Slate, Scams and The Problem with Numbers

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By Dorian Comment

slate.jpgLooks like the move to Newsweek-WashPo has done Slate some good. Their mention in Min Online got us looking into the numbers, which appear to be way up*. But how up is up?

Slate itself notes how fuzzy all the math can be. “Confront any Internet mogul with the numbers published by the two big web ratings houses, Nielsen/NetRatings and comScore Media Metrix, and you’re in for an earful about how they’re wrong, wrong, wrong,” notes writer Paul Boutin. Still, he insists, “Internet publishing is the most finely measurable medium ever invented.”

We agree. But we’re starting to doubt ourselves. Our illusions took a knock when we learned the new ways web-sters are jacking up the numbers to trick advertisers. Guess those jokes we used to tell about having all our friends and family click all the ads weren’t so funny, after all.

* Slate, according to Min editor-in-chief Steve Cohn — who graciously shared numbers not on the site — says Slate’s up in unique monthly visitors a whopping 35% from November to December, at 4.6 million, and up a million in pageviews, to 6.1.

NB to Min: you mention the new success of Conde’s domino.com. We think you mean dominomag.com.

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