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Alexa: How do they do it?

How do they create the homepage graphic?

     
7:06 am on Dec 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I've searched the internet, but for the life of me, I cannot find out how Alexa creates the homepage graphic for its top 3 search result sites. Is this a proprietary software program that Alexa has developed? Or is there a free/shareware program that would enable a company to fetch homepages and create graphics of them? I believe I might have a practical application for this technology, but I have no idea how it acomplished.
9:40 am on Dec 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

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There are a bunch of rendering engines out there.
Alexa's is no the best, I might add.
If you look closely, some of the elements are messed up.
3:00 pm on Dec 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Is there a script or program out there that one can use to produce these graphics? Would cgiresources.com have something like this?
5:00 pm on Dec 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I told you, there are rendering engines out there. I don't know a name off top of my head. Look around, you'll find a few.
5:21 pm on Dec 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

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:) Even MSN intermingles some screenshots into their results sometimes - you might take a look around their site and see if they have a link to a page about their technology...

Cheers!

9:01 am on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

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However the screenshots are done, they're using something like a Netscape Navigator 4 build because that's the only browser that puts those gaps around tables even though I have them collapsed in CSS.

Listen to me, my site is up there in the top 3 listings and I'm complaining! :)

5:57 pm on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Alexa built the software to take the snapshot images from scratch, using netscape for unix. I seem to remember another search engine, long since gone, that also had snapshots.

The shots are pretty cool and I like the way they let you peek at the site before you go there.

MSN seems to be using snapshots now too, but not really. Their shapshots are just for their own sites... promoting their internal links over all the others.

5:59 pm on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

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:) MSN will use screen shots of other sites, (not just their own) - not sure what the criteria is for getting a screen shot in their serps - but i've seen a site or two of mine with them.

When I have seen it, my hunch is the click thru rate for that site goes up - which i have no problems with.

6:08 pm on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

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MSN uses Girafa for their screenshot thumbnail previews.

[girafa.com...]

6:10 pm on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

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excite UK have a similar thing on the go.
12:19 am on Feb 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

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MSN does use it, off the top of my head I cant think of what the page is. It has something to do with preview, Id have to go thru my logs, but I once tracked it (I think Im correct, a first too). I have 2 sites that I have seen this for, so like keyplyr said, Ill take the better click thru rate.

- Dave