Alexa tries to convince people they are actually useful

Alexa made a blog post on how good their stats are and compared their charts with that of techcrunch.com.   Techcrunch’s stats are in the public domain and the site recieves around 85,000pageviews a day.

Plentyoffish gets over 22 million pageviews a day, and i’ve attached a screen shot from google analytics here…

Stats

Now plentyoffish has 260 times more pageviews then Techcrunch.com in any given day.    Well according to alexa plentyoffish only has 2 times as many pageviews.       Here alexa is out by a factor  of 130  for 2 sites that are supposidly in the top 600 sites on the net.

I’m not even going to bother commenting on the visitors per day comparison because they are also out by a similar factor.   Over all rank  for Techcrunch is 340-550,   plentyoffish ranks 641.   If anyone thought alexa had any credability  this should make them think twice.   

37 Responses to “Alexa tries to convince people they are actually useful”

  1. John P. Says:

    I can second Alexa is crap. My Google Analytics shows 1.5 million page views per day, while Alexa shows a 1/3rd the page views of TechCrunch.

    You could always just throw up a link to their toolbar and “win” the Alexigame.

  2. Sam Says:

    I have used a few text advert programs that list your alexa rank on the page that sells adverts on your site. I was getting a much lower purchase rate than other sites that I knew had very similar traffic, but much higher alexa ranks. I put a link to their toolbar download in my members forum area and convinced a small number of frequent users to download it (100 to 200 people I guess). Within a month my alexa rank shot up and my advert sales really picked up. So people do use it to make decisions about where to run adverts, but frankly it stinks as a metric and is very easily gamed.

  3. Zoltan Says:

    Hmm.. very interesting stats Markus.
    So actually, techcrunch gets only 1.3 pageviews / visit. That’s nothing.

  4. Eric Dewhirst Says:

    Hi Markus,

    Outside of the annoyance that your numbers don’t look as impressive as they really are – what does it really matter in the end? I am just curious – does it affect potential advertisers on your site who want to specifically target users? Also I was wondering – when I am on your site it seems like the page automatically refreshes – maybe it is not and I am just confused – but if it is does that count as a new page view?

    In any event I think if people want to have authoritative answers there should be a limited view from Google Analytics that can give real numbers that people can trust. Kind of like the old days of pageview counters hosted from a trusted source.

    Cheers,

    Eric

  5. adam Says:

    i dont trust alexa for the actual numbers (i.e. how many users or page views)… but how about getting an idea from them on the trends? i.e. are users/visits increasing or decreasing?

  6. Mayo Says:

    Markus, nothing boost it — i will help you in Alexa, although i have no use of POF😉 i am interested in your site structure (only interested where you put AdSense >;) )

    Get other 200 to 500 or 1000😉 users to get Alexa, maybe give them some perks if you can OR willing (small tokens of gratitude like small gifts, or as small limited beta testing group…., maybe even money😉 )

    If U have such stats it’s a shame to waste them in Alexa, thats a LOT of Dough…..😦

  7. Markus Says:

    It matters because media buyers treat alexa and comscore as a true indicator of a sites traffic. Alexa also sells a list of thier top 500 and 1000 sites to large advertising firms.

    At any rate a lot of people in the tech industry know the stats are completely bogus, but other 95% of people think they are real and i has a lot of real world consequences.

  8. Trevor Says:

    I’d be curious to see what the RSS feed impact is on these metrics. Most people I know read TechCrunch through RSS feeds and never actually set foot on techrunch.com’s website.

  9. Mayo Says:

    Markus, just put Alexa banner on POF pages!!!!

    I hope in my branch to become as large as you >;), and Alexa will be included to boost ratio and bring up text-ad revenues (remember eBaumsWorld???😉 )

    Markus i think at the current rate you could earn cool 10-20MM$US a year with this kind of traffic…. IN FORESEEABLE FUTURE😉 , also transfer your Corporation to OFFSHORE dominion (i have established my Ltd. company to Dominica, but any other country is O.K. – Costa Rica is cool this time of year >;) )

  10. Tom Says:

    Alexa are pants! They are so slow to rank sites and when they eventually do it bares no resemblence whatsoever to Google, MSN and Yahoo rankings.

  11. Neal Says:

    Well, I’ve done some analysis of Alexa results and found them surprisingly accurate in a lot of cases. With the assistance of a few charts and graphs I’ve been able to fairly reliably predict what a site’s traffic is.

