Sunday, August 26, 2007

Alexa get is wrong: switching to Compete

Is it my imagination or are there more and more Internet giants failing to provide the goods, making place to newcomer companies? Alexa used to be the "Mecca of traffic research". The only place on the internet where anyone could check for the main traffic parameters of any website owned and controlled by other people.

I have been using Alexa for years and always put a lot of trust in their data, even though its important to remember that there is no magic involved here: Alxea use data collected from users of their popular toolbar to generate their statistics and their data accuracy depends on how close their average user profile to the average profile of the worldwide internet user. They provide some of the data for free and generate high priced reports from the rest of it.

About two weeks ago when Michael Arrington from reported that in his opinion the became useless after coming up with a "complete fiction" (in Arrington's words) claiming YouTube has more page views than Google ("Alexa Says YouTube Is Now Bigger Than Google. Alexa Is Useless"). This shows how useless Alexa has become as a method for measuring web traffic and reach. Arrington adds:

Comscore tells a much different (and more accurate) story - Google is nearing 100 billion monthly page views; YouTube sees around 16 billion. Even newcomer Compete, which measures traffic in a similar way as Alexa, seems to be getting it right. Alexa needs an overhaul. It’s long since become less than useful. For smaller sites it is understandable that Alexa may not have good data. But Google and YouTube are among the largest sites on the Internet. To get it this wrong is embarrassing.

I tend to agree with Arrington's claim. Alexa seem to have a very serious problem there and this might just be the right time to make a switch to - another service doing the same kind of job Alexa does, only they might be doing it a bit better. Even though I am sure - due to their toolbar dependency - both and are seriously biased with American users I started my account yesterday and already find it much more friendly in usability terms. The above charts show one year history trends for (unique) people count, relative rank and number of visits at

Monday, August 27, 18:20 Edit

I was trying to put corresponding Alexa chart here as well but what do you know, their embedding script is MUCH more complicated and can not run on a blog page, at least not on my blogspot one. Luckily their permalink work so you can have a look here and see how different and much more shaky it looks comparing to Compete's info:

Alex's pageview measurement for example is far from being even close to what was really going on on during the last 12 months. I can tell that because I have their server logs and know about every page view ever requested on the server. Alexa need to find a good doctor, or just buy a good looking gravestate. they seem to be out of the game.


  1. Anonymous28.8.07

    I work at Compete and we love to hear stories like this.

    Although toolbars do contribute to the Compete community, they are only one of many sources of information. We believe that the variety in our sources helps eliminate any bias that shows up in a single source and helps to give a better representation of the average U.S. internet consumer.

    Thanks for making the swith Gil!

  2. that is really important. i saw when compare my sites in alexa. in google analytics data my first site have too many visitors then other site, but alexa give second site is more popular then first.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.