Archive for August, 2008

Collective Wanderings 5

Friday, August 15th, 2008

Of all the great news and views from this past week

Enjoy your weekend!!

wander with us won't you?

Brian Wallace

Brian’s picks

Thought for the week; there is a lot of noise in social media. It’s also tough to stay abreast in the latest and greatest sites while keeping up in the ones you already know and enjoy. How do you keep up? More to come in a future post..

Andy’s pickAndy Beard

Thought for the week; Do you go to a party, social gathering or business event with a specific plan that gets implemented to perfection and has amazing results? If you do, you are the rare exception. Sure you might have an idea who you want to meet, but ultimately the best results come from being there, right place at the right time, and casual meetings at the drinks cabinet, food bar or outside the WC.

Tim’s picks

Thought for the week: For every action there is a reaction, it doesn’t matter if its asking for a thumbs up on StumbleUpon or a car hitting the wall it’s how we cope with reaction that determines where the chain ends

Shana’s picks

Thought for the week; Just like in a community in reality your success in a social networking community relies heavily on an even amount of give or take. Do too much of one or the other and I can guarantee that you won’t get the full effect of community.

Dave’s picks

  • Dave Harrycoming soon?

Thought for the week; Is coming soon to a browser near you!

Brendan’s picks

Thought for the week; There’s a good chance that the search industry will be much different five, three, even one year from now. Be sure to make some investments on your future by learning new software, methods, joining new social sites, playing with apps, and reading your feed reader daily. If you find your peers throwing tech slang and mentioning apps that you don’t recognize, chances are you’ve missed the boat or at least a kayak. Stay on top of your game you’ll find it can be leveraged to your benefit and that of your client’s.

Mark’s Picks

Thought for the week; It was great meeting those of you that attended Social Media Camp and the SummerMash in Miami. Wish I could have spent more time with you while there.

This week my thoughts are on introducing your real world peers to your social graph online. Look at how you are incorporating your offline friends into your online world and how it could benefit everyone. When introducing both peer groups, you may also be enriching their view of who you are, so everyone you know can enjoy parts of what you do. But you don’t really want to go this deep into thought do you, so let’s go find some friends to poke on Facebook!

Why Are Alexa Double-Dipping Social Media Penalties?

Friday, August 8th, 2008

Alexa Graph

Earlier this year Alexa shook things up a little, applying some kind of penalty or reduced modifier to websites with a traditionally higher percentage of Alexa toolbar users than average, predominately technology and webmaster focused sites who found the Alexa data useful, or who actively evangelised Alexa toolbar use as it is often a major factor in gauging traffic for advertising.
Some of the 3rd party tools offering Alexa data also provide other useful features, especially for webmasters with toolbars such as Search Status for Firefox.

Some level of rebalance was probably fair, to try to address the concerns of sites with high traffic but with a much lower frequency of Alexa toolbar users, who often felt they were at a disadvantage, especially in advertising sales.

During the last month Alexa has introduced another round of filtering or penalties, reducing or wiping out the effect of traffic from Social Media and Social News sites such as Digg and Stumbleupon, but potentially other sites such as Twitter or popular feed readers.
I haven’t done enough granular research to come up with a final list of likely candidates.

This is something potentially valuable to advertisers, as huge traffic spikes are possible from the largest social sites that can lead to an imbalance in their trend data, especially for the most recent 3 month period that appears in their toolbar by default.

I actually welcome this change, although I would much prefer to have both sets of data available, thus allowing Alexa to also provide a 3rd, possibly unique measure of the most “socially influenced” sites.

Unfortunately they seem to have made an error in their calculations, reported by both Performancing and more recently Daily Blog Tips (lots of head to head comparrisons), which is interesting to explore in more detail.

Double Dipping Penalties

If there was a 75% penalty for webmasters, or their toolbar multiplication factor was 75% less you currently have something like this:-


Say there were 60 visitors to a site using the toolbar (maybe from 500 -1000 total visitors), and 100 visitors were from social media (10-20%)

((60*10)/4)-100 = 50 visitors being counted

Note: It would only take 25% of traffic to come from social media for the resulting traffic to equal to zero

What it should be is something more like:-


/3 rather than 4 because webmasters might more frequent social media users as well, though penetration of both toolbars might be even higher.

