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There is an older Alexa Toolbar discussion thread.
If Alexa uses the Alexa toolbar users as the sample then they are limiting the results to a certain type of user. This means that if I use the toolbar and visit my site every day and my competitors don't use the toolbar when they visit their own site then it could inaccuratly scew the results to look like my site gets more visitors.
This may not be true for technology based web sites or extremely high traffic sites.
Bottom line: I find it hard to believe that a high enough percentage of average visitors shopping for the products I sell use the toolbar to make the results accurate.
There are some exceptions where the data is skewed - talked about here and mentioned at the Alexa site, e.g. microsoft sites, some sites in asian countries where the toolbar is more common - but I can't think of why the data wouldn't be a good benchmark for most of our clients (ecommerce sites selling non technical wares) . . . as long as there were statistically significant data.
So far the data I've seen has generally looked plausible for sites whose traffic numbers I know (some I know precisely and others only roughly). There have been a couple of exceptions.
I would be interested to know other people's impressions . . . especially for sites in the 1000 to 200,000 range. My gut tells me that the top 1000 will be quite accurate - except for skewing described at Alexa site, and that ranking of small traffic sites (above, say, 500,000) will be completely specious, but I'm not clear where to draw the "pretty credible" line.
Can anyone tell me how many Alexa hits were registered last month for site 100,000? Where in the hierarchy of sites would you say the margin of error is less than 10%?
The data can be manipulated as easy as downloading the toolbar yourself, and hitting the refresh button hundreds of times for your homepage. Wow, just watch your rankings climb!
Well, my rankings have been climbing, and I don't even have the Alexa toolbar installed. There must be a lot of Microsoft employees and Koreans planning trips to Europe this year. :-)
I havent :) so can you post it please, looked everwhere - im not awake yet...
Also on some of my sites it says no data available, some of these sites are my most popular ones (most hits) any ideas why this is?
As-Is, you can also check his source code and see if he is using a public counter. There are a surprising number of sites using public counters where you can go check there hits.
Also, search on their domain name and the word "referrer". You might run into a stats page at their site ;-)
Brett, would you care to verify that you are getting more than this? (You don't have tell us exact #'s, just if it's more or less)
FYI Brett - I love this site. It's far more useful than slashdot. But I'm verrry skeptical of alexa. If I put up a site called www.i-love-the-alexa-toolbar.com, I'm sure I'd get pretty high rankings too. ;)
Google claims to have 150 million search queries per day.
I'd say that Alexa DID get the Top 10 right, and the fact that it actually included Korean sites is an impressive testament to Alexa's widespread global adoption.
No one is arguing that there isn't a deminishing law of returns at work. Once you get down below the top 3-5k of sites, there is a downward trend in accuracy. That is simply due to the nature of the toolbar and its distribution.
There is no way you are going hand manipulate the results for the top sites using the toolbar.
>says you are getting higher traffic than slashdot.
I'm not sure how accurate /.'s is because of the fact much of their traffic is tied to *nix users (hence, no alexa toolbar option for them). Although all the polls over there indicate that 60-80% of their visitors are on windows, I still think the *nix factor has skewed the data on them.
By the same token, the tests I've done here indicate that a whopping 40% of our visitors have the Google toolbar installed. I doubt many are running dual toolbars.
On a third hand, /.'s traffic is tied up in 10-15 threads per day; whereas, our traffic is tied up in hundreds of threads [webmasterworld.com] per day.
All that said, I think the chart is fairly accurate. I do not believe /. is doing the type of traffic that OSD claims they are. Last I heard quoted on /. by ct himself, was somewhere around a half million pv's per day. That would put us at a toss up.
Most average people you meet have either a yahoo.co or yahoo.com email address. Or a hotmail.com email address at least counting people I meet in Canada. If you checked French you would see windadoo or whatever it is called show up more. Web based email is still used by people even though they have a computer, my sister didn't even know how to download her pop email account I set up for her to ween her off hotmail.
Japan which has very large online population has mostly hotmail and yahoo.com email addresses in my experience.
There aren't that many Koreans but they surf a lot and they also do better then Japanese in standardized testing for English but that is yet another tangent. I'll go back to lurking now.
Oh I agree Slashdot sacrifices by not having a *Nix version of the Alexa toolbar. And I agree that Slashdot users mostly surf using Windows. I'm somehow listed as a Slashdot supporter if you Google me, I think I must have just been an early user or something or gave them a back link ;-) and I've never had a linux desktop. Anyway Apple ranks highly so either they have Mac OS version or lots of Windows users surf Apple's site.
Sorry if this would have been better in the other thread I'm in a hurry. I remember when Alexa came out way back, but it didn't offer enough to let them spy on me at the time, plus I didn't have my own machine for a long time while I was a University student so I never installed anything.
Plus you would need to consider the size of their company and how many computers which are possibly installed with the Alexa toolbar there are.
More Alexa users equals higher numbers.
Alexa is now heavily promoting itself which can only be a good thing, and even has an affiliates program where you can make money promoting the toolbar!
All things being equal, if two sites have the same number of visitors, then pageviews could be the deciding factor. Also keep in mind that multiple pageviews of the same page by the same user on the same day are discarded...
i recently saw alexa bringing me a little trafic from it's toolbar. Actually visitor's from a competitor, are coming to my site. Of course in France alexa user's aren't as important as in the us/uk and i would like to know how much is the trafic portion coming from toolbar in the us?