Groupalia claims 4.5m 'active users' – that's those on the mailing list to you and me

Groupalia logoGroupalia, the Groupon-clone that operates in Spain, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Chile, has put out what at first glance seems like some impressive figures. The headline number: the group buying site now has 4.5 million users. And, perhaps better still, the company is expecting to record a turnover of $100m in 2011.

As I say, impressive.

Except I had no idea how you measure users of a group buying site. Were these monthly visitors to the website, those that had actually put money down on one or more daily deals, or simply names on Groupalia’s mailing list. So I asked for clarification.

The company issued the following response:

Our database has 4.5 million active users. We do not disclose the amount of buyers or conversion ratios as we believe they are a key indicator for our industry.

Right, so these aren’t people who have taken up an offer but they are “active users” and they live in Groupalia’s database. I was none the clearer.

Can you define “active users”?

Active users are people who receive our daily newsletter.

OK, well at least we got there in the end. Groupalia has 4.5m users on its mailing list. Now, if that list was grown organically via the site’s daily deals and the way group buying sites encourage sharing, it’s still a meaningful metric. But email lists can be acquired and usually are to at least get the ball rolling.

As for that projected revenue of $100m for calendar year 2011? It’s based on analyzing monthly sales in December and “extrapolating our growth pattern of 2010.”

That clears that up too.

Groupalia is VC-funded to the tune of $7.5m, having raised its B round in October last year. The company has around 250 employees and, while many of the clones are fizzling out, Groupalia has been aggressively expanding beyond its continental European roots to Latin America.