So who watches the watchmen? Google’s Eric Schmidt whose pointed comments on comScore’s dire predictions about advertising revenue is obviously unsure, and the internet giant’s results have left confidence in internet traffic reports at a low ebb.
ComScore’s prediction of just a two per cent rise in clicks on paid-for advertising was in stark contrast to Google’s announcement of a 20 per cent rise – leading to Schmidt commenting that "paid click growth was much higher than has been speculated by third parties."
This, in turn, left comScore’s share price down as the industry ruminated on the long held doubts that companies such as comScore were providing accurate measure of true internet traffic.
However, comScore’s data was US based and Google’s measurement worldwide, and although their figure was low, it did show the right trend in terms of click growth beginning to fall.
Magid Abraham, the chief executive of comScore insisted that their data is meant for analysts who know the limitations of the collection, telling the International Herald Tribune: "At the end of the day, our data is really only one element for predicting profit and loss, but people become overly focused on it."
Internet traffic prediction is an imprecise science, with panels and samples used to extrapolate total figures, in much the same way as television audience is predicted in the UK.
However, the figures are then used extensively within the industry in the selling of adverts across sites, meaning that accuracy can be a make or break factor for companies.