- Alexa Internet
Infobox Dotcom company
company_name = Alexa Internet, Inc.
foundation = 1996
San Francisco, California
industry = Internet information providers
products = Search Engine
url = [http://www.alexa.com Alexa.com]
caption = Screenshot of alexa.com home page
web trafficand ranking
language = English
advertising = Web banner with
registration = no
current_status = active
Alexa Internet, Inc. is a
California-based subsidiarycompany of Amazon.comthat is best known for operating a websitethat provides information on web trafficto other websites.
Operations and history
Alexa Internet was founded in 1996 by
Brewster Kahleand Bruce Gilliat. [cite web | title= ALEXA Internet Donates Archive of the World Wide Web To Library of Congress | date= 1998-10-13 |url= http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/1998/98-167.html ] The company offered a toolbar that gave Internet users guidance on where to go next, based on the traffic patterns of its user community. Alexa also offered 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 was updated. [cite web | title= Alexa Internet opens the doors | url= http://www.tbtf.com/archive/1997-07-28.html | author= Keith Dawson | date= 1997-07-28 ] Engineers at Alexa, in cooperation with the Internet Archive, created the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine. [cite web | title= Internet Archive Frequently Asked Questions | url= http://www.archive.org/about/faqs.php ] Alexa also supplies the Internet Archive with web crawls.
In 1999, Alexa was acquired by
Amazon.comfor about $250 million in Amazon stock. [cite web | title= E-commerce loves Street: Critical Path plans encore | author= Adam Feuerstein | date= 1999-05-21 | url= http://sanfrancisco.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/1999/05/24/newscolumn4.html ]
The company's premises are in Building 37 of the
Presidio of San Francisco.
Alexa began a partnership with
Open Directory Projectin January 2003. [cite web | title= Alexa History | url= http://www.alexa.com/site/company/history ] Live Searchreplaced Google as a provider of search results in May 2006. [cite web | title= Amazon dumps Google for Windows Live | author= Elizabeth Montalbano | date= 2006-05-01 | url= http://www.infoworld.com/article/06/05/01/77974_HNgoogledumped_1.html ] In September 2006, they began using their own Search Platform to serve results. In December 2006, they released "Alexa Image Search". Built in-house, it is the first major application to be built on their Web Platform.
Alexa also provides "site info" for the
In December 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 searchengines that could run on Alexa's own servers or elsewhere. Uniquely, their [http://websearch.alexa.com Web Search Platform] gives developers access to their raw crawl data. In May 2007, Alexa changed their API to require comparisons be limited to 3 sites, reduced size embedded graphs be shown using Flash, and mandatory embedded BritePicads. [cite web | title= Alexa Traffic Charts Now Include Advertising | author= Amit Agarwal | url=http://labnol.blogspot.com/2007/05/alexa-traffic-charts-now-include.html | date= 2007-05-06 | accessdate= 2007-05-21 ]
In April 2007,
Alexa v. Hornbakerwas filed to stop trademark infringementby the statsaholicservice. [cite web | title= Northern California District Federal court Case number - C 07-01715 RS | url= http://i.i.com.com/cnwk.1d/i/z/200701/show_case_doc-1.pdf | accessdate= 2007-04-19 ] In the lawsuit, Alexa alleges that Hornbaker is stealing traffic graphs for profit, and that the primary purpose of his site is to display graphs that are generated by Alexa's servers. [cite web | title= Amazon sues Alexaholic…everyone loses! | author= Alan Graham | url=http://blogs.zdnet.com/web2explorer/?p=350 | date= 2007-04-18 | accessdate= 2007-04-19 ] [cite web | title= Amazon Sues Alexaholic...Everyone Loses | author= Tim O'Reilly | url=http://radar.oreilly.com/archives/2007/04/amazon_sues_ale.html | date= 2007-04-20 | accessdate= 2007-04-20 ] Hornbaker removed the term Alexa from his service name on March 19, 2007. [cite web | title= Amazon sues Statsaholic…Web as Platform is Bullsh*t | author= Pete Cashmore | url=http://mashable.com/2007/04/19/amazon-sues-alexaholic%e2%80%a6web-as-platform-is-bullsht | date= 2007-04-19 | accessdate= 2007-04-20 ] Nevertheless, it should be noted that Alexa expressly grants permission [cite web|url = http://www.alexa.com/site/help/?index=129 |title = Alexa Web Search - Help |accessdate = 2008-07-05] to refer its data in third-party work subject to suitable credits.
Concerns over Alexa rank information and the Alexa Toolbar
Alexa ranks sites based on visits from users of its
Alexa Toolbarfor Internet Explorer and from integrated sidebars in Mozilla and Netscape. In addition to their own statusbar extension, [http://sparky.mozdev.org/ Sparky] (released July 2007), there are several third-party extensions for Mozilla Firefox:
* [http://www.quirk.biz/searchstatus/ SearchStatus] shows Google
PageRankand Alexa TrafficRank
* [http://ginatrapani.org/workshop/firefox/aboutsite/ About This Site] Firefox plug-in that shows metadata from Alexa TrafficRank.
There is some controversy over how representative Alexa's user base is of typical Internet behavior. If Alexa's user base is a fair
statistical sampleof the Internet user population (e.g., a random sample of sufficient size), Alexa's ranking should be quite accurate. In reality, not much is known about the sample and possible sampling biases. Alexa itself notes several examples. [ [http://www.alexa.com/site/help/traffic_learn_more About the Alexa Traffic Rankings] ] [ [http://www.alexa.com/site/help?index=84 Frequently Asked Questions] ] A known source of bias is the self-selecting, opt-in nature of Alexa traffic tracking software installation, but the significance of this bias on rankings is not reported. [ [http://www.alexa.com/site/help/traffic_learn_more Alexa.com: What is traffic rank?] ]
On April 16, 2008 many users reported dramatic shifts in their Alexa rankings. Alexa confirmed this later in the day with an announcement that they had released the "New Alexa Ranking System" claiming that they now take into account more data sources. [ [http://www.alexa.com/site/company/announcement Alexa Announcement ] ]
The Alexa toolbar is regarded by many vendors as spyware. Symantec classifies the toolbar as Trackware. [cite web|url = http://www.symantec.com/security_response/writeup.jsp?docid=2004-062410-3624-99 |title = Trackware. Alexa - Symantec.com |accessdate = 2008-07-05] McAfee Site Advisor rates the Alexa website as yellow with a warning, "In our tests, we found downloads on this site that some people consider adware, spyware or other potentially unwanted programs," and the site has 67 user ratings of "Adware, spyware, or viruses" as of July 2, 2008. The toolbar is detected by McAfee as Adware-Alexa, a "Potentially Unwanted Program." [cite web|url = http://www.siteadvisor.com/sites/alexa.com |title = alexa.com | Web Safety Ratings from McAfee SiteAdvisor |accessdate = 2008-07-05 |date = September 2007] [cite web|url = http://vil.nai.com/vil/content/v_131087.htm |title = Adware-Alexa |accessdate = 2008-07-05] Many other security vendors also detect and remove Alexa software.
Competitors in the Internet
market researchspace include ComScore, Hitwise, and Netcraft.
List of search engines
List of web directories
* [http://www.alexa.com/ Alexa Internet] — Official site
* [http://websearch.alexa.com/ Alexa's search platform]
* [http://sparky.mozdev.org/ Alexa Sparky]
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