Top Internet leaders Aberdeen Research Group, Alta Vista, Arbitron, comScore, DoubleClick, eMarketer, Gartner Group, Greenfield Online, Motorola, NetRatings, NetZero, Nielsen Media Research, OlgilvyOne, PC Data, Radiate, WashingtonPost.Newsweek Interactive, Word of Net, Yahoo!, Ziff Davis, 24/7Media, and The American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Wireless Advertising Association have agreed to form the Internet Measurement Initiative (IMI).
The IMI began as the Radiate Internet Roundtable (RIR), an initiative begun by Radiate, a technology services company in Mountain View, CA. The group plans to carry on the work begun several years ago by the FAST organization.
"We started the RIR to address and solve issues surrounding Internet audience measurement and hoped that it would grow to become an independent group recognized for its industry leadership," said Ehren Maedge, CEO of Radiate. "That day came and members voted to form the Internet Measurement Initiative."
As the RIR, the group was funded entirely by Radiate. As the IMI, however, the association will now charge a nominal annual fee to offset meeting costs and other expenses. IMI members have formed committees to research and solve issues surrounding audience definitions and categorization.
"We must first re-visit the basic web audience metrics and pursue industry standardization," said Gerard Broussard, Senior Partner at OgilvyOne and IMI member. "With the momentum we have in this group, I am confident we can do that quickly."
Another issue on the agenda is industry categorization. Currently, standards do not exist among metrics firms or the industry regarding to which category (i.e., finance, news, et al.) a company belongs. "This is a serious issue that we face everyday," said Manish Bhatia of Nielsen//Net Ratings and IMI member. "The IMI will work to bring order to this somewhat chaotic area."
The American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Wireless Advertising Association have agreed to work with the IMI. "The IMI has tremendous momentum, a honed objective and path for achieving it," said Mike Donahue, executive vice president, member services of the AAAA. "I am pleased to work with it on this very important and timely industry initiative."