I Programmer's Alexa Toolbar
I Programmer's Alexa Toolbar
Written by Stone Tapes   
Monday, 14 May 2012

Alexa has a new toolbar creator and you can now download the I Programmer Alexa toolbar so that you can keep track of our new articles. However, not everyone likes toolbars.

Toolbars and browser addins - don't you just hate them? It's a bit like cookies - harmless state variables until the idea of accepting a cookie from a stranger took over the collective conscious. Addins and toolbars are also either devices designed to crash your browser or something to spy on you.

The Alexa toolbar spies on you and makes no attempt to hide this. It records the websites you visit, anonymously of course, so that it can build a picture of traffic flows on the web. It is shocking that in this day of big data there is no single definitive overview of website popularity - except of course from the very flawed Alexa system. Other methods of measuring traffic generally require sites to opt in and even pay for the privilege.

All you have to do to contribute your browsing habits to Alexa is to install either the standard Alexa toolbar or one of the customized toolbars, such as I Programmer's Toolbar.




You may ask why have we waited so long to create an Alexa toolbar and to explain why you should use it? The reason is that the future of Alexa has seemed a bit uncertain for the past few years with rumours that Amazon was about to shut its experiment in web analytics. But there are signs of new life at Alexa. The toolbar now works on the three modern browsers - IE9, Chrome and Firefox and there are other signs of renewal over on the Alexa site. So now seems like a good time to raise the issue of donating your browsing habits so that we can have some sort of public web metrics.

This is not a perfect solution. The set of users who install the Alexa toolbar, and so contribute to the data, is biased. The statistics are therefore relatively easy to spoof. Alexa doesn't provide all of the data gathered unless you subscribe to a premium service. However, all but the last flaw can be made better by more people using the Alexa toolbar and what stats are made available are enough for us to gain a reasonable grasp of where a website sits in the grand scheme of things.



If you believe in big data and measurement, it is possibly your duty to install the Alexa toolbar. On the other hand you may not want your browsing habits to skew the data!

More Information


Alexa Toolbar Creator

I Programmer's Toolbar

Related Articles

In Praise of Alexa






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Last Updated ( Monday, 14 May 2012 )

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