‘Mention “audit” to David Barlin, vice president of marketing for I/Pro, a company that verifies audience data for about 500 small and medium-sized websites, and he practically gushes.
“They’re exciting,” he said, not at all defensively. “Really.”
That’s because he and the company he works for see a potential gold mine in independently auditing the traffic for all the sites that are not Google, Yahoo or MSNBC — the tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of commercial websites dedicated to niche subjects like business-to-business, chemical engineering, software development and online publishing. Since fans of these types of sites rarely make it to the mass portals, advertisers have been clamoring for ways to reach them.
Of course, Yahoo is fine if you want to peddle mass consumer items like, say, camera phones, vacation getaways and the latest Hollywood offering. But if you want to sell a new type of chip, manufacture routers or market a B-to-B website, you need to go straight to the people most likely to buy your product. To figure out whether a certain site will give a sufficient return on advertising, however, requires accurate traffic forecasts, something that has been lacking.’
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