ABCThe monthly unique user metric - a scale by which newspaper websites can measure their popularity - could be discarded in favour of a daily figure by the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABCe).

Speaking today at an Association of Online Publishers (AOP) event in London, Richard Foan, ABC Electronic managing director, said that moving to a daily average figure could provide publishers with a more accurate picture of user behaviour - as changes in site use were vast throughout the monthly cycle that is the present standard.

The Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards (JICWEBS) - the ratifying body - will decide on whether to implement the change for all ABCe audited and accredited websites at its meeting in August.

The unique user metric, he said, was not a measure of people but a measure of the number of devices accessing a site.

It was in use, he added, as it was the preferred metric of the industry and offered a broadly comparable data set across websites from differing sectors.

"At the moment JICWEBS agrees that we measure unique users per month. With many people the belief is that it tends to overstate the number of devices the longer period over which you use that measure," Mr Foan said.

"One of the issues JICWEBS will be discussing on the first of August is moving to unique users per day as the preferred figure because numerous people delete cookies [files stored by browsers charting site visit history on which the unique user system is founded] but the majority don't delete them more than once a day.

"This will give much more information that many believe will be closer to what they want to measure."

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