ZDNet Reporter Doesn’t Buy Chitika’s iPad Web Traffic Survey Numbers

ZDNet reporter Ed Bott is questioning the figures shared in a new study from the ad network Chitika, which reported today that web traffic coming from iPads dropped by 7.14 percent in the days after Christmas. The report, which we linked to earlier today (along with many other media outlets), also found that web traffic coming from the Kindle Fire increased 3.03 percent this year over last year.

Bott was not satisfied with this dramatic shift in numbers, so he did some investigating into Chitika to see how accurate their data actually is. Unhappy with the vague description of the company’s reporting methodology shared on their site, Bott went over previous studies from the company and found some numbers that didn’t add up.

Here is more from Bott’s piece: “For example, last May Chitika breathlessly reported that OS X usage was up 2.58% month over month (from 11.44% to 14.02%), while Windows usage was down 2.99%. There was no reason for the dramatic shift; it just happened. But one month later Windows usage increased dramatically while Mac usage was down significantly. Meanwhile, in the month of July, Chitika reported that half of all Linux users abruptly stopped using their preferred operating system, with Linux share dropping from 2.05% to 1.12%.”

UPDATE: Andrew Waber from Chitika’s PR team got in touch with us over email and had this to say:

Responding directly to some of the claims made in his piece, our publisher base varies between small blogs to large scale enterprise sites, and everything in between, within a wide variety of verticals (e.g. Health, Tech, Home Improvement, etc.). While our studies are only a representation of our ad network, our ads appear on more than 40 of the Alexa Top 500 sites, and three of the top 10. You can view some of our largest publishers in the lower half of our homepage: http://chitika.com/. We have several quality checks in place to ensure accuracy and reliability of our data. We compare our samples with overall search traffic for each study, work alongside manufacturers, and match our market share data up to other third party analysts to ensure it generally matches up with what they are seeing. 
Additionally, the Data Solutions team at Chitika, which generates Chitika Insights reports, consists of computer scientists all with extensive experience with statistics.