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  1. #1
    Unauthorized Web Theologian emmzee's Avatar
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    Alexa ranking worth even less than before?

    A link was posted on another message forum yesterday to "Boosting Software" you can buy ($27US) that supposedly allows people to "Increase your alexa ranking in as few as 5 days!" (Note that I'm not posting the link because I don't want to encourage this sort of scummy cheating behavior.) I guess its not much of a stretch to think that someone could reverse-engineer the Alexa bar and create a tool like this. I doubt using a tool like this would fool a knowledgeable web developer who would of course be suspicious if an unknown/lowPR site somehow had an amazing Alexa ranking. However it could give more naive web surfers confidence in a site. Another good reason not to put too much confidence in Alexa's ranking system ...

  2. #2
    SitePoint Guru marcel's Avatar
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    I never bothered with Alexa rankings anyway. So few people use it anyway to get a true picture. - IMO

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy KLB's Avatar
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    Alexa is worse than useless. Its stats are completely bogus for all but maybe the busiest 1% of all websites. Their methodology is seriously flawed and relies on too small and biased a population base. In addition as I have demonstrated in other threads in this forum, it is very easy to artificially inflate one's Alexa stats.
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  4. #4
    SitePoint Guru marcel's Avatar
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    I offer email on Diarists.com

    I can't remember how, but a few months Alexa got mixed up and gave diarists.com a really GOOD high ranking from the everyone.net. LOL

  5. #5
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    I think an Alexa thread appears every other week just so all of the Alexa haters can reiterate their dislike of it.

    Oh, and I think it stinks, too.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy KLB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stymiee
    I think an Alexa thread appears every other week just so all of the Alexa haters can reiterate their dislike of it.

    Oh, and I think it stinks, too.


    Less any newbies get the impression Alexa is an authoritative source.
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    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Maybe we can convince the mods to create an Important thread in this forum where bash Alexa and delete any posts supporting it?!

  8. #8
    Chillin like a Villain DaStuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stymiee
    Maybe we can convince the mods to create an Important thread in this forum where bash Alexa and delete any posts supporting it?!
    People support it??? Crazy
    • Follow the dancing banana

  9. #9
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    Save yourself 27 bucks and use the Javascript supplied by KLB in this thread: http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/showthread.php?t=153286

  10. #10
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy KLB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by techmonkey
    Save yourself 27 bucks and use the Javascript supplied by KLB in this thread: http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/showthread.php?t=153286

    Wow, and to think I could have gotten rich off of twenty minutes of work if I had sold the script instead of posting it here for free.


    I can't believe the junk people will try to sell to others. $27 for a program that essentially does what my simple JavaScript does is almost as bad as screen capturing software that does the same thing as the [Print Screen] button on the keyboard.
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  11. #11
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    >Alexa ranking worth even less than before?

    It was never worth anything in the first place :-)

  12. #12
    Linux Junkie signlink's Avatar
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    HTML Code:
    <?PHP
    $pages = array(
    'index.php',
    'sitemap.php',
    'gallery.php' // put all your pages here
    );
    shuffle($pages);
    $page = $pages[0];
    $ip = getenv(REMOTE_ADDR);
    if ($ip == 'yourip') {
    $header = "<META HTTP-EQUIV=REFRESH CONTENT=\"3;url=$page\">";
    }
    ?>
    Can you see how this would do the same thing as your javascript - if you
    included it in your html? You are refreshing random pages, you are giving the pages a few seconds to load - and you are only doing it to visitors from your ip address :-)

    again, not to encourage cheating -
    just fyi ..

    As far as I am concerned the jury is still out.

    I don't think the Alexa rating is meaningful, but I believe the toolbar is an interesting piece of technology that might have some uses.

  13. #13
    Linux Junkie signlink's Avatar
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    ok - and before I forget , that little piece of code is released under the careware license. Please feel free to copy it and sell it as your own to Alexa cheaters, but after you have done so, go out and do a handful of good deeds to make the world a better place :-)

  14. #14
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy KLB's Avatar
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    I like the idea of a random shuffle. It would make a nice improvement to what I originally did. One disadvantage to embedding it into the target webpage would be that it would make the script IP address dependent. With using a standalone webpage with JavaScript as I did, you could share the file with a few friends and employ them to help "corrupt" the Alexa database.
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  15. #15
    Linux Junkie signlink's Avatar
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    The only thing is: I don't understand the point of corrupting the Alexa database.

