We really have to come up with better ways of measuring subscriptions and usage. After the entire ruckus by Naukri and Timesjobs about who is the big daddy as far as job sites go, it is now Reliance’s turn to go overboard with usage numbers. According to a release (reproduced almost in toto by Alootechie), Zapak Digital Entertainment has signed up more than 1 lakh users on a single day for their new email service Zapakmail.
If you go by IAMAI’s *cough* numbers, the average ‘active’ users in March 2007 was estimated at 28 million and the way ‘active’ has been defined is thus: “someone who has used the internet at least one in the last 30 days.” Even by that number, and after taking extreme liberties in considering it to be true and extrapolating it further, we have roughly 903,225 users for the March 07 number, on a daily basis in India. If you go by Zapak’s numbers (1,15,263 in a single day), it would mean that 1 out of 9 users who logged on to the net in India that day signed up for an email account at Zapak. How likely is that? You can judge that for yourself since there’s no way we are going to get the real numbers out of Reliance.
In any case, as it was earlier with the Sunsilk Gang of Girls concept, sign ups are not a good enough measure of stickiness and active users. You might have a million signed up users who never log in and the reason why we can’t ever agree on which site is better is because everyone has different definition of an active user. And this is a problem that the industry has to address at some point because even with the presence of an external auditor, metrics like pageviews, user sessions are far from being above board and bereft of inflation.
p.s: Sanjeev, please get your blog hosted on Naukri than on Blogger, or at least get a better template than the boring default blogger template. It would not take more than half a day for the chaps at your labs to get this done.