On Tue, May 31, 2011 at 9:15 PM, René König <kontakt(a)renekoenig.eu> wrote:
Right, the problem is just that Alexa is not "my" research tool and
therefore it not transparent to me what it actually does. The same goes
for other tools like Google Trends, BTW. Of course, it´s understandable
that these companies do not provide much information about the
methodology but as a researcher that´s kind of frustrating.
The methodology is pretty straightforward. Users install the Alexa toolbar.
They complete a survey that includes basic demographic data at the time of
the install. Based on the IP address and the survey, the location that a
user is from is determined. Once the toolbar is installed, the sites that
the user visits are recorded and the amount of time the user spends on the
website is recorded. This data is than compiled on a daily basis and global
and national rankings are compiled. Other demographic data is also compiled
for each site.
Problems with the methodology include that users with mobile devices are not
included on Alexa's data and Safari browser users are not included. (Mac
users can install the Alexa toolbar, provided they use Firefox.
Historically, they have not been collected.)
Certain countries have smaller populations so the total rankings for the top
sites in those countries is smaller. In the case of New Zealand, only the
top 20,000 sites are listed. In the case of Australia, only the top 50,000
sites are listed.
Certain populations are more predisposed towards using Alexa than other
populations. Internet marketers, website maintainers, researchers, social
media professionals may be more likely to use it than other people because
these parties have a vested interest in improving their website ranking.
Thus, a higher ranking on Alexa than say Google Analytics indicates a site
should have could be a result of selected population visiting.