Digital Magazine Forum: Audit or Money?

[by Dorian Benkoil] At the Digital Magazine Forum today, which is basically all about how to take print magazines and put them online. Right there, in that first sentence, you have a quandary: Is putting magazines online even a worthwhile goal? In the magazine world, circulation is king – audited circulation, as measured by the ABC, the Audit Bureau of Circulations, or BPA Worldwide, the business magazine equivalent.

On the Web, for the business side at least, it’s revenue. The audience and impressions report doesn’t come from a third-party audit and end up steeped in controversy about inflated or manipulated numbers. It comes from a server, a computer that has very specific rules about whether it’s counted an impression or not. An ad appears once a page is loaded, that ad is counted. Period. You can argue over whether it’s the right audience, or whether the ad made a lasting impression (no pun) but that’s true of magazines, as well. And there’s certainly no guesswork about whether someone even bothered to flip to your page.

The models and standards are not yet unified, but even people at ABC and BPA acknowledge that their days, at least doing it as they do it, may be numbered.

More to come, as this whole idea will be part of the panel discussions.

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