Alexa Going Down?

By Daniel Scocco

Alexa has received critics from around the Internet for a long time already, but lately it appears that such criticism is intensifying.

Tech Crunch recently published an article titled “Alexa says Youtube is now bigger than Google.” The conclusion from the article is straight forward: Alexa is useless.

For smaller sites it is understandable that Alexa may not have good data. But Google and YouTube are among the largest sites on the Internet. To get it this wrong is embarrassing.

I agree that is Alexa is not reliable at all for some segments, but it is one the most used metrics (by advertisers as well), meaning that we still need to consider it.

Perhaps this polemic signals the need for a more transparent and solid ranking system for measuring the traffic of websites on the Internet. Some companies are trying to accomplish that, like Compete.



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34 Responses to “Alexa Going Down?”

  • Mike Panic

    *yawn*

    I’ve been waiting for this for years. Go on the street and ask 10 random people if they have the Alexa toolbar installed, I’m willing to bet that all 10 of them ask you what an Alexa toolbar is. Alexa is an over-rated, webmaster manipulated tool that has long proven it is no where near accurate or of any use.

  • Egon

    I agree that Alexa is worthless. However, there is nothing to take it’s place, and advertising networks have to have something to base prices on. I really don’t know what a good replacement is. I suppose Compete could be used, but I don’t know how accurate that is either.

  • Rhys

    I’m not so sure.

    Alexa – i think – ranks it’s data by traffic used. Google is simply a page with text and a few images and javascripts, youtube is mainly videos. Not sure on youtube’s compression scheme, but most the videos must be of a decent size (500kb+). You’d probably need 20-30 page views of google to get one small video on youtube.

  • Daniel

    Rhys, you probably referring to bandwidth?

    Alexa do not use bandwidth though, its rankings are based on visits and page views that are registered via users that have its sidebar installed.

  • Mike Panic

    Egon – most advertisers that I’ve dealt with over the last few years have cared more about Google Page Rank than Alexa rankings. The new hot stat for buying / selling ad space is Technorati rankings though.

  • Stephen

    Objective website metrics are definitely a niche that needs to be filled. Take Text Link Ads, for example. Sites are ranked according to their Alexa and Page Rank, both of which are inaccurate, over-hyped, and subject to manipulation. People who buy text link ads based solely on are basically rolling the dice, because they have no way of knowing the true value of the link.

    I wish I could say there was a solution. Until someone comes out with a truly objective way to measure the popularity of a website, however, we’re stuck with our flawed metrics.

  • Chris Lodge

    Now on TechCrunch:Alexa is useless!

    Related Posts:
    Sky is blue.
    Grass is green.
    Water is wet.

    I’m sorry, I tried not to be cynical, but really…..

  • Daniel

    Chris, if this was a dead horse I guess that people would not keep talking about it :).

    If you take a look at TechCrunch’s comments and trackbacks, in fact, you will see that the views are divided.

  • The Buxr Widget

    For your average blogger and webmaster, how important is Alexa really? I find their rankings wildly inaccurate and skewed.. Especially for sites about webmastering and blogging..

  • TheOzz

    I hope it Alexa doesn’t go down. I like seeing the rank in my status bar when I visit a blog I have never been to. It gives me a good 10,000 foot view of how well established a blog is without having to read too far in. The number does not affect whether I read the blog or not though.

    Alexa is also a pretty good measure for the growth or decline of your own domain as long as you don’t try to manipulate the numbers. Page rank can vary within a domain and the Complete Rank, I have still not figured that thing out. My domains and many others are all over the radar on the Complete system.

  • Jamaipanese

    as far as i am concerned Alexa is garbage

  • When in Rome

    No accurate rankings,a lot of advertisement,easily manipulated, is this a good webmaster observation tool or this is garbage as told Jamaipanese?

  • Mark

    I never really gave Alexa a thought until I started blogging seriously, then I realized that if I want to monetize my blog, I’d better start paying attention to it.

    I will say that it appears they’re either making an upgrade, having problems, or changed their schedules for updates because for the past couple of weeks, my ranking hasn’t changed. I don’t think it has to do with my blog either because it was always getting a better ranking twice a week. Hmmmm.

  • Daniel

    Mark, I noticed that as well.

  • Chris Lodge

    Nothing wrong in blogging a dead horse 😀

    Yeah my ranking’s stuck too (I may think they’re crap, but I still pay attention to it!)

  • Travis

    I installed the Alexa toolbar on Windows Vista in IE7 and it crashed my system. Norton then gave me an error message saying it found “Trackware” on my computer just before it uninstalled it.

    Alexa is trackware. Who would knowingly install such a program on their system?

  • Daniel

    Travis, that is because Alexa needs to report back what pages you are visiting.

    It is not a spyware though, there should be no risks in using it.

  • Ajay

    It’s always hard to find a single ranking system. In an ancient article of mine, I spoke about various methods of measuring popularity

    But, is anyone really good?

    Another point to note is about Compete… it only tracks US Visitors. What happens to the rest of the world?

  • Daniel

    Ajay, good point.

  • Tyner

    I think the error came from people using the search toolbar.

    Reasons Google was low atnd YouTube high:

    1. You enter a word in the search bar, it brings up one google page, and that’s it for google’s hits.

    2. Most people with the Alexa tool use Alexa search with thumbnails instead of Google.

    3. You go to YouTube, search for videos, watch multiple videos, send video links to friends, save video links for later, search for more videos, etc.

  • Johns

    Mark, I noticed that as well.

  • Arama Motoru Optimizasyonu

    I do not belive that Alexa’s traffic data is reliable.How many people use Alexa Toolbar?..

  • Roshan G Jha

    Alexa seems to be useless. If I install alexa on by PC, my rank increases. If not, it decreases.

  • optimizasyon

    I do not belive that Alexa’s traffic data is reliable.
    I think so that.

  • ön muhasebe

    my internet explorer 8 have a problem with Alexa toolbar. I think a javascript problem. have you got the problem ?

  • poliüretansprey

    i have a problem with alexa toolbar, it’s don’t run with ie8

  • poliüretansprey

    Thats ok now, ie8 running with alexa toolbar , problem come from toolbar perfences..

  • delta iÅŸ makinaları

    Alexa toolbar very good but have a problem with norton security ..
    i must remove it.

  • medyum

    I never really gave Alexa a thought until I started blogging seriously, then I realized that if I want to monetize my blog, I’d better start paying attention to it.

  • Jack

    I hope alexa will fix the problem in IE8

  • alarm sistemleri adana

    Alexa toolbar very good but have a problem with norton security ..
    i must remove it.

  • alarm sistemleri ankara

    Alexa seems to be useless. If I install alexa on by PC, my rank increases. If not, it decreases.

  • Nonoy

    I’ve installed the Alexa toolbar for 3 months now; at first, my ranking went up, meaning the number went down; but this past week, my ranking went down from 231,000 to now 240,400. I’m still figuring out why.

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