    Or, more likely, I don't think people who do it understand why. They seem to believe it is like Alexas version of google pagerank. But google pagerank is USEFUL to have high. It gets your site returned more quickly for search terms relevant to your site.

    Alexa rating is really used for you to see relative differences in what your visitors are doing.

    -----
    I have read lots about the "scumware" feature of Alexa. People here are comparing it to Gator. I think there is a bit of a difference. Both Gator and Alexa primarily hurt the webmasters, BTW, not really the surfers. The big difference here is that, since Alexa is owned by Amazon, Amzon has to choose between two "salespeople" to reward, and they reward behavior that they consider the most important.

    This is fairly common among sales managers, especially when they have salespeople who have "overlapping territories". IN this case, one salesperson is an affiliate webmaster who has links to Amazon products on his website, and the other salesperson is a webmaster who pushes the toolbar. Well, says Amazon, we want to encourage both activities, but when the two conflict (a surfer with the toolbar from webmaster Bs site visits webmaster As site and then is referred to Amazon to buy) the toolbar-webmaster wins.

    We can complain about this, call it scumware, etc. But both webmasters work for Amazon. The conflict policy is really Amazon's call.

    Now in any sales organization I have ever visited, if the call were made under the table the way it seems to be made here, there would be major problems.

  16. #16
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy KLB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by signlink
    The only thing is: I don't understand the point of corrupting the Alexa database.

    Or, more likely, I don't think people who do it understand why. They seem to believe it is like Alexas version of google pagerank.
    The difference between Google's pagerank and Alexa is the difference between night and day. Alexa tries to rank a site's popularity based on how many times a page gets hit by a web browser that has the Alexa toolbar installed. Google's pagerank is based in part on the number of sites that link to a particular site as well as many other factors.

    The failure of Alexa is that they create their stats on a completely failed methodology. Their methodology is neither objective nor unbiased. Here's why:
    1. Their toolbar only works in MSIE running on Windows: this creates an unavoidable bias that excludes large segments of the Internet population that do not use MSIE or Windows.
    2. It requires active participation: The only people who end up being part of their sample population are those who actively download and then install their toolbar. Even if they didn't have constraints that exclude segments of the Internet population, their install base is too small to be statistically relevant.
    3. Language and cultural barriers bias Alexa's stats. Because the Alexa toolbar is limited (best I can tell) to English speaking users, the stats are naturally biased against non-English websites.


    Alexa tries to extrapolated out how popular one site is from another, and how much traffic any particular site gets, however, as shown above, their methodology is seriously flawed and in many cases generates completely irrelevant results. Google's toolbar is different in that its page rank is based on the number of websites that link to any given site and this evaluation is based on one of the most comprehensive indexes of websites available that is not biased by language, cultural or geographic handicaps.

    While it is true, that website owners can try to influence Googles pagerank by buying links on high PR sites and creating lots of websites that feed one central website, these influences are countered by what appears to be a fairly steep expediential curve on how many sites it takes to acquire a give PR. In addition Google is constantly tuning their algorithms to try and minimize the effects of PR inflation techniques.

    The biggest two reasons I promote the co-opting of Alexa's results are:
    1. Alexa tries to promote these stats as relevant and highly useful figures (which they are not) and various advertisers have fallen for this ploy and base their advertising decisions on these stats.
    2. Amazon uses Alexa to place ads in the toolbar that are in direct competition to the website being displayed. This means that Amazon is trying to profit off of the content of a website without compensating those who own the website. Basically I look at this as stealing revenues from the website being targeted.
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  17. #17
    Linux Junkie signlink's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KLB
    [*]It requires active participation: The only people who end up being part of their sample population are those who actively download and then install their toolbar.
    That is an extremely interesting and salient point. I believe that there is some way to use that information (but I haven't yet figured out how)

