Nielsen//NetRatings Questions Panel Members

Internet metrics firm Nielsen//NetRatings jumped into the online survey game Tuesday with WebIntercept, a tool that surveys panel members based on their behavior online.

The announcement follows competitor comScore Networks’ launch last week of a similar service, Survey Solutions, which it hired former NFO WorldGroup president and COO Randy Smith to head.

WebIntercept uses Nielsen//NetRatings’ panel of Internet users. Initially, the global panel will consist of two million respondents, but that will be expanded to three million next month.

Because it has software installed on these users’ machines, Nielsen//NetRatings can initiate surveys based on their behavior online. For example, the company recently surveyed people when they logged on to a search engine, asking them the purpose of the search. The survey could also be triggered by the completion of an activity, such as an online purchase — either on the client’s site or on a competitor’s.

“WebIntercept adds behavioral survey capabilities to our suite of market research tools and complements our proven strength in media research,” said William Pulver, president and CEO of NetRatings. Pulver said clients have shown interest in the service and “several companies across various industries” have signed on to use WebIntercept.

Nielsen//NetRatings competitor comScore Networks unveiled its own survey tool just last week, leveraging its global panel of 1.5 million consumers. ComScore, too, said it could target surveys based on online behavior. The company said it had seen demand for this type of service increase over the past two years.

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