Is Dirty Data From Registrations An Advertising Scandal Waiting To Happen?

from the might-be... dept

Adam Penenberg is on a roll. After pointing out that the NY Times is missing out on the internet due to its registration system, and then admitting to contributing to the dirty data in most registration databases, he’s now suggesting this may be an even bigger scandal waiting to happen. There have been a bunch of stories over the past few weeks concerning newspapers admitting to over-stating their circulation numbers. The problem with this, of course, is that advertisers buy print ads based, in part, on circulation and demographics. If the circulation is wrong, they’ve been sold something under false terms. On the web, it’s that demographics part that’s the problem. With all that dirty data, will sites need to admit to advertisers that the demographic info they’re selling is contaminated? While many sites insist that there isn’t that much dirty data, it’s increasingly looking like they’re trying to play down a serious problem. Just as advertisers are asking for refunds for bogus circulation data for print newspapers, how long will it be until online advertisers ask for refunds on bogus web demographic information?

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