Manipulating Alexa

I’ve noticed over the past couple of weeks a lot of websites are suddenly sporting little badges boldly displaying their Alexa rank with pride. This coincides “nicely” with the increase of PPP bloggers and other sponsoring programs because some of these services use Alexa as a measurement of how good your blog is and how much you should get paid.

Personally I think it’s utter crap, and anyone who’s anyone on the Internet knows that Alexa means nothing because it is incredibly easy to manipulate your rank. So, that’s exactly what this entry signifies: the start of a little experiment which will show you guys how easy it is to make your blog seem more popular (if you’re into that sort of thing).

First, make sure you’re running an Alexa-based toolbar (I believe you can download the official one for IE from Alexa.com, or there’s SearchStatus for Firefox). Next, browse your own website. Yes, it’s that simple. Were you expecting more to it? Of course, you can browse your friend’s sites too — nothing like a bit of mutual love for one another. (Interestingly enough SearchStatus even has an “exclusion list” so you can go nosing through anyone’s site you don’t like without benefiting them in the slightest. Eeevil!)

Try it! Leave a comment with your current Alexa rank here and then when I blog about this again in a week or so I’ll go and collect up everyone’s Alexa rankings for comparison. Of course, you then have to live with the knowledge that your rank is fake, but who cares… right?

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33 comments so far

  1. Ben said:
    On May 17, 2007 at 7:59 pm

    Sounds interesting but I don’t use Firefox or Internet Explorer. Good luck in the experiment though, it will be interesting to see what the results come out as. To be honest, I haven’t ever heard of Alexa.com until now. Oh well, not like I was missing anything.

  2. Kristin said:
    On May 17, 2007 at 8:22 pm

    I’m sure there’s other ranking sites that don’t give true readings or can be manipulated as well, right? :p

  3. Karl said:
    On May 17, 2007 at 8:44 pm

    Not such thing as a fake rank, a ranks a rank.

  4. Sapphire said:
    On May 17, 2007 at 9:22 pm

    Most of popularity resides in the consequential sentiment “I’m popular! Confetti! Champagne!” and the thought “Well, um, everyone else believes I’m popular … ” associated with a fabricated appearance doesn’t really resonate as profoundly.

  5. Daniela said:
    On May 17, 2007 at 10:00 pm

    Best thing is you can even print T-Shirts with your stats on it… Who pays for that? I think it is crap…

  6. Amelie said:
    On May 17, 2007 at 10:13 pm

    My current Alexa rank is apparently 1,117,130 (i.e., crap). I’m not about to go joining any pay-me-to-sit-on-my-arse sites so I really couldn’t give a crap what that or my Google Pagerank is. …well ok, the PR is of *slight* importance, but for ego purposes only :P

  7. Sergio said:
    On May 17, 2007 at 10:17 pm

    ok, I will do it :) Lets see what happens next week, I will come back to show you the results. Now its: Sosfactory.com 336,756 Sosnewbie.com 1,460,239 Cheers.

  8. Rhys said:
    On May 17, 2007 at 10:27 pm

    I know about this. I do it because I have Text Link Ads and anything which sells more, fuck it. I was 1,000,000, last week I went into the 80,000’s

  9. Stephanie said:
    On May 17, 2007 at 10:29 pm

    This is why I stopped messing with statistics of any kind.

  10. Aaron said:
    On May 18, 2007 at 12:08 am

    I’ve never heard of Alexa until now. I don’t really get it either, so I guess I won’t be getting that toolbar anytime soon.

  11. Jessica said:
    On May 18, 2007 at 12:37 am

    I heard of Alexa but personally have too much to do with what I got online to go fake some ranks. But I may just go mosey on over there.

  12. Skye said:
    On May 18, 2007 at 12:55 am

    This’ll be interesting to see if it works… Skyefairy: 341,341 Ealain: 2,789,061

  13. Josh said:
    On May 18, 2007 at 1:26 am

    Current Alexa rank: 669, 142. This is interesting, because not long ago (before I installed the search status plugin), I wasn’t even ranked. Looks like your little experiment has already shown results for me.

  14. Jordan said:
    On May 18, 2007 at 3:51 am

    Oh, there’s no doubt in my mind how easy it is to get your ranking to lower for anything really (especially Alexa and Technorati.) I’ve got the little plugin for Firefox, but I think I did it more so out of curiosity and in hopes to see it get lower and lower! I’m at 379,907 right now.

