AJAX Affects Page Views

BetaNews is examining the comScore Media Metrix report that MySpace has taken the top site away from Yahoo. It is being noted that Yahoo! had recently changed many of their pages to use AJAX, which requires less page views to show the same amount of content.

This is a great issue. How do you calculate the “top site” if the value of page views is constantly changing? By making their site more efficient Yahoo! has potentially hurt itself in the eyes of the sound bite, yet has increased user satisfaction – a better metric for them to care about in the long run.

Instead of page views, Reel Pop is suggesting that we use “average time per user” on a site. This seems like a good metric for all of the content on a site, but what about distributed content? Sites are sending out their content via RSS and Widgets in increasing numbers. This is how many users interact with a site. RSS is becoming monetized; Widgets may become so in the future. How should distributed content from a site be included in a site’s ranking?