As many WUWT readers know, I have been using alexa.com for quite sometime to gauge the performance of WUWT. Reader “Pat” brought this recent strange disparity to my attention. When you see things like the Drudge report plummet and MSNBC soar, you know immediately that something isn’t right:
Those who run watchdog news websites are scratching their heads and trying to make sense of the latest data released by a California company that measures website traffic.
According to data for July through September, almost every major website – from WND to the Drudge Report and Breitbart – saw its rankings drop on Alexa.com while pro-government sites mostly went up.
The claim seems to be true when you look at Alexa’s publicly reported traffic graphs. Here’s the Drudge Report according to Alexa:
(Lower numbers are better, for example, Google is #1)
And here is MSNBC according to Alexa:
I find that hard to believe. I find this even harder to believe, Fox News according to Alexa:
And the Soros driven Center for American Progress, aka thinkprogress.org according to Alexa
The exception to that knee up for left leaning websites starting in September is CNN.com according to Alexa:
So, this may be some sort of reporting or tracking goof. But, the oddity does not stop there.
Now, look at WUWT compared to the eco-news website “Grist”, which we long ago surpassed.
First, here is WUWT according to Alexa. Note the same “knee” in the graph as seen on the Drudgereport earlier:
And here is grist.org according to Alexa. Same “knee”, opposite direction:
My internal wordpress.com counter for WUWT shows that WUWT had its best month ever in total views, nearly 5 million:
It may have to do with this recent “upgrade” at Alexa that explains a new method of calculating its rankings based on what it says is a wider panel of viewers.
“We’re excited to announce that after a lot of hard work, the size of Alexa’s global traffic panel will be significantly increasing,” writes Leigh Katcher in the blog. “Over the next month we’ll be incorporating lots of new data points, which will help improve the accuracy of our metrics. As a reminder, our data panel is a sample of global Internet traffic used to calculate Alexa ranks and estimate non-Certified metrics.”
The blog posting continued, “With better data, we’ll be able to offer deeper insights into your site, your competitors’ site and overall traffic strategy. One immediate result of the additional data is that you may see your traffic rank fluctuate, especially for sites ranked greater than 100,000.”
One wonders how such an “upgrade” can affect one type of site more than others. In the WND article, they say the disparity even extends to things like Planned Parenthood versus Lifenews, two sites that offer politically opposing viewpoints.