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Tuesday, October 24th, 2006, 3:25 pm

Alexa Ranks – Only Make Belief

Alexa ranks can be fun. But can they ever be trusted?

What does a high Alexa rating mean to a web master? It shouldn’t mean that much as it’s not accurate. Alexa is a website that tracks a website’s traffic history, and gives a ranking based upon the number of visitors. However the fact that it requires a tool bar to work flaws it in many ways.


Apparently the folks at Alexa have never heard of any other browser besides Internet Explorer and FireFox. This seems quite unprofessional coming from a company owned by

My main site peaked at ~17,000th for Alexa (with Netscraft rank currently at 18,608th for In the latter case, however, the figures are grossly biased because I have the toolbar installed. Ranks very much depend on the audience the site attracts. System administrators , for example, fancy the Netscraft toolbar. Its primary service addresses a niche.

Alexa traffic ranks prove to be a real problem (as well as a perpetual pain) to Webmasters. This remains the only number which can conveniently be assigned to a Web site. It is a silly label that should be disregarded, but the average user does not know this. Luckily, not every average user will have such ranks displayed. Alexa as a comparator is a misleading assessor. Even top sites cannot be compared, unless one judges by orders of magnitude (and takes these with a grain of salt). In fact, PageRank and the likes of it weigh more factors other than traffic, so they ought to surpass Alexa in terms of validity.

As a timely rant, I was temporarily able to influence Alexa rank with a local installation of the A9 toolbar, but then Microsoft took over A9′s operations and forced them to shut down some competing services, the toolbar included. Yet another example of acquisitions or mergers that are practically death knells (and a penalty to Mac/Linux/BSD users in this case). That is just why I took it personally.

SearchStatus in action

Related item: Firefox Toolbars

2 Responses to “Alexa Ranks – Only Make Belief”

  1. Derrick Pallas Says:

    Microsoft took over A9? That’s news to me.

  2. Roy Schestowitz Says:

    Well, my phrasing left room for interpretation, but by “took over A9’s operations” I was referring to the search. A9 dropped the superior search results and enjoyed (short-term) monetary gains for all I could say at the time. The toolbar was, to me at least, the last straw.

    I can think of one other predatory company that does the same type of stuff: Oracle.

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