Feb. 6th, 2007

Alexa ranking sucks: It’s official.

I have been driving myself crazy watching the Alexa rank on MortarBlog. As the blogosphere lacks a meaningful traffic measurement system, most blogrolls (lists of top blogs – like the right hand column here) draw on the Alexa rank of the sites listed. But Alexa seems flawed to me.

First, let’s refresh ourselves on how Alexa works:

"Alexa Rank is a relative measurement on how popular a web site among the Internet community. Alexa is relative because it depends on the data of Alexa Toolbar users. And also Alexa Toolbar is only for Internet Explorer which means it doesn’t count growing group of Firefox fans or any other browser users. But there are over 10 million Alexa Toolbar users who make it a recognized measurement.

Alexa orders web sites according to Alexa Traffic they get. That means a site with a rank of 1000 gets more traffic than a site with rank of 1001 according to Alexa, of course." HomeBizPal.

So why does Alexa suck? Well, the last few weeks were banner weeks for MortarBlog. We had huge traffic from two great mentions from the lovely Angela Natividad on AdRants (eSurance and Anti-Advertising) and design site NotCot sent hundreds of fans of St Mary’s campaign our way after posting about our new ER campaign. Consequently we received 10x more traffic last week than we had ever got before.

And our Alexa rank shot down fom 580,000 to 800,000 or so (bear in mind 1 is good, 800,000 is bad). Um.  Now many marketing blog sites, like the mighty Seth Godin’s have impressive Alexa ranks and cater to the ad community: so it can’t be all down to Marketing and Ad types using a Mac+Firefox combo.

And its not just me. We are in the midst of launching a blog site for a technology client. When we proposed the idea of using Alexa ranks to monitor their success, the client’s CTO (and this is one sharp hombre) shot back a look of disgust.

So, there you have it. Alexa technology defines the list of top blogs, but seems to be fatally flawed. 


  • SFSuperJ
    Feb. 15th, 2007

    hey mortarmark,
    I buy media and i have never really “gotten” alexa. I use a PC and I use Firefox. I’ve started using “Yoono” and mortarblog doesn’t even show up there either. What I want to know is: you’re not selling ads on mortarblog, why do you care about your Alexa rank? I think the bigger question is, why aren’t you showing up in alexa, yoono, or other social media ranking applications? Maybe it’s time to pull in your marketing/PR team.
    Keep up the great blogging. I’ll send friends to you to do my part.

  • Sarah Thompson
    Mar. 21st, 2007

    Ran across this interesting report on SEOmoz.org
    “This project’s primary objective is to determine the relative levels of accuracy for external metrics (from sites like Technorati, Alexa, Compete, etc.) in comparison to actual visitor traffic data provided by analytics programs.”
    “Based on the evidence we’ve gathered here, it’s safe to say that no external metric, traffic prediction service or ranking system available on the web today provides any accuracy when compared with real numbers.”

  • Jan. 9th, 2008

    You should check out new blog traffic site we launched at http://urlbrief.com/990c55.

  • Apr. 16th, 2008

    Nothing is perfect, Alexa ranking is definatly not perfect. But it can make the difference when it comes to the money and selling ad space. Many people around the world check a website alexa rank an act based upon that. If I visit a site selling popunders and theire alexa ranking is 74.000 I would not bother trying them, but if theire ranking was 1400 I would probaly buy some traffic.

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