Friday, August 14, 2009

WEB ADVERTISERS BEWARE of Alexa Rankings


Alexa Rank is a ranking system which bases its ranking schema on the level of traffic each website receives from the number of people who visit a website with the Alexa toolbar installed. The trouble is, the toolbar may be considered a nuisance to many browsing the web and consequently they don't install the toolbar, the numbers become skewed and then all Alexa bets are off.

Alexa numbers can be manipulated in many other ways by placing the word Alexa frequently in a site’s content. Maybe a company’s employees are strongly encouraged to install the Alexa toolbar on their computer and then click on the company’s site often throughout the day.

The truth is there are tons of other ways to manipulate this highly inaccurate measuring system. Website managers who pound their chests about great Alexa rankings are probably doing exactly that and then they point to the manipulated results to convince their sponsors that they are delivering value.

But if you really want to test the effectiveness of a site, Google a subject that is covered by that site. After all, aren’t Google rankings the real standards of measure for a website’s popularity? When is the last time you Alexa-ed something? Basing popularity of a website on Alexa instead of Google is like choosing Ma & Pa’s Barnyard Bookkeepers over Ernst & Young for your company’s auditing requirements.

I have spoken to people in the advertising business, some who even sell web ads for organizations like the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Baltimore Sun. Not once have they used Alexa as a measuring stick and two of them never even heard of Alexa. One of the professionals who had heard of Alexa said, “Alexa is laughable as a credible source for web traffic data.”

For more on the problems with Alexa rankings, check this link from a credible source.

7 comments :

Anonymous said...

I once dated a girl named Alexa. I wined and dined her and treated her with the utmost respect and then she dumped me for a dude jacked up on roids. She later called me after he cheated on her but by then I was going out with a girl named Patty McGoogle. Married her and we've been happy ever since.

Some parallels here don't you think?

Jenna J said...

Isn't Alexa a porn star?

Ad Man said...

I have been in the advertising business for quite a while, mostly in print but with the shift to the web my focus is now there. I generally meet with 15-20 clients per week and not once have I heard anyone ask about Alexa rankings. It is and has always been about the cost per thousand impressions. How much does it cost for my ad to be seen by 1,000 people. That is what matters most coupled with how an ad is presented on a site.

Is it attractive?

Is it visible?

Does it stand out?

Is it clustered with many other ads?

Those are the things clients want to know most.

This Alexa is a joke, right?
Period!

End of story.

Rick from Canton said...

Isn't that what WNST is always pimping -- Alexa? This certainly sounds like something underhanded from them. I wouldn't trust Nestor or Drew with my money, particularly Nestor who I've been told is a swinger. Now if that's your thing, have at it but if his mate can't trust him to be monogamous, I'll be damned if I can trust him with my hard earned money.

Anonymous said...

Ad man is spot on! It's all about value today. Alexa Rankings don't mean squat. How a site like this one for example can help boost search engine rankings for its customers and what this site charges for a 1,000 sets of eyeballs that visit is all that really matters. Well the presentation of the ads help too.

At the end of the day, if WSNT or this site presents a customer in an aesthetically pleasing way, the CPM (cost per thousand impressions) is in line with market standards and they fit a demographic that a company chooses to pursue, then you have a match.

If the CPM of WNST and this site are comparable, then a sponsor will look to the other criteria.

My guess is that the two attract a similiar demographic although this site probably has the advantage for sponsors looking to attract more than just the diehard fans and women. This site probably has broader appeal, no pun intended.

The ads on this site are also far more attractive than on WNST.

Can you tell it's Friday and I don't feel like starting this other project at work?

Lunch?

Lunch?

Did someone say lunch?

Anonymous said...

I Googled Alexa and found this site that links several pieces with well researched insight that simply shatters any hope of credibility for Alexa.

http://www.womenboxing.com/NEWS2009/news070709alexaisworthless.htm

You might laugh at the women's boxing link but once there, it provides several links to many industry sources.

The bottom line is if a web company wants to sell you ad space and they lead with Alexa, refer to the picture above.

Anonymous said...

Nestor is a tool, Forester is his flunky and that entire operation powered by an aging hamster is a major disappointment. If that idiot running the place didn't let his ego get in the way, they could have been something special. Instead with all due respect to Bob Haynie they come off as a bunch of jilted 8 year olds who when they don't get their way prefer to whine and take their ball home.

With no radio ratings to speak of and with Nestor reminding everyone (at least when I do tune in during Orioles games)that they are an internet company first, no wonder they rely upon cooked book rankings like Alexa.

How else do you justify your prices to your customers?

If Nestor wants to jack up his traffic, maybe he should enter into the midget wrestling matches at Della Rose's.