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Quantcast, the company that places a piece of code on Web sites so that it can track traffic and other data directly, has raised $20 million more in financing.
The round was led by the Founders Fund and included Polaris Venture Partners. It follows $6 million in previous funding from Founders Fund, Revolution Ventures, Allen & Co., and the company’s founders.
Some 20,000 publishers have already agreed to place Quantcast’s code on their sites, which allows them to get more accurate information about the types of people that use their site. Quantcast supplies the service for free.
San Francisco’s Quantcast still hasn’t disclosed how it plans to make money, but chief executive Konrad Feldman suggested that one way may be to license the data it gets to advertising networks, so that advertisers can make better decisions about where best to advertise.
No other measurement companies has such an offering. There are sites like Comscore, which draw data from the surfing habits of large “panels” of Internet users. But few offer a code that tracks traffic directly from a site and then makes it publicly available. Sites with an interest in secrecy have avoided using Quantcast’s code. However, even here, Quantcast has moved to allow sites some flexibility in what is made public. (See our coverage of the significant methodology problems of industry leader Comscore and others).
Quantcast is also tracking widget traffic. Widgets have confused advertisers because widgets distribute content across multiple sites, and it’s difficult to know whether visitors to a site are actually reading the widget information. For example, if VentureBeat supplied a widget of news stories to the homepage of Dogster.com, few visitors to Dogster would likely stop to read VentureBeat’s news because it isn’t relevant to their passion (dogs), even though the widget would be registering plenty of traffic by counting all visitors to Dogster.com’s home page. Quantcast’s traffic tools help by measuring user interaction with the widget (see our coverage).
Quantcast combines its traffic with various panel data, to build audience profiles for Web sites. See the profile for CBSNews.com, for example (partial screenshot below).
Ken Howery of Founders Fund and Mike Hirshland of Polaris Venture Partners will join Quantcast’s board.
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