Adfinder.WSJ, the Journal's advertising site on the Web; the interactive edition of the Atlantic Monthly; and Condenet.
"ABC's audits for World Wide Web sites will confirm the integrity of the record keeping process and independently verify the activity statements made by the publisher," said David Keil, president of the 81-year-old Schaumburg, Ill.-based auditing bureau.
The Audit Bureau is working with Market Arts Webtrack Inc. to manage the technical process of auditing online services.
"Webtrack brings unique experience in Internet software development, support capabilities and a detailed understanding of the issues facing publishers and advertisers in this new medium," Keil said.
However, neither the Audit Bureau nor Web Track will offer any record keeping or accounting software, the two organizations said.
"ABC will be auditing the activity statistics or counts supplied by Web site operators and will not specify the record keeping or analytical software to be used," Keil said. "This is directly analogous to the function we now per form for print publishers" "We audit publisher records whether they are supplied by third-party fulfillment services or by the publishers themselves. We plan to follow the same approach in the interactive arena."
Web Track's audit software will measure activity in a "secure environment" that is independent of a publisher's usage log. It will compare that activity with the publisher's usage log to flag any discrepancies, the Audit Bureau said.
As it has previously declared in its position on auditing interactive media, the Audit Bureau will measure the entire range of activity generated by the sites on the Web, which is the graphics-oriented sector of the Internet.
"Web sites are proving to be a census-based medium. That is, all of the user activity can be captured, audited and reported," said Arnie Semsky, the executive vice president for media and programming services at BBDO Worldwide Inc., and a member of the Audit Bureau's Interactive Subcommittee.
"Advertisers using this new media should take advantage of this opportunity to establish census-based measurements", Semsky said of the beta testing. …