Alexa Internet

Alexa Internet

Infobox Dotcom company
company_name = Alexa Internet, Inc.
company_type = Subsidiary
foundation = 1996
parent =
location = San Francisco, California
industry = Internet information providers
products = Search Engine
url = []

caption = Screenshot of home page
website_type = web traffic and ranking
language = English
advertising = Web banner with AdBrite
registration = no
current_status = active

Alexa Internet, Inc. is a California-based subsidiary company of that is best known for operating a website that provides information on web traffic to other websites.

Operations and history

Alexa Internet was founded in 1996 by Brewster Kahle and Bruce Gilliat. [cite web | title= ALEXA Internet Donates Archive of the World Wide Web To Library of Congress | date= 1998-10-13 |url= ] 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= | 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= ] Alexa also supplies the Internet Archive with web crawls.

In 1999, Alexa was acquired by for 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= ]

The company's premises are in Building 37 of the Presidio of San Francisco.

Alexa began a partnership with Google in spring 2002, and with the Open Directory Project in January 2003. [cite web | title= Alexa History | url= ] Live Search replaced 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= ] 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 search engine.

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 search engines that could run on Alexa's own servers or elsewhere. Uniquely, their [ 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 BritePic ads. [cite web | title= Alexa Traffic Charts Now Include Advertising | author= Amit Agarwal | url= | date= 2007-05-06 | accessdate= 2007-05-21 ]

In April 2007, Alexa v. Hornbaker was filed to stop trademark infringement by the statsaholic service. [cite web | title= Northern California District Federal court Case number - C 07-01715 RS | url= | 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= | date= 2007-04-18 | accessdate= 2007-04-19 ] [cite web | title= Amazon Sues Alexaholic...Everyone Loses | author= Tim O'Reilly | url= | 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= | date= 2007-04-19 | accessdate= 2007-04-20 ] Nevertheless, it should be noted that Alexa expressly grants permission [cite web|url = |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 Toolbar for Internet Explorer and from integrated sidebars in Mozilla and Netscape. In addition to their own statusbar extension, [ Sparky] (released July 2007), there are several third-party extensions for Mozilla Firefox:
* [ SearchStatus] shows Google PageRank and Alexa TrafficRank
* [ 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 sample of 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. [ [ About the Alexa Traffic Rankings] ] [ [ 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. [ [ 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. [ [ Alexa Announcement ] ]


The Alexa toolbar is regarded by many vendors as spyware. Symantec classifies the toolbar as Trackware. [cite web|url = |title = Trackware. Alexa - |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 = |title = | Web Safety Ratings from McAfee SiteAdvisor |accessdate = 2008-07-05 |date = September 2007] [cite web|url = |title = Adware-Alexa |accessdate = 2008-07-05] Many other security vendors also detect and remove Alexa software.

ee also

Competitors in the Internet market research space include ComScore, Hitwise, and Netcraft.

* List of search engines
* List of web directories
* Alexa Toolbar


External links

* [ Alexa Internet] — Official site
* [ Alexa's search platform]
* [ Alexa Sparky]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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