Feedback on my call for a measurement standard for Web 2.0
Since comments are coming in from all directions I think it’s still easier to address them via blog posts. Especially those comments coming through the Yahoo! group which have a tendency to be quickly lost as that larger conversation progresses.
An anonymous poster commented that I had not specifically addressed RSS feeds and their measurement but was complimentary of my efforts thus far. Yeah, RSS is absolutely something I think falls into the cateory of “Web 2.0” but not into the same bucket of measurement I’ve been talking about. All of us today have the ability to measure at least one critical aspect of our RSS feeds–how much in-bound traffic they generate–using nothing more that the core campaign analysis tools native to whichever appliciation you use.
But most people want to know more than just which posts drove clicks; consider Clint’s very well written post from July 13th on “Language Shift” where he rightly complains about the need for new metrics that speak directly to this new publication medium. I think Ivy says it best with the following:
What’s a unique visitor mean when what we care about is circulation and syndication? For my blog, I’m much more interested in the number of readers I have than how many unique cookie-based browser applications have visited my blog.
What’s a download worth when what I really need to know is how many listeners or viewers I have and how many times they have listened or watched my podcast or vlog?
What on earth is a referral in a world where it’s all about knowing who, how many and how often my post/blog/podcast/vlog has been quoted or tracked back to?
As this thing we call the ‘Internet’ or ‘Web’ evolves into a distribution platform from a content channel and destination what are the things that are important to measure and what will they be called? How will they be defined?
Indeed, the new metrics complicated by the fact that they’re not easily measured with the existing measurement paradigm. What will things be called and how will they be defined.
But I digress.
The reason I didn’t specifically address RSS in my original post was because what I was trying to describe is how other people’s content can me measured as part of your site. RSS is basically your content being measured as it is used in someone else’s site. Does that make sense? To accurately measure RSS I need a mechansim that has content report back “I was viewed here” wherever “here” may be; to measure Google Maps I need a mechanism to have someone else tell me “Your visitor did this thing” where “this thing” is an event.
Over in the Yahoo! group, Jason Egan from Scripps Networks reiterates the point I made about having the ability to measure and knowing what to measure are two completely different beasties. Jason comments that he’s already measuring RIAs but he points out that the move to a richer web environment has the potential to cripple his advertising-driven business model. Given that the current monetization point is “page views” defined traditionally, the loss of strict page refreshes caused by Flash/AJAX/etc. would reduce their available inventory and relative ranking as calculated by Nielsen/Hitwise/etc.
An excellent point but one I think that further drives the need to have this conversation. As the existing “governing bodies” are still working out some of the most basic definitions, the model is changing and these definitions are becoming out-of-date faster than the ink can dry on the proverbial paper. Having a measurement framework in place to count actions that occur outside of the existing page view model is certainly the first step towards understanding what ramification this new technology has on our extant business models.
Finally, Chris Harrington (who I assume is not the VP of sales at Omniture) comments that he’s already doing what I mentioned was certainly possible, manually embedding calls to a local database via the application API (SOAP in his case) primarily for debugging purposes. I’ve already written to Chris asking to know more about what he’s learned and, pending his permission, will share what I’m able in future posts.