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Quantcast Claims Open Internet Ratings Service

In the wake of the Interactive Advertising Bureau's call for audits to comScore and Nielsen//Net Ratings, Quantcast is saying it is the first open Internet ratings site, claiming direct audience measurement and transparency, reports MediaPost.

Quantcast ultimately plans to match advertisers with target audiences, creating an audience search engine. A free service, Fox, Facebook, Gawker, and Answers.com are already using Quantcast.

The IAB has already said panel-based research cannot sufficiently size audiences. Many sites find that the traffic reported by the firms is vastly inflated or under-reported. The instances of under-reporting bring complaints.

Some sites - large and small - have also complained to MarketingVOX that the older panel companies are creating a pay-to-play scheme, where they engage media buying agencies to use their data exclusively. Sites outside the top 20 spots find themselves sometimes strangely absent in the listings, and contacting the panel companies about it elicits sales calls for $25,000 data contracts.

Online advertising spending exceeded $16 billion last year, but it was concentrated among the portals. Niche sites often go uncounted or undercounted by panels, a problem that the IAB believes is holding back the industry.

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