CAMPAIGN-I: Perspective - Proper audits will help market grow

As the Digital Grim Reaper sharpens his scythe on sport it's time

to reflect on where next for this medium. The shakeout across all

sectors still has some months to run but the smoke is settling from the

burning pyres of dotcoms culled for simply not having a business.

Despite the gloom, I'm optimistic. It's the end of the beginning. We

have entered a phase where rationality has returned to the world and

sanity presides over the growth of those with real-world ambitions and


The days of "if we build it, they will come" are over and have been

replaced with a philosophy of "we will only build it if they are here

already and it pays".

Now the landscape is clearing we need a starting point to retrain the

minds of brand owners and their agencies. We, as an industry, are

growing up, but advertisers and agencies can't follow by osmosis. We

need to help them.

The starting point is a level playing field - transparency. All sites

chasing revenues should publish recognised traffic figures using

standardised metrics. Only 185 UK sites have an ABC Electronic

certificate. This is too low given the myriad that still exist. Are

those that don't publish scared that if brand owners and the media see

up their skirts, then what little revenue they are generating will dry

up? It is this attitude that is crippling the industry.

I challenge every commercial website to get a recognised audit by

September and at least quarterly thereafter. Stop trading on out-of-date

or made up traffic figures. If The Times, ITV or Heart 106.2 didn't

publish their figures would you part with your marketing budget to

advertise within, or sponsor, their content? No you would not.

So why is it different on the internet?

Publish or be damned - those that don't are bringing the medium into

disrepute. Brands and agencies should take note of who is prepared to

put their money where their mouth is. Yes, the landscape is changing and

consolidation across all sectors is bloody - but necessary. The outlook

is bleak only for companies that, despite multi- million pound

investment, fail to manage expectations.

This medium is still growing faster than any other in history and has

critical mass, especially among young upmarket adults. Look upon the end

of the beginning as a positive cleansing experience. Once the shake-out

shudders to a halt, brands will see the real landscape and take

advantage of the opportunities we all know are there.


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