- UK retail biz site MCV has posted a list of Media Metrix/ComScore 'unique user data' for UK game and entertaiment sites in January 2007 which is pretty interesting, but I think, all kinds of off the mark.

The figures, which aren't often made public, were sent out by IGN, and claim: "Media Metrix/ComScore’s full list of unique users of games and entertainment sites in January reads:

1 IGN Entertainment 4.1m
2 IGN Entertainment - Games 3.2m
3 Gamespot.co.uk 2.7m
4 IGN.com 2.5m
5 Gamesradar.com 997,000
6 MSN Movies - UK 980,000
7 Rottentomatoes.com 886,000
8 IGN.COM Home Page 627,000
9 Hollywood.com 534,000
10 Yahoo! UK & Ireland Movies 516,000
11 Ifilm.com 455,000
12 Eurogamer.net 225,000
13 Computerandvideogames.com 165,000
14 Totalvideogames.com 93,000."

Now, obviously, there's no way to use Alexa.com to prove or disprove this, because Alexa doesn't do any geotargeting, so you can't separate out the UK users of any given site from its North American and other worldwide users. But I will say that if Eurogamer's ABC-audited stats for November 2006 had more than 1.31 million unique users visiting the site, then it hardly seems credible that they've shrunk by a factor of 6 for January when you discount international traffic.

This is hardly an apples for apples comparison - ABC Electronic, as far as I understand it, actually surveys the site traffic directly: "ABCE certifies figures based on census measurements which reflect total site activity, rather than simple ratings or sample-based research." Whereas Media Metrix uses much more of a TV ratings approach, with certain consumers signed up to be guinea pigs for the service.

In any case, I'm not saying that Media Metrix/Comscore is empirically wrong at all times - it is, after all, used by a lot of people, and isn't a million miles away from the method that Alexa uses. But I don't see why the 'census' approach should be taken for websites, when you can just plug into the site itself and count how many visits and page views there are. This would eliminate all of the controversy also at work in the U.S., where fights occasionally break out over who's #3 in the Media Metrix ratings, and spurious sites like CheatPlanet have hovered high up lists in the past.

Anyhow, this isn't particularly a 'rah rah Eurogamer' post - some of the other stats (particularly Computerandvideogames.com) seem pretty off too. As a parting thought - here's the worldwide difference between Eurogamer and GamesRadar ratings in Alexa as of right now, and it just doesn't seem to compare to the discrepancy in the Media Metrix scores, unless relatively many more continental Europeans and Americans than UK residents read Eurogamer.

[UPDATE - 02/19/07 - A keen-eyed friend points out that Alexa has now added country-specific rankings to its listings, meaning you can see exactly where sites are ranked in terms of relative placing - if not absolute numbers. It has Eurogamer as #3 overall of the major game sites based on UK stats, and GameSpot and IGN neck and neck at the top - with GameSpot currently just ahead. So there you go - drastically different from the ComScore results.]