In a New York Times article about traffic on teh internets, Louise Story asks, "How many people visited Style.com, the online home of Vogue and W magazines, last month? Was it 421,000, or, more optimistically, 497,000? Or was the real number more than three times higher, perhaps 1.8 million?"
The conflict arises between web publishers' own numbers and the independent traffic trackers (and the advertisers who listen to them) like Nielsen/NetRatings and ComScore. It's a matter of trust, of which there isn't any, and a more phenomenological one of what constitutes a "visit," an issue that hasn't been so contentious since Britney and Kevin's custody battle.
One of CondéNet's beefs with the lowball Style.com estimate is that Nielsen, which bases its estimate on presumably representative panels of visitors, does "not include enough of the wealthier people whom Condé Nast says frequent many of its sites." That is probably so true! Though also like every 'it' girl, the site probably also thinks more people are paying attention to it than really are.
So how is Condé fighting back? Based on the premise that the rich are dumb, visitors to Style.com who tune in for fashion news are asked to "Please refresh your browser and check back soon for up-to-the-minute fashion news." We can just see the white-gloved, ermine-coated dowager, sadly hitting refresh on her browser over and over again, desperate to find out how Deborah Harry became the fashion icon she is today and exactly what Meredith Melling Burke suggest for the coming chilly days!