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December 23, 2005



Well, "hits" are simply server requests. Downloading a single page can result in 1-30 hits, depending on how many graphics are on it, for example. Doesn't mean all that much in terms of actual visitors.

As well, there is no absolute way to define visitors because reporting software uses a variety of methods to infer visitors from IP logs. In general, very hard to do direct comparisons between sites unless they have the same settings/tracking methods. It is a useful measure of upward/downward trend on a single site though.

The "reach" measure is probably the best way to do site vs. site comparisons, assuming the reach is computed using truly random samples.

My guess is that they didn't fully understand the numbers. 3m hits could be right, but it isn't a useful indicator of traffic.

the aardvark

Very interesting... what would I do without my technologically literate readers? Maybe now you could explain exactly what Alexa means by "reach", and what the "per million" means?


It's a bit like a Nielsen system. Users download some kind of software (e.g. a toolbar or an add-on to speed up their dialup service) that quietly monitors their usage. One expects that the users are aware of this, but more likely they aren't. Many of these companies drift into the shadowy world of spyware to collect their stats.

Anyway, if it is a truly random, truly representative sample of the internet, reach gives you a sense of how many people online are visiting a site (based on extrapolation from their user base).

The "per million" thing probably means that if you randomly selected a million internet users, X (point on the graph) would have visited that site.

Of course, it generally isn't random. In particular I note this disclaimer on their site:

The rate of adoption of Alexa software in different parts of the world may vary widely due to advertising locality, language, and other geographic and cultural factors. For example, to some extent the prominence of Korean sites among our top-ranked sites reflects known high rates of general Internet usage in South Korea, but there may also be a disproportionate number of Korean Alexa users.


And we see why eerie is the editor in chief of 'Aqoul.

Nur al-Cubicle

I'm sure that McCormack and Ereli just mis-spoke, or didn't know what they were talking about

Ah, but the Aardvark is really too kind. McCormack and Ereli, like Fleischer and Senor, are artisans of the shoddy lie. Pathetic, but Rove tells them we are really that dumb.


And I am sure they eat babies and all that.

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