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB
    various advertisers have fallen for this ploy and base their advertising decisions on these stats.
    I wouldn't - If I were advertising on another site I would want to know how many unique hosts a site has, what kind of advertising it does to bring in those hosts; I might even want a peek at the logs.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB
    [*]Amazon uses Alexa to place ads in the toolbar that are in direct competition to the website being displayed. This means that Amazon is trying to profit off of the content of a website without compensating those who own the website. Basically I look at this as stealing revenues from the website being targeted.
    I suppose it could be looked at that way - Opera does this as well - and it makes no bones about doing it. Opera (unregistered) has recently begun running Google ads in their top portion. These are a lot more threatening, because they compete with the adsense ads a site may already be running. People who think it is theft could actually block Alexa / Opera users from using their site

    HTML Code:
    $uagent = getenv(HTTP_USER_AGENT);
    if (strpos( $uagent, 'Alexa' ) || strpos( $uagent, 'Opera')) {
        header("Location: blowme.php");
    }
    :-)

  18. #18
    Linux Junkie signlink's Avatar
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    I like the environmental chemistry site - I just visited some of your google ads there as well. Nice. Lots of content.

  19. #19
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy KLB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by signlink
    I suppose it could be looked at that way - Opera does this as well - and it makes no bones about doing it. Opera (unregistered) has recently begun running Google ads in their top portion. These are a lot more threatening, because they compete with the adsense ads a site may already be running. People who think it is theft could actually block Alexa / Opera users from using their site
    Actually, there are those of us who are upset with Opera for their practices as well
    (see: http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/showthread.php?t=132471). Personally I block any copy of Opera that I suspect might be displaying ads using a JavaScript detection routine. If Opera fails the test the user gets redirected. I have built in some fail safes such that Opera users can not bypass my detection routine even if they turn off JavaScript or change their user_agent string. While I can't block users who have Alexa installed, I do block Alexa's bot from accessing my site via the .htaccess file. As such Alexa is unable to index my sites to determine what ads to display. I can't do this with Opera as I happen to use Google AdSense advertising myself.
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  20. #20
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy KLB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by signlink
    I like the environmental chemistry site - I just visited some of your google ads there as well. Nice. Lots of content.
    Thanks.
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  21. #21
    Linux Junkie signlink's Avatar
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    oooo - they ARE pissed about it.

    I read the arguments. I understand why they would be upset - but don't think I agree with them. I can see a webmaster wanting to fight back, however, and I think he / she has as much right to do that as the creators of Opera and Alexa have to push product.

    It is a digital darwinian deathmatch (to be annoyingly alliterative). :-)

  22. #22
    Unauthorized Web Theologian emmzee's Avatar
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    Incidently, I emailed Alexa back when I originally posted this thread, pointing them to the Alexa booster software website ... no reply, and the booster site is still up ... so I guess they're either not concerned about it, don't know how to fix the problems, or never read their emails.

  23. #23
    Unauthorized Web Theologian emmzee's Avatar
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    Heh I just noticed this on the site that distributes the cheating software:
    When you need something from the Internet. Where do you go?? More then 90% of people head to a search engine. The main backbone for Internet searches is GOOGLE.comŽ. So why do your competitors out rank you?? Three reasons. Traffic!, Timed Submissions, & Link Popularity.
    I like how they make it sound like that by using their software you'll increase your Google rank ...

  24. #24
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy KLB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by signlink
    oooo - they ARE pissed about it.
    You could say that.

    Quote Originally Posted by signlink
    I read the arguments. I understand why they would be upset - but don't think I agree with them. I can see a webmaster wanting to fight back, however, and I think he / she has as much right to do that as the creators of Opera and Alexa have to push product.

    It is a digital darwinian deathmatch (to be annoyingly alliterative). :-)
    In principle I don't have problems with either Opera or Alexa displaying ads in the toolbar as long, however, as those ads are not targeted based on the content and context of my copyrighted material.

    Right now this issue falls under "wild west" rules, however, the legal tide is starting to shift and will in all likelihood fall on the side of intellectual property rights. This will happen in large part because of the extreme behavior of companies likeWhen-U and Claria/Gator. Already a German judge threw an injunction against Claria/Gator in regards to Hertz's car rental website. With the U.S. Federal Trade Commission investigating spyware and adware, there are increasing chances that adware practices employed by Alexa and Opera will begin to be regulated here in the U.S.
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  25. #25
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    hi.

    I agree with you all alexa sux.


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