This short response does two things. First, it argues that urban benchmarks have specific and structural limits not identified in the principal essay in this intervention, which curtail the kinds of constructive and critical work such benchmarks might be expected to perform. ISO 37120 is discussed as an example. Second, it proposes a pluralistic approach to engagement and offers six suggestions for how academics might take urban benchmarks and their makers seriously without becoming fully embedded in their business. These are: ethnography, discourse analysis, self-reflexive critique, critical urban benchmarking, alternative publication channels and scholarly debate.