Publishers choose RedSheriff solution to e-ratings problem

A consortium of New Zealand's largest online publishers has chosen its new web measurement ratings company to replace AC Nielsen's eRatings platform.

Australian-based RedSheriff and Auckland-based research company Phoenix Research have been selected by the consortium, which includes Xtra, Wilson and Horton, Nzoom and INL as well as IDG Communications, publisher of this site, to provide a new "measurement standard for tracking website traffic and demographics".

AC Nielsen announced it would pull its eRatings operation out of New Zealand in October 2001, although it still maintains its panel of home-based web surfers in New Zealand. In March the consortium put out an RFP asking for a new model to help compare site visitors in New Zealand.

The new service will be a mix of RedSheriff's interactive measurement software, which is added to any participating website's code base, and Phoenix Research's qualitative research to provide user demographics.

XtraMSN marketing director Chris Thompson, who championed the need for a new ratings scheme, says the first benchmark results should be available in September.

"Having one industry-endorsed standard that has everyone talking the same language is vitally important for the development of the whole online industry." Online advertising has suffered because of a lack of decent demographic information on website usage and those people that use it.

The Communications Agencies Association (CAANZ), which represents advertising agencies, has been closely involved with the consortium's decision making process as well.

RedSheriff's local business development manager Marcus Lloyd is ecstatic at the news and will begin a hiring process to double the RedSheriff presence immediately.

"We'll hire someone straight away and another once the project's off the ground." Lloyd says websites interested in taking part will have to pay a monthly fee, which has yet to be determined, but that he is planning to offer a free introductory service to those interested.

"We're talking about a free audit of current levels of traffic so they have a benchmark to work from."

Lloyd wouldn't be drawn on costs to the websites, however he says the service is scalable so "even smaller sites can afford" the entry level offering.

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