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.