NetValue Under Fire as It Prepares to Enter U.S.

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NetValue, a global system for measuring and analyzing consumer behavior on the Internet based in Paris, will make its U.S. debut at the Spring '99 Internet World on April 5. The company enters a competitive field with market leaders already established in the United States.


The service, which is currently available in France, Germany and the United Kingdom, is a panel-based system that provides insight into consumer behavior while engaged in online activity, including what sites they are visiting, what ads they are clicking on and what applications they are using.


Equipped with this information, corporations can make educated decisions regarding e-commerce, marketing and adding features. The company has been helping clients in Europe - such as Microsoft, Yahoo, L'Oreal and Procter & Gamble - since December of 1997.


NetValue's competitors include Media Metrix, New York, an Internet measurement firm which purchased AdRelevance, an Internet advertising and ad tracking firm last fall.


According to Kofi Blankson, president of NetValue USA, New York, his service is far superior because it tracks all consumer actions, not just those related to marketing.


"It is a solution which covers measuring all of the Internet. Businesses can validate their entire strategy from customer outreach to backend fulfillment to research and development for products and services and customer service. The competition is still tracking ads which is still a small [part of the big picture]."


"That sounds like a great sales statement to launch its new service in the U.S.," said Doug McFarland, senior vice president and general manager for Media Metrix. "We looked at their technology. It's very weak. They had a nice small success in Europe. It's going to be extraordinarily difficult here."


Media Metrix currently offers its measurement services in France, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Canada, Australia and Japan. Their panel overseas consists of 25,000 people. NetValue's panel of Internet users consisted of 1,500 Internet households in each of the three countries it is offered in.


"We've looked at their data in Europe. We're currently beating them rather badly in Europe which is their backyard," said McFarland.


NetValue's other U.S. competitors include Nielsen//NetRatings, which also was formed last fall as result of the combining of ACNielsen Corp., New York, a leading market research firm and NetRatings Inc., Milpitas, CA, a leading Internet audience researcher.


Additionally, market research firm PC Data Online, Reston, VA, which tracks Web usage and Internet buying patterns partnered last month with advertising tracking company Leading Web Advertisers, New York, to develop a service that helps advertisers gauge the effectiveness of their campaigns.


PC Data Online also plans to move overseas shortly because of client demand. "We're looking at global markets. That's clearly where a lot of this will play out in the next couple of years," said Jim Carey, director of public relations at PC Data Online.


"If [a client company] can find a one-stop shop of course they can go with that."


In the meantime, Carey said, "The competition over here in the States is unbelievably fiercer. We very rarely say positive things about each other. [In these] stories we appear to unload each other. It's an uphill battle."


Blankson is undeterred. "These companies have a pension for spinning themselves much larger," he said. "Media Metrix, NetRatings ... look at their names. They are about rating the Web. They're positioned as media research. That doesn't give the full picture. It's a much more simplistic model than what we have."


"I don't think he knows exactly what we do," said McFarland.


In the U.S., NetValue has assembled a panel of 2,500 households. It hopes to have 20,000 by year's end. The panel constructed by Media Metrix is 50,000. PC Data Online's U.S. panel has 200,000 people.


CAPTION:


NetValue hopes to have a panel of 20,000 households by the end of the year.
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