More observant readers might have noticed that I used to have an Alexa rank badge icon thingy on the sidebar. For the benefit of the less observant, Alexa is an Amazon-owned service that shows the relative popularity of websites. Now this might be useful information, but there’s a wee bit of a problem with it.
It works by recording the web browsing activity of people who have installed the Alexa toolbar. Now most sensible web users avoid installing extra toolbars on the grounds that they’re nasty things that report on their behaviour to the people who create them. I don’t think I know anyone who uses the Alexa toolbar. What’s more, Alexa’s toolbar is only available for Internet Explorer.
So, Alexa’s stats are for a quite specific subset of web users. People who browse with IE and who are happy to install toolbars that report on their habits.
I was prompted to think about this by Matt’s recent comments, which led me to Aaron Brazell’s thoughts on the subject. And I have to say that I agree with Aaron. The ranking figure Alexa shows is quite irrelevant, and doesn’t give any real indication of how many people are visiting a site.
So it’s gone. And I’ll bet most of you never even noticed it.
 Or those who just can’t be bothered looking that far down
 A large, but shrinking proportion of web users