Wed, Jan 17, 2007 - Page 9 News List

Forget page views: Quality is trumping quantity on the Web

By Jeff Jarvis  /  THE GUARDIAN , LONDON

But more fundamental than all this is, again, that size doesn't matter anymore -- not in media. Oh, yes, the movie with the biggest box office or the book with the biggest sales still makes the most money -- for now at least. But in more and more of the media, mass measurements are obsolete because we are now fragmented into the mass of niches. And the truth is that we, the audience, never cared how many more people were watching what we watched. And advertisers don't care so much what we're watching so long as we're watching them.

In a world of so many choices, the audience cares about trust, taste, relevance, usefulness and not ratings. And advertisers care more about targeting, efficiency, engagement, branding and return on investment. These are better measurements than print circulation or broadcast ratings or online page views. And so now, publishers, advertisers and technologists must catch up and change their yardsticks for success yet again. It is time to measure quality over quantity.

Jeff Jarvis is a professor of journalism at the City University of New York and blogs at buzzmachine.com.

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