((60 *10)-100)/4 = 125 visitors being counted

These are only examples of how the math might work and are not real world figures – I am sure Alexa are using much more complex calculations, but I am equally sure they are making some serious mistakes that can make a site receiving 500+ unique visitors per day appear to have way less than 100, or a site receiving 10,000 appear to have the equivalent of 1000 visitors or less.
This is something that affects all sites, but disproportionately affects sites (technology and webmaster) with a higher percentage of Alexa toolbar users, that had them rebalanced earlier this year.

Here are some examples of popular webmaster related sites that this double-dipping penalty have had a drastic effect on currently with a 1 week average of over 174K currently with a 1 week average of over 200K
ReadWriteWeb for 5th August one day stats was an Alexa rating of 90,000
Search Engine Land for 5th August one day stats was 83,000 with a one week average of 86K

The double-dipping penalty also hasn’t left the social sites themselves unscathed, with Digg and Reddit for some strange reason showing noticable declines, but Mixx continuing to gain. Maybe internal referrals from subdomains offer a benefit.

Then there is Tech industry favorite Techmeme, which is quite capable of sending 1000s of visitors to other sites on a daily basis, real referral traffic, but for some reason has a weekly average of 137,000 itself.

Daniel on DBT went into a lot more examples as mentioned earlier, including comparing traffic where he knows the real stats.

It is hard to tell how this might have affected larger sites, as relative traffic levels might be looked on as seasonal averages, and a drop from 2K Alexa to 4K Alexa might be just par for the course.

So far there is no official mention of any changes on the Alexa blog.

Whether my equation is correct doesn’t actually matter, it is clear that many sites (but not all) within the technology and webmaster niches were hit.
The most infuriating part isn’t the penalties and calculation mistakes themselves, however they are done, but how Alexa, owned by Amazon, could make such as huge and obvious mistake.

Could this be deliberate, and if so why?

Collective Wanderings for August 1st 2008

Friday, August 1st, 2008

Of all the great news and views from this past week, by far our favorite is the announcement of Brendan Picha (from Squareoak) joining the Collective Thoughts team (welcome aboard Brendan)… Beyond that we have funnies, tri-dimensional conversations and hyper-connectivity to keep the head spinning and the belly aching. Also new this week is Tim’s idea that we each pass along some thoughts for the week… we hope they find you well.

Enjoy your weekend!!

wander with us won't you?

Brian Wallace

Brian’s picks

Thought for the week; It’s always amusing to see the criticism of social media. Funny thing is, it usually comes from people that proudly display a few flashy badges that link to their social accounts. Upon further inspection, the critics are barely using social media.

Tim’s picks

Thought for the week: Social Media is much like my leaky roofer, great when it’s sunny but totally useless in the rain…

Shana’s picks

Thought for the week; Social Media can be very confusing and even intimidating for the Webmaster or Small Business Owner new to Web 2.0. My suggestion would be to start with one Social Networking site/activity and start to know the community. Once you have done that you will be amazed how helpful the Community will be.

Dave’s picks

Thought for the week; I wanted to pass on the words of Chuang Tzu –

The purpose of a fish trap is to catch fish, and when the fish are caught, the trap is forgotten.
The purpose of a rabbit snare is to catch rabbits. When the rabbits are caught, the snare is forgotten.
The purpose of words is to convey ideas. When the ideas are grasped, the words are forgotten.
Where can I find a man who has forgotten words? He is the one I would like to talk to.

Brendan’s picks

Thought for the week; It’s really, really easy to get caught-up in routine. Many end-up reading the same blogs, talking with the same people, watching the same news channels. From a creative and educational standpoint it’s very important to make breaking your routine a routine in and of itself. Try making unusual connections like how understanding the dynamics of an ant colony can help you understand social voting or if economic trends augment social behavior online. Inspiration for such thinking can come from reading a book you’d never pick up, watching a documentary you wouldn’t normally watch, or attending a lecture you’d never attend. Routine can have the ability to suck the life right out of you so make sure you get out there and embrace the unknown!

Mark’s Picks

Thought for the week; Expanding your social graph to include peers you would not normally meet in an offline world may offer pleasant results. I have expanded my networking from social connections made online to solidifying offline at various MeetUps and conferences. If you are in the Miami area this weekend I will be attending both Social Media Camp and the Mashable party.

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About Us

Welcome to the new wisdom of crowds. Each member of Collective Thoughts is here because not only are they a known or rising star in their own field, but they also have a passion and unique understanding on social media. Together, we make up Collective Thoughts. More

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