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Marketing firm scrapes voter data from EC website to let political parties micro-target

Modak Analytics, a Hyderabad-based web analytics company, claims to have created a "big data based Electoral data repository" after scraping information of 81.4 crore voters from Election Commission website. The company now plans to analyze this data to help parties or candidates "raise funds, design a tailored communication to target a select few voters, rework advertisements and create detailed models for voter engagement in battleground states as well as in gender and voter clusters to increase the power of micro-targeted strategy," the company said in a statement to the Economic Times. A sample of the information is on its website (pdf ). For a constituency, Modak Analytics was able provide a caste-based split, the number or percentages of Muslim voters in a constituency, show a break-up in terms of age, and list constituencies with the most celebrities. The company claims it used in-house automation technologies to scan through nine lakh PDFs, with 2.5 crore pages get details of all the others. Its biggest challenge? The extraction and transliteration of the information, so that it could be merged with other systems. “Data from multiple sources like Census, Economic and Social surveys were mapped to polling booths. Simultaneously, external and propriety data sources had to be fused with individual voters’ data. Because of this complex nature, no big IT company ever ventured into this”, Aarti Joshi, EVP and co-founder of Modak Analytics, told ET. Why is this a problem That idea of using election data for marketing is not entirely new and has been suggested in the past by Netcore founder Rajesh…

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