Published on Jewish Business News
By Ilan Shavit
Like online restaurant reviews, the analysis of commercial websites can make or break it. Potential advertisers look at those numbers, and when they are off, they might take their money elsewhere.
The Jerusalem Post Group on Wednesday filed a $250,000 lawsuit against a Tel Aviv Internet data analysis company named SimilarWeb, for just this kind of a bad review.
The Post is arguing in the suit that SimilarWeb was “negligent” in publishing incorrect comparisons of the Post website with its competitors. In fact, the plaintiff says the gaps between the SimilarWeb scores the real data was well outside the typical margin of error.
The Jerusalem Post is considered to be the leading Jewish news website—CEO Ronit Hasin-Hochman claims between 5 and 8 million unique visitors a month—or about 500,000 real readers—which explains why discovering a website that says otherwise would upset them.
The Post people compared SimilarWeb’s figures to reputable analytic sites Compete and Alexa, and, sccording to a source inside SimilarWeb speaking on condition of anonymity, they didn’t like how they looked compared with their biggest competitor – The Times of Israel.
Hasin-Hochman said that “while SimilarWeb professes to be a source of comparative Internet traffic data, the methods and tools they employ to obtain their data are not made public and are kept under a total blackout … The company’s data on Jewish world news websites constitute a false representation, and we will act to ensure that the injustice is repaired.”
Ariel Rosenstein, marketing director for SimilarWeb, sent this statement to JBN:
“We were surprised to learn that the Jerusalem Post Group has filed a suit against SimilarWeb as we have not received the statement of claim.
“SimilarWeb is building a new industry standard for measuring the digital world and provides estimates for millions of websites as a service to the industry and our millions of users. We aim to bring transparency to the entire digital ecosystem. We understand that transparency can be uncomfortable for some companies but we encourage them to embrace this future with us.
“SimilarWeb provides every company who feels that our web traffic estimations do not match their measurements with the ability to connect their internally measured analytics to our platform. This is an option that we invited Jpost.com to do previously and they refused for their own reasons.
“We think that Jpost.com offers a valuable and well needed service covering important issues for their global readership. SimilarWeb was proud to be selected by the Jpost.com as one of the 10 Start-ups to watch in 2015.”
According to a story in the Jerusalem Post, the plaintiffs approached SimilarWeb, to ask the company to fix the error and issue an apology. But as the suit claims, while SimilarWeb admitted the error, and corrected one post, they went right back to publishing the numbers the Post hated. Hence the lawsuit.