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Alexa: Now showing other sites owned

 5:12 pm on Mar 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

Alexa is now displaying other sites owned by the same person/company in the left column.

While this is a nice feature for examing the competition, I'm not particularly happy about the competition learning my network of sites.



 6:34 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

I don't think this "feature" will be around very long, it's obvious that it is terribly inaccurate and misleading.

This is Alexa we are talking about. Their basic business plan includes putting out inaccurate and misleading information.


 6:40 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hmm. I see an opportunity so start a sort-of privacy-hosting agency.


 6:49 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

This is ridiculous. I see my info showing on sites I sold almost 2 years ago! And there is no way to change it as I no longer own those sites. If they're going to use whois info they could at least stay current. Who is the genius over there that thought all this nonsense up?


 7:13 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think we're talking about two separate issues here:

1) Privacy, which hardly seems like a big deal if the data is available from other public sources.

2) Accuracy, which is a problem that can be fixed and/or possibly handled with a disclaimer and a citation.

I'm not especially bothered myself, although the data can be a bit misleading or at least confusing. (For example, Alexa shows me owning a site that my grown-up son publishes; I just bought and registered the domain, which isn't the same as owning the site or its content.)


 7:19 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

too whoever just said I see an opportunity for privacy hosting--there are already hosts that do just that; they have their servers all offshore and everything down to the billing is untraceable. In many cases, legitimate webmasters with fully legal content are moving offshore just to protect their privacy and prevent intrusion on many different levels. for most of us though, i'm not sure if we have much to worry about (or hide), though i'm sure there are exceptions.

I wonder if one kept only their access_logs and user data offshore (and registered their company with another country), whether the government could demand information on their stats.


 7:28 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

I don't see why Alexa feels it needs to publish the whois data in the first place. If someone has a legitimate reason to get your data they know how to get it. Just because whois info is public doesn't mean everybody should be publishing it.

Imagine now if Google published the whois info for every listing in the serps. Should they be allowed to do that just because the whois database is public?


 7:34 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

I don't see the feature anywhere - has it been pulled already?

Edit: oops! I see it for "big" domains in the left column. I like that none of my domains seem to be indexed :-)


 7:36 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

It does not show it on all sites. My older sites seem to have it. This is very disturbing. There has got to be a way to stop this. I don't want people going to all my sites. I don't mind if the se's do but my competiters can find out things I don't want them to.


 7:48 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

Yet another reason to get whois privacy on your domains (that are eligible).


 8:00 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

While many people seem unhappy it is not like they are putting out information that anyone with some basic knowlage of domain regisration lookups can find out themselves. Or someone with no knowlage but with drive could find out.

While Alexa makes this information more easly retrievable and "at a glance" it is not anything I can't go look up myself.

I smell lawsuits but I smell defeat for those of you really upset because what exactly are they doing wrong? They have mearly centralized and categorized information that is public. If they hacked some registry and are publishing private documents obtained through theft then yes but that isn't the case here. I will say that there ignoring attempts to have things taken down is harsh not sure it is actionable.

I am not saying I am happy, I also don't want my hobby sites associated with my business ones but that is why I register those under my corp and hobby ones under my own.

For sure their use of the word 'Owner' is unfortunate.


 8:04 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

This is not new. I have seen "other sites owned" for at least 6 months now.
Unless you are hiding something what does it matter?

Some who-is sites give you all the domains owned by an owner of a particular domain owner.
Nothing new here either.


 8:05 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

what exactly are they doing wrong

They're getting their facts wrong, that's what, and they're associating people with sites they do not own.


 8:15 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'm associated with a porn site and am perusing the matter with an attorney. For those of you who are associated with with porn it may be worth following up with your own lawyer.


 8:33 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

If the data is wrong then that is different and they are doing something wrong.

Is the issue that you only registered the porn site and you don't own it? Or is it just flat out wrong and you are comletely 100% unaffiliated with this porn site?

I think their use of the word 'Owner' is really bad and is the wrong assumtion to be making. Perhpas something like "Other Sites Registered By"

If they have put your name with a porn site and it is flat out wrong that sucks and you should nail them for it. If you registered it for someone then sucks for oyu but your name has been tagged to that site for sometime now.


