At Yahoo's finance site, stock quotes update automatically and continually, the numbers flashing green and red as prices rise and fall. Wall Street investors can easily leave a single Web page up all day.

Ajax - the software trick used on the page, Yahoo's e-mail service and elsewhere - is enabling flashier, more convenient sites. It's also contributing to Yahoo's decline in page views, a yardstick long used for bragging rights and advertising sales.

"These technologies have outgrown the metrics," said Peter Daboll, Yahoo's chief of insights and the former chief executive of comScore Media Metrix, the measurement company that declared Yahoo second to the online hangout MySpace in page views. "It's really important as an industry to come back down to earth and off this chest-thumping about who's biggest."

More important than "truckloads of page views," Daboll said, are visitors' loyalty and their willingness to respond to ads — qualities harder to measure. If a page updates on its own without reloading in its entirety, people may be sticking around longer than the measurements suggest.

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