Clear Communications has pulled out of website ranking service Hitwise, citing privacy concerns.
Hitwise uses traffic logs from a number of ISPs to rank websites according to user numbers, but refuses to discuss which ISPs it uses. Telecom's ISP Xtra has confirmed it does not give its data to Hitwise New Zealand, although it was considering joining the scheme as late as June of this year.
Hitwise has in the past claimed to use four of the country's six largest ISPs. Without the number one and two ISPs, Hitwise will now be missing data from most of New Zealand's internet users.
AC Nielsen, which also monitors internet use, describes New Zealand as the most connected country in our region - it recently announced 1 million Kiwi users.
Telecom claims Xtra has around 400,000 users including DSL and dial-up connections. ClearNet, in second place, has 150,000 users on its free ISP ZFree and around 260,000 on its paid service. Without either ISP, Hitwise has access to less than one quarter of New Zealand's internet users' records.
Paul Hashfield, local distributor for Hitwise, declined to comment on the issue, saying Hitwise has a policy of not discussing its sources of data for confidentiality reasons.