Thursday, August 24, 2006

Web stats

We've had our knuckles firmly rapped a few times by a major Asian B2B internet, publishing and exhibitions company which will remain nameless (you know who you are ****) about our use of statistics to calculate relative web traffic numbers. We recognise that it's a far from perfect option but reckoned it was least bad and better than nothing. Nameless company disagreed, not least because these stats made it look worse than its competitors. There was a suggestion that various sites in China were encouraging friends, family, staff and, possibly, the local butcher to install toolbars to boost rankings. Who knows?

Anyway, I was interested to see Heather Green over at BusinessWeek posting a piece titled Traffic Statistics Online and the Importance of Triangulating. We certainly agree with her final point: "it all comes down to triangulating different stats and talking to companies". When it comes to dealing with dodgy data (and there's plenty of that in China), this is really a golden rule.

The only reasonably solid counting systems (involving real research) tend not to be international and even those which cover just the US generate heated debate. So, what hope of really good comparative data on Asian B2B sites? Any good suggestions gratefully received. Heck, we might even pay you if they're worthwhile.

Update: no sooner do you think you've had a good, original idea for a post than you discover somebody else did it 12 hours ago. So, chastened, I'll publish this link to Fons Tuinstra's coverage of the same issue at his China Herald blog.

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