Nielsen//NetRatings reports that it has improved its audience measurement for search engine sites by reassigning pages that are delivered by default when a user enters a non-existent URL, otherwise known as a Domain AutoSearch error page.The AutoSearch feature in Microsoft Internet Explorer helps users find the content they are seeking more quickly by integrating the search process directly into the browser address bar. When a non-existent URL is entered, users receive a Domain AutoSearch error page served by their preferred searc h engine. In July 2003, the company implemented a definitional change, reassigning Domain AutoSearch error pages to exclude them from the search channel. Nielsen//NetRatings has worked with major search companies to make this enhancement consistent. Updates have been completed with MSN, Yahoo!, Overture, and Netscape.
Table 1: Unduplicated Unique Audience To Search Channels of MSN Search, Yahoo!Search, Overture and Netscape Search
Including Domain AutoSearch Error Pages 80,167,151 Excluding Domain AutoSearch Error Pages 73,604,495 Difference -6,562,656 Difference Percentage -8.2%
Source: Nielsen//NetRatings, July 2003, US Home and Work Combined