Underneath the Internet advertising economy is a key metric that
dictates how properties are valued and how online media is bought and
sold – the page view.
While it’s not the only way to measure the health of a site (time spent
and unique users are among the others), it’s still very popular.
Unfortunately, the trusty page view is on life support and I give it
four years to live.

This may sound like heresy to most of you. After all, the page view
has served us well. It has established a universal way to measure web
sites. However, the metric is about to become a moot point.

The page view does not offer a suitable way to measure the next
generation of web sites. These sites will be built with Ajax, Flash and
other interactive technologies that allow the user to conduct affairs
all within a single web page – like Gmail or the Google Reader. This
eliminates the need to click from one page to another. The widgetization of the web will only accelerate this.

This is a dirty little secret
in the advertising business that no one wants to talk about. Media
companies love to promote how many page views their properties get.
They’ve used the data to build equity. They will fight it tooth and
nail to protect it, perhaps by not embracing interactive technologies
as quickly as they should. But that’s not going to stop the revolution
from coming.

Microsoft (an Edelman client) and Google are each pushing platforms
that are very interactive and reduce the need to turn pages. Over time
millions of users will grow to love these services. They will like how
they can accomplish so much so quickly, without ever having to go
anywhere else. Smart companies like ESPN and The New York Times get it
so they’re wisely establishing their own interactive platforms. But they’re in the minority.

As the page view platform crumbles, there’s going to be a shake out.
Everyone is going to scramble to find a metric that helps them compete
for ad dollars. Enjoy the show.