TechCrunch: Alexa Is Useless

I’ve known it all along, and I’m sure many in the tech circles have as well (except those who are in the Internet Marketing line; but then again 90% of them aren’t really techies anyway); but now, someone like Michael Arrington, who has significant influence on the blogosphere has said it out loud: Alexa is useless!

The Google vs YouTube comparison is a perfect example of how skewed and utter rubbish the Alexa ranking system is.

The tragically funny thing is, a lot of web services use Alexa rankings for critical things that affect a web site’s survival. For example, ReviewMe (a good service as it is) uses Alexa, Technorati and estimated RSS subscribers to rank a blog. I’ve heard that PayPerPost places significant focus on Alexa ranking as well.

Now, in tech and life in general there’s a lesson where everyone will learn sooner or later; If you base your product on flawed demographics, it will bite your ass pretty soon.

For example, let’s say I’m an evil hacker who just pwned a few thousand boxes and decided to increase HTNet’s Alexa ranking in a fun and educational way. I merely need to automatically install the Alexa toolbar onto these boxes and set HTNet as the IE homepage.

Walaa! Instant Alexa ranking boost!

Maybe it’s just me; I never was a rankings nut. Especially when the sample pool and data gathering process is questionable.

Seriously, if someone recommends you a web site would you go, “Give me a minute, let me check out the Alexa ranking of this web site first”. I very much doubt it.

What’s your side of the story? Do you care about Alexa ranking? Why? I’d love to hear your comments.

4 responses to “TechCrunch: Alexa Is Useless”.

  1. papajoneh Says:

    Yes PPP also. You get lower pay opp for higher alexa. That is why i seldom do PPP and furthermore, the request is totally stupe. Just for a mere $5, asking for lower alexa, PR5 and even dare ask the PR6 for minimum 200 words.

    For me it is considered useless if it can be manipulated. in this case, yes Alexa rating too… and the Technorati. Nothing beat real traffic score… but how to rank it other than this method?

    So for me again, i just left them in the ‘ignored’. I do hope for lower alexa numbers though 😀
    Thanks for the link.. now everybody should read that!

  2. Criz's Sanctuary Says:

    PapaJoneh.. you are fast. When I saw and was reading this, there was even a comment… where you poofed up from ar?? haha.

    Well, as PapaJoneh put it, most people will try to get a better Alexa ranking for the sake of PPP. I am one of the stupe after reading this. Haha. I do see a few sites with over few millions in Alexa and yet they are having a minimum of a PR3 and are doing quite well.

    If you check on those foreign sites with a PR4-5, some are having about 1m in Alexa ranking. I just wonder if Google judge on Alexa to rank a site?

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