Alexa vs. Netcraft

Alexa vs. Netcraft

In one of my old entries about “Top Philippine News Sites“, I was discussing with Marites Johns of newsBalita about the effectivity of Netcraft and Alexa in ranking website popularity.

From my quick search on Google, all I get is that both Alexa and Netcraft uses their own proprietary browser-installed toolbars to measure surfing activities.

Since there are no exact number of toolbars installed for each of them, we can’t really tell which is more reliable.

However, I think we can verify this by comparing both rankings agaist the site’s published traffic.

Under Netcraft, we have the top 6 below:

1. Sun.Star – 2,518
2. Daily Inquirer/GMA – 3,320
3. newsBALITA – 4,989
4. Philippine Star – 5,580
5. ABS-CBN – 10,029
6. Manila Bulletin – 11,549


With Alexa, we get another set:

1. Daily Inquirer/GMA – 3,179
2. Philippine Star – 8,645
3. Manila Bulletin – 21,670
4. ABS-CBN – 22,247
5. Sun.Star – 38,562
6. Abante Tonite – 46,993

From what I know, should lead the pack with a total monthly pageviews of 41 Million. Marites adds that newsBalita gets 2 Million pageviews/month. Maybe Max will share how many pageviews Sun.Star gets.

Again, I will go back with another info about MySpace having more pageviews than Google. In that list, Yahoo leads the pack at 43.7 Billion pageviews and Alexa correctly ranks it at #1 while Netcraft puts it at #2. Google is #2 on Alexa but #1 on Netcraft. While both Netcraft and Alexa was not close to Google’s actual ranking in terms of pageviews, Netcraft overly underrated MySpace to #85 as compared to Alexa’s #8.

From the figures above we can tell that Alexa is more accurate in predicting rankings. Yes, both may be unreliable but both have a good sample size (in the millions) of the total population.

For a global perspective check out State of the News Media for 2006.

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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11 Responses

  1. I don’t want to get into page view arguments but I do think your INQ7 is way off – organizations like INQ and SunStar hold accurate figures close to their chests as I said to you via Max’s page the BBC news web site it supposed to be the most visited in the world by way of page views and that is not 41 million a month. Ever since day one of the Internet page views have been exaggerated with every graphic text block being counted as a hit. In truth the only true figures are ‘unique visitor hits’.

    Hey, btw your tables are way outdated :-) I do not put too much store by the figures put out by Alexa or Netcraft as an accurate picture of views if either are just based on toolbar users.

    We deal with 3 advertising agencies and none accept Alexa as a true picture – in the World according to Alexa everyone runs Windows and uses Internet Explorer – now how can that give an accurate picture.

    Netcraft toolbar on the otherhand uses Internet Explorer, Firefox on Windows Mac and Linux platforms. According to my contact at Netcraft their toolbar is used 2 to 1 over Alexa – ‘ah but they would say that I hear you say’ but at least Netcraft did tell me early this year downloads of the toolbar – Alexa would not.

    Netcraft say they use the toolbar to rank the top 100 but those below 101 they use other proprietry methods but do not indicate what. Netcraft also say there is no reporting spyware in their toolbar – try to install Alexa on a machine that catches virus and spyware.

    There are differences in the way results are collated between Alexa and Netcraft.

    Alexa lumps and all sub domains as a single analysis – Netcraft treats and sub domains separately.

    For instance balita has
    * news.balita
    * biz.balita
    * ofw.balita
    All run separately

    In the same way INQ has its separate sub-domains – whilst all part of the same site each sub-domain is run as a separate entity.

    Netcraft take each part and give each a ranking – Balita has ‘unique’ visitors to news who don’t visit ofw. or biz – Alexa lumps all together.

    Alexa is ‘picky’ on who they rank they won’t touch a couple of sites whereas Netcraft will treat everything as rankable.

    As far as I can see the whole subject is a minefield and unless every website carries somesort of independent counter the debate will go on and on.

    – Marites –

  2. Max Limpag says:

    I agree with you on the ranking. I’m not so sure about the figure because I oversee only Sun.Star Cebu online and its web projects (citizen journalists etc.), a separate department runs the Sun.Star network website. But last I heard the monthly pageviews were 11 million.

  3. yuga says:

    @ Marites

    What I wanted to underline the “fact” that Netcraft got their #1 rank wrong. Alexa got it right for Yahoo.

    Thus, if they can’t fairly extrapolate the rank for the overall #1, I don’t think they’d get it right with the rest.

  4. How do we know who is correct for Yahoo and how sure can we be that they are 1,2,3 or whatever. I must say I do agree with you and Max on toolbar ratings – they need to be used with a bucket of salt :-)

    – Marites –

  5. yuga says:

    There’s an actual independent research for these actually.

    Media Metrix published the latest stats for the ff:

    Yahoo! – 43,700 Million
    Time Warner – 31,600 Million (AOL is roughly 70% of this)
    Microsoft – 21,800 Million (includes MSN)
    eBay – 10,900 Million
    MySpace – 9,600 Million
    Google – 6,300 Million

  6. Sorry Abe I thought you were talking about the ratings on Netcraft and Alexa for Yahoo! rather than the certified figures – my apologies.

    – Marites –

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