comScore Reinstates YuMe, for Now

YuMe has yo-yoed back into eighth place in comScore’s newly released July U.S. ad network rankings. The video ad startup had previously been awarded the same spot in June, but after complaints that YuMe had unfairly claimed all of MSN’s traffic (YuMe recently scored a deal to sell video ads on Microsoft’s unsold inventory), the web measurement firm had unceremoniously downgraded YuMe to No. 32, reordering its own press release and providing no comment on the matter until we asked for one.

YuMe declined to accept comScore’s second answer, prominently displaying the June top 10 list on its web site (which it still does; see the screenshot above). The Redwood City, Calif.-based company told us “We’re extremely disappointed with comScore’s handling of this situation.” It felt it had been unfairly disallowed to count the kind of traffic other ad networks do; that is, the total potential audience it could reach with its ads. comScore, meanwhile, maintained the MSN traffic had been “misassigned.”

Today comScore reveals in an endnote that it’s had a change of heart:

“comScore has verified that a legitimate business relationship exists between YuMe and Microsoft through documentation provided. Therefore the YuMe Video Network – Media Partners entity meets all current rules for inclusion as a custom entity in the Ad Focus category.”

comScore spokesperson Andrew Lipsman further explained in an email, “We had initially assigned Yume the MSFT network traffic even though it hadn’t gone through all the necessary steps to approve that traffic assignment. For July data it has met all the necessary the requirements, so that is what the footnote references.”

YuMe spokesperson George O’Brien replied, “Throughout this situation, YuMe has accurately adhered to comScore’s established policy on how a network needs to qualify for inclusion in Media Metrix and the Ad Focus ranking.”

All the he-said-she-said aside, YuMe is now back in eighth place for July with an audience of 136 million uniques, or the equivalent of 72 percent of online Americans.

But comScore also said earlier this week that it would be changing the way it measures ad networks, starting with the August data, to be released mid-September. It will now offer both the potential and actual reach of each ad network. That’s an important and overdue distinction. But YuMe gets this whole month to enjoy its bragging rights.