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Monday, September 22, 2003

In Defense Of Alexa 

I was cruising Reality News Live - looking at their thread urging people to vote in our Best BB Site poll when I found a critique of the voting system, and the Alexa stats.

The poster felt this poll was fair, since you can only vote once (and they have been trying to find ways to vote multiple times), but thought the Alexa stats were unfair and had been proved by a webmaster.

Well the proof was that the Alexa stats of a site could be manipulated by having one person download the Alexas toolbar and view their site. I am not sure if the study was that scientific - the premise was that all the changes in the stats for the site were due to him and not to others viewing the site which may have been questionable.

Even so I stated early on the statistics could be gamed by asking people to download the Alexa toolbar and having them visit your site, which I think has probably happened with some sites. But if enough people play this game, it still comes down to who can get the most people to download Alexa and visit their site consistently, which is still a good measure of the popularity of a site. This gaming also works a bit broader - a person who downloads the toolbar and visits multiple sites (like most people do) will boost all the sites they visit, thus once again making the stats a nice measure.

Is it perfect? No, but it is just as fair as any of the other forms of traffic statistics out there, plus it is run by a reputable company so there is no question of rigging of the stats by the gatherer.

So I will keep posting them and referring to them as the "Official Reality TV Site Rankings"!