Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Alexa traffic rankings

Alexa is a traffic ranking site. It displays traffic rating of a website based on certain statistics it collects by installing a toolbar. This statistics is basically the average number of hits and users a website receives. A lot of people take alexa traffic ranking as the measuring stick for site statistics. Use of alexa traffic ranking to measure a website's poplarity for business purposes is extremely hazardous due to various reasons.

Reason 1:- The traffic ranking are based on statistics collected by a toolbar which is extremely rare. I have hardly seen the toolbar installed on any computer i have come across( i myself didn't know about the toolbar sometimes back). Due to this reason a small number of hits from a browser which has the toolbar installed will reasult in a large fluctuation of the traffic ratings.

Reason 2:- There are various websites such as alexabooster which provide specialized services to you to boost your traffic ratings for a few dollars. There even exists specialized user groups like alexasurf where people help each other to increase their traffic ratings.

Reason 3:- It was found sometime ago that using alexa redirects helps in boosting your traffic ratings. This flaw has been exploited ever since.

All this makes alexa highly unreliable. Alexa traffic ranking is nonetheless being used as it is the only solution of it's kind available in the market and there is nowhere else to go.

An alternative solution such as google teaming with other site statistics websites like sitemeter,statcounter and using the combined data to estimate a websites popularity would have been much nicer and more accurate.