Alexa's Irrelevance

Matt is complaining about Alexa turning off their API, for all intents and purposes, and turning itself into a walled garden. My question is does it really matter? Does Alexa really matter?

I love going to industry events and listening to PR people jibjab about Alexa rankings and using it as a metric of popularity and the fact of the matter is that it is a bogus metric meant for a tiny cross-section of people who have Alexa’s spyware. Unless someone has Alexa’s toolbar (which by the way is still only supported officially for Internet Explorer), then visitors are never documented.

If you eliminate non-IE users (which figures tell us is approaching 50% of the user base), and you eliminate non-Windows users (IE isn’t on Mac or Linux!), then what kind of realistic sampling of data do you have to speak with any kind of authority to the rank of a blog.

That would be like folks claiming Technorati rank was based on how many people have favorited a blog. Mine has only been favorited by 16 people (but you can remedy that!).

Worse, it would be like saying that since the pygmies in Eastern Congo like to eat Cassava root, that the rest of the world likes to eat Cassava root too. Have you ever had Cassava root? It’s made into this pasty lumpy “thing” that is totally bland and has awful texture while eating and is sure to test your gag reflex.

The ludicrous idea that Alexa is actually relevant when they have ignored the populous for years, and then claim relevance (and PR folks buy into the lie!) is the thing that makes Alexa irrelevant. I guess 90% of the worlds prison inmates are innocent too completely based on their say so.