At Chitika, Inc. we have two primary domains: chitika.com and chitika.net. chitika.com (our corporate site) gets about a couple of thousand visitors (approx. 6,000/day on average last week). chitika.net (our ad serving system) serves about 1 billion pages per month. Yet, Alexa reports chitika.com as average Rank 7,517 for last week and chitika.net as average rank 31,812 for last week. Huh? The site serving 1 billion pages per month is ranked at 31,812 and the one serving couple of thousand page views a day is ranked at 7,517?
What Could Be Wrong ?
I can’t possibly fathom how such a huge twist could happen. But let’s take a shot:
Argument: The Alexa toolbar (on which the data is based) only runs on Internet Explorer on Windows machines.
Counterargument: So? I highly doubt that the 1 billion page views are coming from Firefox and Mac browsers only. Last time I checked, the browser distribution for the billion pageview traffic was as expected on any normal site (i.e. they follow the standard browser distribution).
Argument: Alexa computes traffic rankings by analyzing the Web usage of millions of Alexa Toolbar users (Quoted from this page on Alexa.com)
Counterargument: Millions of users? That was probably 1999. There are people who have reported being able to skew the data with just a few downloads of the toolbar. And, of course, there are also the spammer services. The reason this irks me is this: There are still a bunch of people who base their services (and more importantly – perceptions) based on the Alexa data. I’d wish people would at least triangulate with other more reputable services like compete.com and/or quantcast.
Light Reading: Why You Should Completely Ignore Alexa Stats – paulstamatiou.com