 8:42 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

100% unaffiliated with the porn sites (plural)


 9:18 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

I do wonder where they get the info. I see the side bar on lots of other sites, big and small. I have several legitimate top 30,000 domains active for years yet they aren't connecting anything on me...yet. Are they getting it from a certain registrar(s)? or from those who filled out the Alexa info sheet? Just wondering.


 9:40 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

If whois data can be faked, then someone could put your name on anything, can't they?


 9:41 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

THIS IS RIDICULOUS. I searched one of my older websites (a small business directory) and according to Alexa I own girl-f*** dot com. I've never had any sort of dealings with any pornography websites or anything close to it for that matter. This all leads back to my corporate website under which my all of my important websites operate.

Please let me know what your next step is or what your lawyer says. How are you documenting this? Screenshots, saving a copy of the page, etc.?



 9:43 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)


They don't release data for their own site and their whois info doesn't lead back to a human being.

Not even a thumbnail of Alexa.


 9:57 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'm not especially bothered myself, although the data can be a bit misleading or at least confusing. (For example, Alexa shows me owning a site that my grown-up son publishes; I just bought and registered the domain, which isn't the same as owning the site or its content.)

Even whois data is very suspect. I don't believe even half of what I see from the registrars. As long as the bills get paid, they could care less how accurate the information is.

My two sites were registered by my brother-in-law for me years ago when I didn't have two nickles to rub together. Several years ago, I said in my brother-in-law's presence ... "I'd like to quit this pi$$ant job, register a web site and work for myself!"

He registered the names the next day and gave them to me as a birthday present. To this day, they are registered in his name and I have been too lazy to do anything about changing it. It just never mattered that they were in his name! I pay the bills and that's that.

I'm sure at least half the websites out there are not registered to the real owner.


 9:58 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

What the flying fish!?!?! Whoever thought up this particular feature needs to get out more and find out how the real world works, not just applying some algorithm to raw data.

They've got me linked to a site owned by someone with exactly the same address as me (I live in an apartment building).

I don't know the person but I do recognize the name, and he's a lawyer.

I think I shall go and introduce myself ;-).


 10:08 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

graywolf - ebound

Nail their a$$ and hit em where it hurts... the wallet. Claiming you as the owner of a porn site along with your legit sites hand in hand is a really bad thing to do.

Seriously bad, if you use this thread as a sample, with 2 out of roughly 35 posters having this problem sounds like a big percentage of webmasters out there are going to find similar problems. Hope their legal dept is ready.

At first I didn't think this was that big a deal if the info they have is accurate but now I am thinking about the little web guy who does the site for his church and lives in the same building as some porno king and you search "church of blah blah" and it returns little web guys church site with Al's porn imporium or something. That is just wrong. What about kids looking stuff up for school projects and getting stuff from one company who happens to host a great site about Greek mythology and a site about back door action. Like this kid needs to see the site image or description of this porn site while looking up Zeus.


 10:24 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

"It might be nice if you even OWNED the sites they say you do. In a lot of cases, I'm seeing them listing sites not owned by the person who owns the domain you're viewing. I smell a lawsuit brewing. "

I just checked it out for the sake of it and they are refrencing an ecommerce site with an illegal substance (in the USA) hobby site.

I think you are dead on. Someones gonna sue about that kind of thing....


 10:45 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

Alexa-based searches for my personal site (as mentioned in message #12), and that of my husband's -- both of which pertain to personal, very unsexy businesses -- result in the same p0rn site in Russia. (Apparently my earlier, ladylike reference to that site's thumbnail image of silicone-enhanced, erm, parts was too descriptive. Sorry!)

So last night:

1.) I called Network Solutions (our Registrar; we're both Gold VIPs so there's a toll free number; yay!) and informed them of our private data showing up in Alexa's info. Our sites long pre-date the Privacy option I added to four of mine a year ago, so Alexa is using at least year-old (and incorrect) WHOIS data. I also asked the gal to run a search for my site on Alexa, just to double-check. She did. Her response?

