Alexa is the most popular free website ranking service. It has been described as "a Nielson rating for the popularity of the website you are visiting."
With a higher Alexa rank, more people will be attracted to reading your website (on the theory that if its a popular site, it must be good), and advertisers will be more interested in paying to run ads on your site.
Those in the know have realized for some time that Alexa isn't perfectly accurate.
But it turns out that many people are also intentionally gaming the Alexa rankings.
Well, Alexa supposedly ranks the popularity of websites by how many people with Alexa the toolbar installed on their computer surf to a particular site.
Many techies have figured out tricks for increasing Alexa ranking.
More amusingly, people all over the world will happily surf to your site manually - or using automatic scripts - to make it look like you have more readers than you really do.
For example, the folks at Alexa Rank Team provide the following informative price list:
If you want your site ranks within 500, we will make your site's ranking listed within 500 everyday. And after 3 months, your site will be ranked within 500.
And the folks at Alexa Rank Team provide a very logical explanation for why they don't let their own website get ranked by Alexa:
What is the price?
Alexa Rank(daily) Price 60,000-100,000 $488 per month 50,000 $499 per month 40,000 $550 per month 30,000 $555 per month 20,000 $600 per month 10,000 $700 per month 8,000 $720 per month 7,000 $750 per month 6,000 $780 per month 5,000 $800 per month 4,000 $960 per month 3,000 $1,100 per month 2,000 $1,650 per month 1,000 $2,000 per month 900 $2,500 per month 800 $3,000 per month 700 $3,500 per month 600 $4,000 per month 500 $5,000 per month 400 $5,500 per month 300 $6,000 per month 200 $7,000 per month 100 $14,000 per month
Q: Why not ranking your own site?
A: We do not want to be tracked by ALEXA , which will bring risks to our clients
If you can't afford even the lowest-price services of the Rank Team, no problem ... UpMyRank has something for free:
Webmasters, raise your Alexa Ranking and start enjoying free traffic instantly! We will send up to 1,000 visitors to your website everyday, just for participating in the UpMyRank TrafficExchange Program...Best of all you can leave the AutoSurf program on all night and all day and earn credits while you sleep!
I'm not trying to pick on these 2 companies. In fact, there are more than 29,000 websites devoted to "auto surfing" programs which will increase your Alexa ranking.
Unlike the governmental propaganda wars which are apparently being fought on the Internet, everything I've run across so far indicates that this is just a commercially-driven turf war for advertising revenue and a wider audience.Note 1: Since Alexa rankings are based on how many people who use the Alexa toolbar visit a given site, you should download the Alexa toolbar to make sure that your visits to sites you like count. For example, you can support your favorite news sites by downloading the Alexa toolbar, and thus increasing the ranking of the sites you visit. This is not gaming the system - it is the basic premise of the system.
Note 2: There are companies which will provide accurate website metrics, such as Jupiter Communications. But they charge huge sums to do so, and only the biggest companies can afford to buy at their info.