  15. Kenna said:
    On May 18, 2007 at 4:36 am

    Like others, I hadn’t ever heard of Alexa before this. O.o I feel so… old and out of the loop. I didn’t even know this trend existed, nevermind got the chance to be like… Ohhh, kiddies, no no no. :( Now I’m sad.

  16. Chrissy said:
    On May 18, 2007 at 5:50 am

    Hahaha… I am going to install that FireFox one and put everyone doing PPP on the exclusion list. I’ll start the revolution! :D Evil? Who the fuck cares! PPP is the devil’s spawn!

  17. Amber said:
    On May 18, 2007 at 5:58 am

    That just sounds like too much effort. :P

  18. Gabrielle said:
    On May 18, 2007 at 7:12 am

    I’ve heard of Alexa. They used to have my full name, address, and phone number up there until I discovered it and changed it. I was sort of bitter about that. s-i.net – 434, 083

  19. Belinda said:
    On May 18, 2007 at 9:16 am

    Bah, I don’t use it, not entirely sure how it works (or what it does).

  20. Vera said:
    On May 18, 2007 at 10:52 am

    You link Alexa way too much… what are you hoping to accomplish? Regarding you post… I tried, more than once, but the values are for my host (squirrelism.net)… so *sticks out tongue*

  21. Rachael said:
    On May 18, 2007 at 11:59 am

    It won’t tell me my alexa rank. *sad face*

  22. Jessica said:
    On May 18, 2007 at 6:43 pm

    Ha I went on over & mines 5,885,510. And they have a screen shot from last year before Forzen Midnight started screwing up. This is rather hilarious.

  23. Michele said:
    On May 19, 2007 at 1:19 am

    Interesting. I will give it a shot mestisa 2,450,729

  24. Annie said:
    On May 19, 2007 at 7:54 am

    How interesting….

  25. Kat said:
    On May 19, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    If they want to show how popular they are, why not show their Feedburner count? Unless of course they subscribed to their own site a hundred times using different feed readers. :D

  26. Jenn said:
    On May 19, 2007 at 3:30 pm

    As you have said, the Alexa rank is ridiculously easy to manipulate. In just under three months I went from 1.7 million to just shy of 70,000. That said, I and many others find it ridiculous that PPP and similar pay-to-blog sites use Alexa rank as one of the qualifiers for opportunities, since it is so easy to manipulate.

  27. Jem said:
    On May 19, 2007 at 7:14 pm

    @Kat: It would be truly interesting to see the feed subscriber count for all of those PPP sites, particularly as I’d put money on them being lower than before they started PPPing!

  28. Vera said:
    On May 19, 2007 at 7:51 pm

    The saddest thing I’ve seen one of these days was a review on YS.nu The reviewer hmmed for a bit, then checked the site’s Alexa rank and satisfied gave the site a 4 star rating. Because a 4th ranking on Alexa … lyke… rly deserves a 4/5 .. duuuh! *sighs*

  29. Political Monster said:
    On May 20, 2007 at 3:10 pm

    I’ve never believed anything these rank companies tell us. Couldn’t post the rest of the comment, the spam-o-meter blocked it.

  30. Chans said:
    On May 20, 2007 at 6:20 pm

    When I first started my site I used Alexa for a few weeks but luckily I came to my senses soon enough and didn’t bother with it anymore.. I actually haven’t looked at it since, I might just have a peak just for the sake of the experiment.

  31. Faith said:
    On May 21, 2007 at 7:37 am

    I don’t know if it’s safe to say that everyone who has a little Alexia thingie on their site is doing it for anything other than personal statistics. I’m sure there are plenty who are, but Jesus, there may be plenty who aren’t. I personally have one on my site, and I can’t forsee taking it down because a few people don’t like it, but my ranking’s what can easily be considered crap and, since I refuse toolbars because of the spyware involved in most ( and can’t use one with MSN Explorer anyway ), it doesn’t help my rank any. Not everyone’s out to screw all those ‘honest’ and ‘true’ webmasters out of whatever they’d get if someone didn’t have an Alexia deally. :P

  32. Mike said:
    On May 26, 2007 at 9:23 pm

    You don’t really even need to browse your own site anymore than you normally would. I’ve had the Firefox plugin installed for a while and my Alexa score has improved a ton and the only time I really visit my sites is when I need to update them or respond to comments. It really is a useless statistic.

  33. Kojak Full said:
    On June 18, 2007 at 6:30 pm

    Thanks for this i hope i can reach below 100k rankings.. currently im in 234,000 Kojak