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Alexa Ranking

     
11:09 pm on Jul 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I am kinda puzzled with Alexa's ranking... more is less an less is more, is that right?

How does it work, can anyone explain it to me?

Thanks

11:31 pm on July 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

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alexa rankings are totally useless. They are easily manipulated with scripts and are on a daily basis.(to make it look like a website gets more traffic than it really does)

but yes the lower the number the better..

1:03 am on July 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Where do they get the data from, though? I thought it was a statistical sampling from browser toolbars or the like. How do scripts defeat that? Or am I wrong about how they get the data?
1:16 am on July 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

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dauction is correct.

Alexa gets their data from users running the Alexa Toolbar. Whenever you visit a site if you're running that toolbar, it sends a log of your hit back to Alexa's servers (Side note: That's why most AdWare/Spyware removal tools flag Alexa Toolbar as Spyware).

The way to manipulate the results is to write a .vbs script, batch file, use task scheduler, whatever, that opens your web browser to your home page then closes it. This will result in your Alexa ranking increasing because they see more hits. Apparently they don't count IP addresses.

4:35 am on July 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Thanks, digitalv, for the explanation. I didn't even realize that Alexa had a toolbar.

As for manipulation, it appears quite easy - hell, I could do it based on what you say. But then again, I don't know why I'd want to, or why any serious company or organization would want to. My guess is that any established entity would probably not play such tricks and that their rankings are probably reasonably accurate (discounting for whatever sample size imprecision there might be). Just a thought.

4:42 pm on July 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

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www.marketing-strategy.info/alexachart.html

is the best available set of correlation data to give you the vaguest of vague ideas.

2:37 pm on July 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

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The horrible thing is that so many companies trust Alexa. One of the companies I work for uses their Alexa ranking as a major selling point, and people buy that crap! If you have ur alexa bar installed try going to Daum.Net and tell me how that site is bigger than Google!
2:41 pm on July 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Alexa rankings are silly, but Daum is definitely more popular than Google at this time - Asian portals have traffic numbers that would make their western counterparts pass out.
2:49 pm on July 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

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The horrible thing is that so many companies trust Alexa. One of the companies I work for uses their Alexa ranking as a major selling point, and people buy that crap!

Look at a favorable Alexa ranking from a marketing standpoint.
Easy to manipulate – probably
Useless statistics for webmasters – pretty much
Impressive to “Joe Customer” – absolutely

If acquiring a good rank with Alexa is as easy as you say, why not turn an aggravation into an asset and use it as a badge of popularity to any would be customer/client.

2:56 pm on July 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

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If acquiring a good rank with Alexa is as easy as you say, why not turn an aggravation into an asset and use it as a badge of popularity to any would be customer/client.

You could do that. However, if a client/buyer discovers your Alexa ranking is "embelished", they undoubtedly question everything else you have told them.

Alexa is a set of stats in its own little world. The numbers mean (almost) nothing because there are no controls. The only really meaningful insight it lends is that it indicates how many people visit your website that are also ignorant of toolbar tricks and spyware tactics. And since that number can be inflated with scripts, it doesn't even do that well.

3:08 pm on July 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

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You could do that. However, if a client/buyer discovers your Alexa ranking is "embelished", they undoubtedly question everything else you have told them.
Alexa is a set of stats in its own little world. The numbers mean (almost) nothing because there are no controls. The only really meaningful insight it lends is that it indicates how many people visit your website that are also ignorant of toolbar tricks and spyware tactics.

I agree that the Alexa stats are useless, as I have already stated. But I don’t think many of my visitors are worried about whether or not I manipulated my Alexa ranking, and I certainly think most of them have better things to do than conduct an in-depth research project to find out. All I’m saying is that sometimes the more you know about web design, promotion, SEO, etc. the harder you may find it to relate to the very visitors that you should be designing for and targeting. Web-related industries aside, most visitors will have no idea that Alexa ranking are trash.
3:11 pm on July 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

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If acquiring a good rank with Alexa is as easy as you say, why not turn an aggravation into an asset and use it as a badge of popularity to any would be customer/client.

Even better, how about making a site about how easily manipulated Alexa rankings are, then manipulate them to make it the #1 site on the web :)

Educated customers rule.

3:20 pm on July 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the new site idea Digitalv. I think I'll get right on that.

Personally, I like all customers and don't discriminate against the level of their education. Furthermore, I have no problem taking time to educate a customer myself if it leads to a loyal business prospect.

4:25 pm on July 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

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But I don’t think many of my visitors are worried about whether or not I manipulated my Alexa ranking...

I agree. But they also probably don't care about your Alexa ranking in any manner at all. Which is why they don't care if it is manipulated.

I was referring more to people that might have an interest in details on website traffic. That could be anyone from a potential advertiser, investor, or site buyer. This type of person IS likely to take the time to at least confirm the Alexa numbers against some other metric.