Many people use Alexa as a generic “site comparison” service, but is it accurate? Here are some oddities I found:
The Blog Herald was recently sold to a private buyer, however in the SitePoint auction it was listed as having 750,000 pageviews per month, with an Alexa ranking of 26,607 (now it’s 21,586 at the time of posting.) Okay, well let’s compare that to the Alexa ranking for 9rules.com, a site that receives only about half as many pageviews as The Blog Herald supposedly receives which is about 300-400k pageviews per month. Well Alexa tells us that 9rules’ rank is 21,772 which is less than 200 ranks lower than The Blog Herald, a site that is said to receive more than double our traffic! Well either the traffic of TBH is grossly overestimated, or Alexa is messed up. Here’s a graph comparing the last few months of traffic on Blog Herald vs. 9rules:
9rules is in blue, TBH in red, and as you can see we’re pretty much even except for those 9rules traffic spikes in December and January. So for a site that receives 3/4 a million pageviews per month, Alexa is reporting their pageviews graph much lower. I’m going to come out and say that Blog Herald’s traffic is probably much higher than 9rules.com’s (to be expected, at least in our fledgling company’s first few months) so it seems that Alexa is a bit off here.
Now as a comparison, I’m going to put Business Logs up against Paul’s extremely popular Damn I’m Cute celebrity/gossip weblog. I’m staring at Paul’s stats right now via StatCounter, and I know for sure that he receives between 25-40k pageviews per day, depending on who links to him or what pictures he makes public. Now compare that to Business Logs’ daily traffic, which is extremely low — less than 3k pageviews per day. 25,000 vs. 3000, it should be an easy battle:
Alexa is off again! I know for a fact that Paul’s weblog does nearly 10x the traffic that Business Logs does, however in the graph it’s nearly even or Business Logs is ahead for most of it. That makes no sense to me.
So is Alexa a good way to measure sites’ traffic relative to other websites, probably not. But that won’t keep everybody from using it 🙂