comScore’s microsoft sites ranking is so flawed

Check out this chart out from comScore via Paul Kedrosky:


The top two sites are probably not a surprise to anyone. But look at the third ranked entry: “Microsoft Sites.” If you haven’t followed comScore before, you probably would be surprised by the high ranking of Microsoft, given its generally lacking performance of its web properties. But before you jump to the conclusion that MSN or Windows Live (or whatever their latest brand is), you should know that this number includes microsoft.com. Microsoft.com is the corporate home page for Microsoft, visited by people to check for the latest Windows or Office patches, searching for support info, finding out about their product offerings, etc. I have no idea why comScore combines two very different sets of content, msn.com/live.com, and microsoft.com, into one measure. This just seems wrong to me, particularly if I’m an advertiser. The traffic to microsoft.com does not show ads, nor does it give my ads any impressions. So why combine the measure?

Ok, you may argue that microsoft.com is probably not a very big traffic driver compared to say msn.com/live.com properties. But you would be completely wrong. Just look at Apple.com, which is entirely about their product lines (perhaps with a very small contribution from .Mac). Apple generated ~48M unique visitors in April. In contrast, Microsoft, which owns about 95% of both the desktop OS and office productivity apps market, and also has a much wider product line than Apple, should in theory generate alot more unique visitors to microsoft.com. And yet the “Microsoft Sites” number is just 2.5x of the Apple numbers.

So the question is: just how many uniques is going to hotmail.com, msn.com and live.com properties, the real competitors to Google and Yahoo? I think comScore will be well served by tallying msn/live separately from microsoft.com.


3 Responses to “comScore’s microsoft sites ranking is so flawed”

  1. 1 jim
    May 17, 2008 at 4:37 am

    Your point is interesting, but the reason comScore reports this way is it reporting out a property level. Property is the higest level and defined by ownership. Fox includes myspace and foxtv.

    Agencies look deeper than propery level when doing an analysis for advertising. Actually comScore reports out an ad view report for agencies.

    Btw – microsoft.com and some of the more tech/dev sites are much more valuable to advertisers than msn.com.

  2. May 17, 2008 at 10:04 am

    I take your point Jim, but there is no advertising on microsoft.com, as far as I can tell. So I think this report (at this level) is really distorting the perceived importance of msn.com.

  3. 3 Fangio
    May 18, 2008 at 3:37 am

    This is only one of many different ways in which comScore clients can view visitation data. They can further slice and dice and analyze it as needed. This view just happens to be the one at the most aggregate level of ownership. Regarding Wlai’s point about advertising, there’s one heck of a lot of Microsoft advertising on microsoft.com!

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