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Ajax May Undermine Web Advertising, Analytics Models

Ajax, a do-it-yourself approach using a hodgepodge of JavaScript, Dynamic HTML, and XML to create faster and more interactive sites, may soon cause web publishers, online advertisers and web analytics firms to change how they function, writes TechWeb's Fredric Paul (via paidcontent), adding: "Ajax shatters the metaphor of a web 'page' upon which much of web publishing and advertising is based." It has already become so popular that Microsoft plans to build an Ajax tool, code-named Atlas, and it is in use at Google Maps and Yahoo's Flickr.

Ajax reduces the need for an entire webpage to reload to show fresh data: "It questions the assumptions of why do I have to do a page refresh to do anything," according to Adaptive Path's Lane Becker.

"If sites track traffic and sell ads based on pageview impressions, everything changes when users start interacting with the site and making multiple changes without ever refreshing a page. Does all of that count as a single page view? Or do we need to count clicks, or use a stopwatch to time how long they spend on each 'page'?" Paul writes.

Traffic metrics are also affected by the technology, because most sites measure traffic in terms of visitors and pageviews. Though visitor counts are unaffected, Becker says "this blows away the page-view metaphor. Click paths have to be measured differently."

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