Two internet research specialists, Media Metrix and Jupiter Communications, agreed yesterday to combine their businesses in a $414m stock deal.

The duo’s output is now widely regarded as a key barometer of a web venture's success or failure. Media Metrix ranks websites’ greatest hits - or at least most frequent hits – by automatically counting "unique visitors" to some 21,000 sites; its indices, among them Media Metrix 500, have become key data for the dotcom industry. Conversely, Jupiter boasts a legion of analysts who produce research and projections on industry sectors such as electronic commerce or online music. It also runs a conferences on subjects such as online advertising, the internet's impact on the financial services industry, and the wireless sector.

Together, the duo, rebranded as Jupiter Media Metrix under the leadership of Metrix’s Tod Johnson, will challenge technology research rivals such as Gartner Group, Forrester and Giga. It will have an aggregated market value of $1bn and plans to expand into the UK, Germany, France, Japan, Australia and Brazil.

News source: Financial Times