Amazon Retiring Alexa Internet
Written by Sue Gee   
Friday, 14 January 2022

Amazon has called time for Alexa.com, the resource that has ranked websites in terms of their popularity based on global web traffic for over 25 years. Will we miss it or was it really past its sell-by date?

These days when we talk of, or to, Amazon Alexa we refer to the voice assistant which has become, for better or worse, part of the domestic landscape. When we first learned its wake word we were surprised - Amazon already had an Alexa that was important to website owners by virtue of counting website visitors and providing useful demographic statistics together with performance indicators. 

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Alexa Internet was originally an independent company. It was founded in April 1996 by Brewster Kahle and Bruce Gilliat and its name was chosen in homage to the ancient Egyptian Library of Alexandria, the largest repository of knowledge in the ancient world as its founders recognized the potential of the Internet to become a similar store of knowledge. Amazon acquired Alexa Internet in 1999 and its popularity waxed and then waned.  Amazon has already stopped accepting new subscriptions and it is going to be retired at the end of April.

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Alexa used to be an important resource. As explained almost a decade ago in In Praise of Alexa, it mattered by virtue of being public:

You can look up the Alexa rank of any website and a website can't opt out of being included. A website doesn't even have to put itself forward to be included in the ranking.

Our article also pointed out the very real flaw with Alexa - namely that the way it collected information was through its toolbar which had to be installed. As people became more concerned with malware and privacy concerns a small proportion of computers had the toolbar installed and so its sampling was biased.

Since that article was published the Alexa Toolbar was discontinued, being replaced by Chrome and Firefox extensions. 

While Alexa always had a free tier the amount of information provided to webhsite owners for free was eroded and the impression was given that you could bolster your ranking by subscribing to its paid service. 

No reason has been given as to why Amazon is dropping Alexa.com but presumably it has something to do with the fact that ranking web sites isn't part of Amazon's core business model. And it could also be due that Alexa feedback reveals that its popularity has taken a hit over recent years:

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Back in 2013 our conclusion was:

Whatever the mechanism, the industry needs something like the Alexa ranking system and it needs it to work.

This is still true, but while back then there were no similar services, these days there are and they are more popular than Alexa.com.

Looking just at the sites Alexa identified as being its competitors only one has a lower Alexa Rank - backlinko.com with a rank of 4805. The most popular, semrush.com, ranks at #646, with ahref.com next at #914, followed by similarweb.com at #1389 and moz.com at #2004.

So if you think you will miss Alexa Internet it's worth looking into these alternatives.

More Information

Alexa.com

Related Articles

In Praise of Alexa

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Last Updated ( Friday, 14 January 2022 )