Alexa stats now lagging by 6 days

Lots of people snub Alexa for providing statistics that are easily gamed, or lack relevance for the global market. As an example Jason Calacanis was recently proposing to test different ways Alexa can be gamed..

Om Malik recently reported on Alexa outages as large as 14 hours.

I still like using Alexa as a way to compare websites. But it is just one yardstick, and should only be used comparing websites in the same niche. If one webmaster uses Alexa and another doesn’t within a small niche, the difference in rating can be extremely high.

Alexa isn’t Just Down

I have noticed over the last week that Alexa wasn’t updating their statistics. They were frozen on 22nd November. Not just my own site statistics, but also for sites like CNN and Google.

Today is the first time that statistics have been updated for 6 days, and Alexa are now shoing statistics for… November 23rd.

This isn’t the same as an outage. There seems to be something going on behind the scenes.
They have still been gathering data, but not displaying the processed results.

Lots of tracking services have some level of delay, Google Analytics has a delay. MyBlogLog has a delay, unless you subscribe to their pro version.

Is this something to do with data centre migration or a technical hitch? If that was the case I would expect to see results today for November up until 28th now that things are moving again.

Alexa May Have Made Changes

The way that the data is appearing suggests to me that maybe Alexa have made some changes in the way data is being processed, and that it will take them a while to catch up.

Only time will tell.

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Comments

  1. says

    There is no doubt, Alexa stats are pretty awful. Even when they are up, they are severely biased because of how the data is collected (from people who are looking at the data). I’ve had the debate about whether they are consistently biased and I would have to say “no”. I wish there were some broad top-level traffic stats that could be made available by one of the traffic counter companies for free; Hitwise, Netratings, Comscore, Compete etc. could definitely get some mileage out of a broad free offering even if not “media quality”, but I don’t see that happening any time soon unfortunately.

  2. Andy Beard says

    I actually had a look at Compete earlier

    Unfortunately it is not just a question of accuracy for the top 10K websites.

    I am interested in the traffic for sites 100K to 1M or even higher.

    This particular domain has only been in existence for 6 weeks, but if they really do have 2M toolbar users in the US, you might expect them to have some data available more than their default security warning for sites they don’t know.

    So I tested out some of my other niche sites that get far less traffic on a daily basis, have been established for over a year, and which get 50-100 page views per day, and make nice bread & butter income almost exclusively from US traffic.

    The number of Compete community members who visited [removed domain name] in the past year has not been large enough to produce accurate traffic estimates.

    The site has had an Alexa rating as high as 1M, and is currently 6M because it had some downtime and it is the off season.

    Now if someone was in anyway “gaming” the Alexa rating of a site like that, it would be obvious. I use Alexa for sites that have Alexa scores so low, they can’t possibly be gaming things, and the webmaster probably has never heard of Alexa.

  3. Joe Escobar says

    It is weird. Ever since you mentioned this. Alexa seems as though the stats just stopped for like 2 weeks, then they came back recently but they seem wacked out. I mean our site is doing more traffic than ever, and what would have previously shown up on alexa as I am sure a big increase has actually come through as a decline! I dont get it, and what is more weird is no one seems to have noticed or is blogging about it. This is for a site with a rank of about 5000. Have you seen or heard on what has changed/ or broken over there?

  4. Andy Beard says

    When they came back on, all the stats seemed to catch up and match what I was expecting.

    I did have some site downtime a couple of days ago which resulted in a hit in my own stats, but it all seems to tally up.

    One thing of note, they certainly seem to take the weekend off.

    Amazon do seem to be having server problems occasionally. MyBlogLog images are stored on Amazon S3 and I have noticed a few delays in pulling the small images down, at least to my desktop compared to other sites.