I have to say that I expected Alexa to be completely irrelevant by now. I'm glad that it is not; I think that the web archiving part of Alexa is very important for saving historical information. But the rest of it just doesn't seem compelling to me. They have toolbars for IE, Firefox and Chrome, but who needs another toolbar? They say
The world's first toolbar is still the best. The Alexa Toolbar offers the unique ability to update in real-time to offer you information about the sites you visit.
I'm not quite sure I understand what that means, but maybe it gets them a few customers. Something must, because ranking companies like urltrends and others still include Alexa rank information.
Alexa now offers you programmatic access to its database. The Alexa Web Information Service is an XML based API that you can use freely for up to 10,000 requests per month.
One interesting fact gleamed from their FAQS is that they say there are really only a few million web sites that get any traffic:
Alexa knows about tens of millions of sites; however, the vast majority of these appear to get no traffic at all. During any given three month period Alexa sees traffic going to approximately 6 million unique sites.
I would have thought that number was a bit higher. Other parts of Alexa say:
.. Alexa index of the web that, as of August 2004, has over 4 billion URLs.
They have an index of over four billion, but only six million get any traffic? That seems strange.
One thing you are not going to get from AWIS is an ordered list of site rankings. They charge for that information. You can request data about any specific url, and of course that data includes site rank and incoming links. You can also search by keyword and DMOZ category.
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More Articles by Tony Lawrence © 2011-03-13 Tony Lawrence