Much Ado About Comscore…

Did you get a load of the PR game being played out between Jeevansathi and Bharatmatrimony, using comScore (NSDQ: SCOR) figures? On March 4th, Info Edge’s (BOM: 532777) matrimonial site Jeevansathi.com issued a press release stating that it’s number one in the matrimonial market based on comScore numbers, claiming that it’s leading in “Unique Visitors, Total Page Views, Time Spent and Average Pages per Visitor”. A day later competitor Bharatmatrimony.com from the Consim Group countered (doc file), quoting comScore, Alexa, Trafficestimate.com and Juxtconsult to indicate that it’s number one, claiming that the number of their unique visitors is equal to the sum of unique visitors received by all the national matrimony players (for that period) and also double of the nearest competitor.

But then how does comScore arrive at these numbers? We contacted both Info Edge and Consim for a complete comScore report with methodology, and after quite a few reminders, both companies sent us different figures – Jeevansathi (jpg) and Bharatmatrimony (Excel)…but no methodology. So we contacted comScore for details on their methodology, and Owen West, Account Director, sent back a marketing presentation with no specifics of methodology, just that “our panel size in India is currently 16,000 strong.” So how many from this fairly small sample of 16,000 use matrimonial sites anyway?

We’ve received no information from comScore, Info Edge or Consim about the sampling methodology for India, the demographic information (age, sex, income, education) of the audience surveyed (except that respondents are in the 15+ age group), and the geographic information (region, city size, population density, urban/rural)…And they expect this data to be taken seriously? At the end of the day, who benefits? I’d say that with the increased attention, both Consim and Info Edge benefit, and gullible publications and blogs bite the bait without doing their own due diligence.

We’ve again asked comScore, Info Edge and Consim to explain the methodology. We’ll update you if that happens.

Update: Murugavel, CEO of the Consim Info has told contentSutra that “People always make a mistake (intentionally?) of comparing BharatMatrimony traffic leaving our 15 regional sites”, inferring that the comScore data used by Jeevansathi did not include their 15 regional sites. However, there’s nothing on the comScore methodology and demographic data.

Disclosure: I have an inconsequential number of shares of Info Edge

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