07. April 2012 · Comments Off on Who is Alexa and what does she have to do with me? · Categories: Make Money

Traffic is the most important thing to any web based entrepreneur. And Alexa pretty much has a monopoly on that data. Ignore her at your own peril. Alexa reminds the Computer Man Website Design Team of the teaching of Jesus Christ speaking of the rulers and powers of His time as recorded in the Holy Bible, Matthew 23:4, New American Standard Bible, «They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger». Sure sounds like the few who control internet content to the old Tennessee Mountain Man. Want to get an Alexa ranking that matters for your website? You should because all other directories, indexes and search engines stop by their website to see who you are and whether or not you are a mover and shaker in your internet niche. Alexa may well be the world wide web’s Dunn and Bradstreet. If you know anything about business, business finances, the Better Business Bureau or the Chamber of Commerce or have had to deal with your broker or banker on business matters you know the importance and the drill.

Sounds daunting, doesn’t it? Sure it does, and what makes it worse is Alexa’s hypocrisy. Like the credit bureaus, Alexa collects, keeps and reports information about you and your website, but it keeps no data on its’ own traffic. The first question asked by your prospective partners, marketers, and promoters is what is your Dunn and Bradstreet… oops sorry, Alexa rating. Alexa, located at the Presidio of San Francisco, CA, was founded in 1996 by Brewster Kahle and Bruce Gilliat. It offered a toolbar that gave Internet users guidance on where to go next, based on the traffic patterns of its user community. Say what? Yes, this cousin of Big Brother thinks it knows better what you want or need than you do. And, they select who best provides that for you. Based on what? Based on their user traffic. Who do they think they are, and how do I become a part of this crucial community of the web elite? They are the people who offer context for each site visited: to whom it was registered, how many pages it had, how many other sites pointed to it, and how frequently it is updated. Engineers at Alexa, in cooperation with the Internet Archive, created the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. The nonprofit organization established to preserve Web sites by taking regular «snapshots». The Wayback Machine provides links to older versions of a webpage. Alexa also supplies the Internet Archive with web crawls. Amazon dot com acquired Alexa in 1999 for approximately $250 million in Amazon stock. Alexa entered a partnership with Google in 2002, and with the Open Directory Project about a year later in 2003. Live Search replaced Google as their provider of search results in the summer of 2006. Then in the autumn of that same year they began using their own Search Platform. Then in December they released Alexa Image Search. Built in-house, it is the first major application to be built on their Web Platform. Today, Alexa is primarily a search engine, an Open Directory based web directory, and a general supplier of site information to all suitors. In late 2005, Alexa opened its extensive search index and web-crawling facilities to third party programs through a comprehensive set of web services and APIs. These could be used, for instance, to construct vertical search engines that could run on Alexa’s own servers or elsewhere. Unique to the internet, Alexa’s Web Search Platform gives developers access to their raw crawl data reinforcing their comparison with Dunn and Bradstreet. Alexa, like every other web based endeavor feeling the bandwidth pinch changed their API to require comparisons be limited to 3 sites, reduced size embedded graphs be shown using Flash, and mandatory embedded BritePic ads in the early summer of 2007.

So who is Alexa and what does she have to do with me? Alexa is the ultimate remote helpdesk. Accessible only as a self help desk, she is the real gatekeeper. Her stats help determine your Google Page Rank, and Firefox’s About This Site are all Alexa metadata. Everyone else also pretty much reports what is in her data base. You know those stats you depend so much on? Irrespective of who supplies them to you… chances are they got them from Alexa. To join the club browse to Alexa dot com and follow the webmaster instructions. Don’t forget the Alexa Tool Bar! It matters! Alexa averages your raw traffic over a three month period to determine your traffic flow and where you rate. Under 100,000 visitors a month over any consecutive three month period and you drop off the radar.

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