Coffee heat rising

Alexa: Wayyy kewl, but what does it mean?

The Alexa toolbar I added to the ineffable Firefox generates a fair amount of ego-boosting. Really. Where else, this side of Snow White, can you gaze into a mirror and have it murmur sweet nothings back at you?

According to this sweet cooing program, Funny is busting its seams with fattening popularity. (If only Adsense would get the message!) When I signed on to Alexa, sometime around the first of the month, Funny’s ranking was around 235,000. None of this striking me as very important, I didn’t note either the day or the exact figure. But there you have the same general idea as I do.

Fifteen days later, the ranking has risen to 170,881, easily busting through Yakezie’s challenge goal. (See, 1 is high, 87 gerjillion is low. Yakezie’s challenge is to break into the 100,000 range, assuming you’re one of the gerjillion.) According to my exquisitely sensitive calculations, Funny’s Alexa ranking increases at an average rate of 4,813 points a day.

Exciting, isn’t it?

Well, it would be, if we had a clue whether it has any meaning outside of Technoville.

We’re told we must jack up our rankings if we wish to monetize our site, because advertisers, for unknown reasons, attach high significance to Alexa rankings. And maybe Google uses Alexa in its rankings.

But what is it, anyway? Wikipedia reports that some folks classify it as a form of spyware or adware, possibly not something one would like knowingly to install  in one’s system. I don’t know about that…and hope it’s not so, now that it’s lurking among the too-many-toolbars at the top of my screen. The thing is heavily skewed toward webmasters, the highly techie group that originated it and forms its base: apparently most people who have the toolbar installed are webmasterish. And even that set expresses some skepticism about its significance. But they swear that advertisers commonly use it as a gauge of how many viewers might see their pitches.

And it’s apparently pretty easy to game Alexa. If, that is, one wanted to diddle away a lot of one’s hours at such an activity, an activity about as meaningful as a game of Spider Solitaire.

Well, it does seem to me that if Alexa had a direct line to Google, Adsense revenues would rise in lockstep with Alexa. But that doesn’t seem to be happening. Not that I’m not grateful for the ego boost! Just sayin’, is all…

7 thoughts on “Alexa: Wayyy kewl, but what does it mean?”

  1. Question: I read FaM in my google blog reader. I don’t usually click through to the actual FaM blog site. Does reading the blog in a reader “count” towards the rankings? Or only if I actually click through to the actual blog page???

    • I think it counts…vaguely recall reading something to that effect somewhere. This techie stuff is like math to me. If I could do math, I’d be earning a decent living!

  2. I just click on the bookmark I made on “Funny about Money”, hit the home page , and read. (The bookmark was from a long time ago…”The Queen is in her Counting House” column.)
    No offense, I don’t read you to buy stuff, just to read your delightful columns. I spend too much on Stuff as it is, and after all, your blog is about doing more with less, not spending on misc Stuff. Maybe you should seek advertisers for iInvestment firms catering to pre- and post-retirees, or services to us Old Folks, like the ads in AARP. Don’t take offense, I think you are a Hip and Happen’ Gal, just like me!! 🙂 “Still Hangin’ In”

  3. @ kerryann: It would be neat to be able to select advertisers who are selling services or products that FaM readers might actually be interested in! Adsense, from what I can tell, responds to keywords that surface on a website; it’s presumably blind to demographics. I suspect that to have any real choice of advertisers — that is, to sell ad space to a marketer of one’s selection — you’d have to own a very large website.

    IMHO, there are a lot of parallels between magazine ad space and blog ad space. A blog’s traffic is similar to a magazine’s circulation (though they’re not quite the same). The business model is roughly similar: both sell ad space at prices based on the size of readership. That notwithstanding, though, blog space sells for an awful lot less than magazine space…particularly considering that even a relatively small site can bring many more pairs of eyes to an ad than a mid-sized magazine. As I recall, when I worked at Phoenix Ragazine the cost of a full-page four-color ad would take your breath away.

    Right now the thing has a paid monthly circulation of around 71,000. FaM is averaging around 17,000 unique visits per month. Of course, unique visit does not equal paying reader. Still…I could do with a 1/4 of a breathtaking price for an ad. 😉

  4. Hi

    I think that the Alexa ranking might be of value for sites in he top 10,000 or so. Lower than that it is too open to manipulation and is skewed towards tech sites where the visitors are more likely to have the toolbar installed.

    If it’s keeping you happy that’s fine but don’t attach any importance to it!

    • @ Neil: Thanks for visiting. LOL! I can’t see that it has any great importance, except that it’s vaguely amusing to watch its numbers bounce around. Since that’s the only real entertainment value here, it would be good if you could customize the toolbar and get rid of the hot news on earthshaking topics like the Smurfs movie and “Hollywood actor kidnapped.” In fact, I’m not at all clear how to remove the whole toolbar, come to think of it, a bit of knowledge that will come in handy when one grows bored with it.

  5. My adsense earnings is DIRECTLY tied to when I decided to step up the back end on my part. Do you use google xml plug in? Do you use all in one seo plug in? Do you know how to use headers?

    Just some thoughts from your conservative man reader

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