Alexa, a prominent website that provides information on other websites, recently revised its algorithm for measuring web traffic. The site's most recognized feature is a ranking of websites by the amount of traffic they get. The new algorithm caused significant changes for many sites, and has provoked substantial controversy in the web community.
In its previous life, Alexa relied on its own toolbar. Many users had installed the Alexa toolbar in their browsers, providing information to Alexa about what sites users visited. Reliance on this method led to criticism of bias, as usage of the toolbar was common in some tech-savvy communities but rare among the general public. Most analysts felt that this led to exaggerated traffic rankings for tech-oriented sites.
The revision did seem to dramatically reduce rankings of some technology focused sites, while increasing the rankings of non-tech sites about entertainment, news and business. This aspect of the change prompted angry responses from some website owners.
"Alexa sucks," complained hacker Super-Geek about the drop in his super-geek.com website. Similar comments appeared on blogs across the universe.
Alexa and its parent company, Amazon.com, had no comment other than its vague announcement about the change.