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Stop using Alexa! Compete.com rocks

Adrian Singer, 09-05-2007
I always knew Alexa traffic ratings were inaccurate, but kept using Alexa to compare sites in the same niche, not knowing there is a more reliable approach to monitor third-party traffic.

That is, until the recent Search Engine Strategies San Jose, where I had the opportunity to sit down with the fine folks of Compete.com

Alexa is inaccurate because it relies on end-users using the Alexa toolbar. The more Alexa-toolbar-users visit your site, the higher your Alexa ratings would be.

The problems with this model are -

1. Most end-users don't use the Alexa tool-bar, so whatever data Alexa has access to, is a very limited subset.

2. That subset is not representative of the entire Internet community because - some niches don't lend themselves to Alexa toolbar-users. Alexa toolbar users are typically webmasters concerned with their Alexa ratings.

3. By definition, Alexa numbers can be manipulated using a rather simple distributed bot attack

Compete.com offers a (third party) Site Analytics service similar to Alexa, where you could view traffic readings for competitor sites.

Unlike Alexa, Compete.com does not rely on a tool-bar. Compete.com partners with major ISPs and calculates most of its readings based on aggregate traffic data as reported by the ISPs.

This helps in ensuring Compete.com covers a much larger target-base, one that is more representative of your typical website visitors and is less prone to manipulation.

I'll summarize this post with a comparison of what Alexa and Compete each report on a new domain we launched a few months ago that is currently getting about 100k unique visitors per month.



As you can see, according to Alexa, the domain has no activity. Compete.com readings are amazingly close to our Google Analytics report.

Compete.com rocks.
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