Tool keeps score on Web traffic

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An Internet audience measurement tool introduced this week will enable government agencies to find out not only how Web surfers are using their sites, but also what pages they visit the rest of the time they are logged on.

ComScore Networks Inc. this week introduced govScore, which was created specifically to help analyze e-government initiatives, said Tammy Jaffer, general manager of the company's newly created government solutions group at the E-Gov trade show in Washington, D.C.

GovScore is the only Internet audience measurement service designed to serve agencies' needs by providing up-to-date insight into the behavior of the millions of visitors to government sites, Jaffer said.

Government agencies that depend on e-government initiatives can use the data to see how visitors use their sites and to benchmark month-to-month performance against comparable sites.

"GovScore allows an agency to understand not only what's going on with their Web site with user analysis, but understand what's going on outside of the Web site," Jaffer said. "It provides a 360-degree behavioral view of what visitors do."

GovScore uses comScore's global network of more than 1.5 million opt-in users to capture Internet traffic and transaction activity through federal, state and local government Web sites. Users that opt in do not receive any financial compensation, but do benefit from a doubling of download speeds on their computers, Jaffer said.

"We've talked to a number of major federal agencies, and they're very interested in this information," she said. "We're the only company that has it, and the solution is a huge benefit for them in that it's not tracking Web sites, but is tracking our panel of 1.5 million users, or 1.5 percent of the population of the Internet at large."

ComScore keeps its users' personal information confidential and is one of only about 25 companies to receive Ernst & Young's Cyber Seal of Approval for privacy, Jaffer said.

In addition to unveiling govScore at the E-Gov show, Reston, Va.-based comScore also announced the creation of a government solutions division and appointed Jaffer to lead the group. She said the division has been operational for about two months and has about 15 employees working across a number of technical disciplines.

Jaffer said she expects to announce the first government customer for govScore "within a week" and noted that the National Library of Medicine is using a commercial version of the product, and it would be a natural step to switch to the new government-specific offering.

GovScore is available for an annual subscription of $24,000 and can be customized for an agency based on the depth and length of the services it wants, she said. Once an agency signs on, users are given a password, and access to the tracking information is instantaneous.

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