MERIT has developed its own procedures to evaluate the popularity and social value that individuals and teams draw from the general public. The basic guidelines of MERIT methodology consist of estimating the social value by means of two complementary elements: the popularity and the media value. Even if both notions are difficult to seize, we propose an innovative way to obtain accurate appraisals of them.
To measure the popularity of individuals or institutions, we analyse the share of interest they draw from the general public around the world, as shown by the traffic in the Internet after having used selective filters to avoid spurious results. (The internet traffic is captured by the presence in personal web pages and blogs as well as in specialized sites, official sport institutions, commercial firms, etc.). Then, to obtain a measure of media value, we look at the number of references in the media (news or printed articles) of each individual at any point in time. Hence, the media value index reflects the mass media exposure of individuals or teams, as a result of their professional performance or due to their social status and other personal characteristics.