“But, Baby, you know I love you — look at all those page-hits I’ve been sending your weblog!”
See the FTC Policy Statement on Deception (“the Commission will find deception if there is a representation, omission or practice that is likely to mislead the consumer acting reasonably in the circumstances, to the consumer’s detriment”); and FTC Policy Statement Regarding Advertising Substantiation (“Objective claims for products or services represent explicitly or by implication that the advertiser has a reasonable basis supporting these claims. These representations of substantiation are material to consumers.”)
The term “hit” is perhaps the most misused term in online marketing, mistakenly used to mean unique visitors, visits, page views, or all of the above. A hit is merely a request for a file from a Web server. A request for a Web page counts as a hit, but so does a request for a graphic on a Web page. Since the number of graphics per page can vary considerably, hits mean very little for comparison purposes.
“[P]lacing too much importance on page views and unique visitors is folly. Some analysts believe an over-reliance on those types of statistics contributed to flooding the e-commerce world with businesses destined to failure. (E-Commerce Times, Lies, Damned Lies, and Unique Visitors, June 21, 2000)
update (Sept. 10, 2005): For several months now, I’ve been using two (free) services that
count “unique visitors.” It appears that actual visitors are about 50% of my “page loads,”
and tend to be 6 to 10 percent of “hits” measured by my webserver.