Measurement Menaces of 2014: The Hypocrisy of Vendors and Agencies Who Are Two-Faced On Measurement Standards

two faced person

Our Measurement Menace of the Year Award for 2014 exposes hypocrisy of the highest order. Most of the measurement world is now familiar with the Barcelona Principles and the industry standards for social media and traditional measurement that grew from them. What it doesn’t know is that many of the companies and organizations that so energetically wave the standards flag in their self-interest will not pledge to support those standards.

Our Menace of the Year Award goes to all those organizations that helped created the measurement standards, and that leverage the ensuing publicity to build their businesses, but have failed to sign a simple pledge to support the very standards they helped create.

The two major professional organizations that promote the standards, the IPR (Institute for Public Relations) and AMEC (the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication), can’t even get their own members and sponsors to pledge to support the standards. Of 16 members of the board of AMEC, just one is represented on the list of those who’ve pledged. The IPR does even worse, with just 2 out of 48 on the pledge list. I’ve named some specific names below.

But First, Why Does This Matter?

“What’s the big deal?” you ask. Here’s the thing. Many of these companies continue to profit by providing services that don’t meet the standards, and thereby hold back the progress that the industry would make if we all met the standards. Take AVE (Advertising Value Equivalency) for instance. Companies make big money from these false and inflated metrics, because they cost practically nothing to calculate, yet plenty of people pay for them so they can pretend to do measurement. So hypocritical vendors and agencies will sponsor work on developing standards with one hand while selling sub-standard measurement with the other. What many non-pledgers apparently fail to realize is that taking the pledge only indicates that they support the concept of standards, not that they are in compliance with them.

Hall of Shame

Here are a few examples of organizations that hyped their measurement cred during AMEC’s Measurement Week, and in public pay lip service to measurement standards, yet have still not signed the pledge:


  • BurrellesLuce
  • Cision
  • Gorkhana
  • iSentia
  • Custom Scoop
  • Media Miser
  • Meltwater


  • Fleishman Hilliard
  • Ketchum
  • Hill & Knowlton
  • Weber Shandwick
  • Burson-Marteller
  • Edelman
  • Ogilvy
  • Apco

We ask you our readers, many of whom are customers of these organizations, to inquire why they haven’t taken the pledge. And, if they don’t pledge,  then start an RFP process and find a company that does.

The thing that really bothers me here is that these standards only deal with research methods and definitions. Pretty basic stuff, really. But if we can’t get our industry to support these, what’s going to happen when ethical standards are developed? ∞

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