"Oh, my goodness! Oh, my. That's not right!"

Correctomundo. Then I asked if she'd kindly check my husband's site, she politely demurred and asked someone else to (she was even more offended than I was). The result? Same p0rn site.

2.) I filed a complaint with Alexa via their 'contact form [pages.alexa.com]' -- I got to that page from their main Contact Us [pages.alexa.com] form, which I found via their Terms of Use [pages.alexa.com].

Here's what I sent, along with my e-mail address:

PORN site instead of MY site?!

<paraphrase>Please correct and confirm when done.</paraphrase>

Alas, as of right now:

No response of any kind via e-mail from Alexa/Amazon, plus the p0rn site's data, etc., still appears instead of mine. Oh, almost forgot. There IS one small change to the results for my site -- the p0rn site's thumbnail image has been replaced with: "Picture Coming Soon" Alexa.com.

Oh, joy. More -- parts.


For those inclined to call, here's the info from Contact Us [pages.alexa.com]:

Alexa Internet
Presidio of San Francisco
Building 37 P.O. Box 29141
San Francisco, CA 94129-0141
Tel: 415-561-6900
Fax: 415-561-6795

And if you're a FAQ person, here [pages.alexa.com] you go.

[edited by: trillianjedi at 10:16 am (utc) on Mar. 16, 2006]
[edit reason] No email quotes please [/edit]


 11:56 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

I do some charity work for NFP sites in the drug rehab area so those sites are in my name
Now listed next to my commercial sites?
Class action anyone?



 11:56 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

I just created one of their info.txt files and was about to upload it so the contact information (more than a year out of date) would be deleted for my site. Then it occurred to me to look at the info.txt file first: it in fact *still contained* most of the information and had only marked certain parts as "Unlisted", even though I checked "remove" for all boxes on their form. I manually edited the file so everything was "Unlisted" and then uploaded the file.

So, if you're using their info.txt option, be sure to check the file they are automatically generating before you upload it: it may be ignoring your instructions.

This only confirms my opinion of Alexa as a rinkydink company.


 12:28 am on Mar 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

From my own checking, and what people have been saying, it seems a lot of the mis-assigned domains have to do with contact addresses.

But that doesn't explain all of it.

It's almost as if they're using a weighted similarity % on each field and then assigning based on total score.

Whatever the case it's amazing to me that this ever got out of alpha. Any 6th grader could tell you it will NEVER work accurately no matter how much tweaking they do.

Someone actually got paid to make this mess, mind boggling :-)


 12:40 am on Mar 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

the real question is, who actually uses Alexa?!

I am afraid it's just us .. and the biggest concern is interlinking schemes found out by competitors ..

Our customers most likely have never heard of Alexa and won't give a hoot even if we did own a porn site (if it's successful it migh help close the deal)

On the whole I am just annoyed to have to do the work to hide the info for 30+ domains.


 12:54 am on Mar 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

From my own checking, and what people have been saying, it seems a lot of the mis-assigned domains have to do with contact addresses...
It's almost as if they're using a weighted similarity % on each field and then assigning based on total score.

I'm thinking it is a weighted similarity. I've checked 10 of my sites, not one of them are linked together, and all of them are linked to people I've never done business with and have never heard of but live in the same geographical location as my address listed with my registrar.

I'll be checking all my sites, to make sure none are associated with unscrupulous sites. Depending on the severity, I may be pursuing legal action as well. I hate to be that way, but this is blatant negligence on Alexa's part.


 12:54 am on Mar 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

I too, have found one of my sites associated with porn sites that I do not have any relation to. This is highly upsetting!

I will no longer buy products from Amazon or promote them on any of my sites anymore. It's pretty disturbing to think about the amount of information Amazon happens to have about its customers and to see the complete lack of regard for privacy it exercised in this instance with it's Alexa division.

[edited by: tedster at 2:53 am (utc) on Mar. 16, 2006]


 1:17 am on Mar 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

Could someone indicate where this information is being displayed? I've gone to Alexa's page for several of my sites and cannot see what people are referring to.

This 115 message thread spans 4 pages: < < 115 ( 1 [2] 3 4 > >
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