updated 3/14/2007 6:45:01 PM ET 2007-03-14T22:45:01

The online measurement service ComScore Media Metrix has come up with a new way of measuring Web traffic as new technologies increasingly make one of the current industry yardsticks less meaningful.

ComScore said Wednesday it is now reporting on site "visits" — defined as the number of times a person returns to a site with a break of at least a half-hour.

Currently, sites and advertisers often use page views, a figure that reflects the number of Web pages a visitor pulls from a site.

However, many sites are increasingly using a software trick called Ajax to improve the user experience. It allows sites to update data automatically and continually, without users needing to pull up new pages. Page views decline as a result.

ComScore and its rival, Nielsen/NetRatings, also report unique audience _ the number of visitors to a site in a given month, whether that person visits once for 10 seconds or several times. The measurement helps advertisers know they aren't displaying ads to the same people over and over, even if the site draws significant page views.

The "visits" measure from comScore supplements those metrics.

In a blog posting, Peter Daboll, Yahoo Inc.'s chief of insights and the former chief executive of comScore, said the new metric should let sites measure audience loyalty by showing whether a visitor comes just once or multiple times in a given day.

"You could even argue that multiple visits a day is more valuable than one long visit, even if the amount of time spent on the site is the same," Daboll wrote. "Why? Because that user is choosing to come back again and again."

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