    The one caveat seems to be … and its a big one … Alexa is naturally skewed to the Interent Developer audience. These are the people who install the toolbar and thus who they track. Its a very skewed audience. But this is why somehting like a internet dating site would generally rank lower per Alexa but somehting like TechCrunch would rank artificially high.

    So, there is sort of a “curve” you have to grade on. You have to take into account where your industry is on that curve and only compare your site to others in the same industry. Apples to apples and all that good stuff. 🙂

  12. Joe Bloggs Says:

    I don’t trust alexa either

  13. John Says:

    How does Compete.com fair with Alexa? Are they just as bad?

  14. Markus Says:

    Techcrunch and digg are more then slightly skewed. If you divide reach rank by actually visitors you get around 1 in 20 visitors to techcrunch has the alexa toolbar installed. For plentyoffish that number is way way higher then 1 in 1000.

    To have your data skewed by a factor of 130:1 for 2 sites in the top .001% of your dataset is beyond laughable. Poeple then put out stories that techcrunch is beating CNET based on alexa, and digg is beating the new york times etc.

    Even for dating sites that data is extremely skewed, I i see some cases where the data veries by a factor of 10 or more from other ranking systems.

    The scary thing is I see emails from media buyers nearly every week saying they found the site via alexa and it looks like it has high traffic and they want to advertise.

  15. Alexa Tries To Prove They Are Not Worthless « John Chow dot Com Says:

    […] Markus at Plenty Of Fish also took a jab at Alexa in his latest blog entry. He noted that Tech Crunch gets around 85,000 page views per day according to the Sitemeter stats. His dating site, Plenty Of Fish gets over 24 million page views per day. Markus’s one day Google Analytics is below. […]

  16. Steve M Says:

    So I keep seeing these comments that Alexa is total crap. And posts like this one make me believe it. But who is in a position to do better? How about Microsoft? If they added a Alexa like feature to IE they could get the vast majority of non-tech savvy users’ data. Plus the number of users giving feedback would drastically go up. Probably even if it had an opt-out.

  17. Alexa ranking wel of niet belangrijk at Enthousiasmeren Says:

    […] Ook Markus van Plenty of Fish – een hele grote relatie site en top verdiener met AdSense schrijft over de Alexa ranking. Hij geeft een vergelijk tussen zijn eigen site en die van TechCrunch. En maakt een vergelijking op basis van Alexa en Sitemeter statistieken. […]

  18. David Says:

    Is Alexa a for-profit organization?

    Alexa aside, that’s some impressive traffic!

  19. Henrik Says:

    I completely get your argument, but either I’m reading the analytics wrong or your site “only” gets 1mill views per day, which of course still is 12 times more than techcrunch.

  20. Markus Says:

    Its a hourly graph. So 1 million pageviews per hour.

  21. Normalkid: Arnold Kim » » What You Have is Never Enough? Says:

    […] put some perspective, Markus’s dating site generates over 22 million page views/day and over $4.5 million a year (with no employees). But looking at where the trends are going is […]

  22. WebConnoisseur » Blog Archive » Please Stop Quoting Alexa Data Says:

    […] I’m not the first to prove Alexa data is flawed. Here are links to other Alexa skeptics: Peter Norvig, Matt Cutts, Rand Fishkin (thanks for the data!), Greg Linden, Bruce Stewart, Alex Iskold, John Chow, and Markus Frind. […]

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  24. David Says:

    Hi! Markus,

    Nice article. I had read about this recently and like your blog post. I know I’m a bit out of date…

    I also saw your article in a recent Magazine and wanted to give you “props” – well done.

    p.s. Love the office!🙂

  25. turning a new leaf — Best Free Quit Smoking Says:

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  26. divya Says:

    you dont believe
    webmasters who use alexa widget on their sites can play with their
    rankings….
    alexa is crap and dont show genuine results….maybe useful for sum ppl

  27. aasadada Says:

    green

  28. Shawn Sears Says:

    I still believe alexa is useful

  29. Viola Says:

    I don’t trust that alexa analyse websites correctly

  30. SherSingh Coupons Says:

    Alexa ranking is useless
    i am webmaster and i run many blogs
    my one website alexa rank is approx 1L and its traffic is 1500
    and my other website rank is 4L and its traffic is 2500
    so i am really confused how alexa ranking works
    can you please tell me

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