Will the screaming never end? As we reported on Friday, investors who lost money shorting Google (GOOG) into Thursday’s conference call wasted no more than a nanosecond in scapegoating Comscore (SCOR). With global anger boiling over, the Wall Street Journal and New York Times pounced on the scandal over the weekend.
COMSCORE’S BOGUS, INACCURATE CLICK DATA COST INVESTORS MILLIONS!
It’s a sexy story. If only it were true.
As we noted on Friday, Comscore’s data about Google’s US paid clicks:
- Was not just directionally accurate, but close to being plain old accurate: Google’s US clicks decelerated significantly in Q1. They almost certainly grew faster than the 2% Comscore reported, but it’s unlikely they grew faster than, say, 9% (Remember: As we and many other analysts made clear throughout the quarter, US paid clicks are not the same as the 20% global click number Google reported on the call).
- Prompted analysts to cut their estimates–which is the only reason Google exceeded consensus. In other words, by correctly identifying a trend in Google’s US clicks, Comscore’s data helped the market see Google’s US deceleration earlier.
True, the withering attack on Comscore’s integrity and accuracy has since prompted the company to release two detailed blog posts defending itself–posts that sound, well, defensive (The company should just ignore any additional fallout). And, true, Comscore’s posts disssecting its own Google data would have been more helpful during the quarter than after the fact–but then it’s not Comscore’s job to help investors formulate Google revenue projections (And Comscore did release one post analysing the click data after its first disappointing January report–an analysis clearly designed to protect it from just this sort of criticism in the event that Google’s revenue was stronger than expected). And, yes, third-party survey data could always be more accurate.
But the real story here is the same as it ever was: The world over, there’s only one thing louder than investors taking credit for their gains–and that’s investors blaming others for their losses.
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