Yahoo reports
that Nielsen/NetRatings will be scrapping the pageview-based rankings
system that’s long comprised the industry’s webpage yardstick, in favor
of tracking the length of time visitors spend at sites.

The move comes as new technologies, such as online video and AJAX, chip at the relevance of pageviews.

AJAX in particular is tricky, as it automatically populates sites
with new information without a user having to refresh the screen or
pull up new pages. This technology renders the pageview yardstick
virtually worthless.

comScore Media Metrix, a Nielsen rival, recently developed a new
metric to weather changes in site value led by AJAX. “Site visits”
count the number of times a person returns to a site with a break of a
half hour or more.

“Based on everything that’s going on with the influx of Ajax and
streaming, we feel total minutes is the best gauge for site traffic,”
said director Scott Ross of Nielsen’s product marketing.