Watts Up With Alexa Statistics

alexa logoAnthony Watts is very fond of using Alexa statistics for showing how popular his blog is. Especially when he can use it to show that his blog is more popular than websites that spread good information on climate science.

But the problem is that Alexa uses indirect measurements to give an estimate for how much a website is visited. This makes Alexa traffic statistics basically worthless if you’re trying to do any serious analysis of visitor numbers to websites. You just don’t use it as you will almost always get something that isn’t remotely close to reality (although some businesses do use this data).

Watts should know this considering how often it was pointed out to him that Alexa isn’t reliable. Something I also wrote about in my blog post ‘Why You Shouldn’t Use Alexa Traffic Statistics‘. Yet it doesn’t stop Watts from using it to boast about his website in his blog post ‘The other divergence problem – climate communications‘ (archived here):

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Why You Shouldn’t Use Alexa Traffic Statistics

alexa logoWatts is known for using Alexa web traffic statistics to show how well his website is doing compared to other blogs. Often to boast he’s doing far better than for example Skeptical Science or Real Climate.

Via the comment section of WottsUpWithThat the user @vitaminCSS pointed to a tweet where he joked around a bit about the graphs in response to Watts latest usage of Alexa data. Because I saw his comment I responded to his tweet saying that “Alexa is notoriously unreliable with the type of statistics it gives. You can’t do any comparisons with it.”

It was just me giving an opinion on how inaccurate the Alexa data is and that you shouldn’t use it. Watts did respond to my remark, and before I address his response to me I’ll explain why I think Alexa data is unreliable.

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