Alexa Internet

Last updated

Alexa Internet, Inc.
Alexa Internet logo.svg
Screenshots of Alexa internet.PNG
Alexa homepage after May 1, 2022
Type of site
Web traffic and ranking
Available inEnglish
Headquarters San Francisco, California, United States
Owner Amazon
Created by Brewster Kahle, Bruce Gilliat
PresidentAndrew Ramm [1]
Key peopleAndrew Ramm (president and GM)
Dave Sherfese (vice president) [1]
Industry Web traffic
Products Alexa Web Search (discontinued 2008)
Alexa toolbar
LaunchedApril 1, 1996;26 years ago (1996-04-01) [2]
Current statusDiscontinued (as of May 1, 2022;10 months ago (2022-05-01))

Alexa Internet, Inc. was an American web traffic analysis company based in San Francisco. It was a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amazon.


Alexa was founded as an independent company in 1996 and acquired by Amazon in 1999 for $250 million in stock. Alexa provided web traffic data, global rankings, and other information on over 30 million websites. [3] Alexa estimated website traffic based on a sample of millions of Internet users using browser extensions, as well as from sites that had chosen to install an Alexa script. [4]  As of 2020, its website was visited by over 400 million people every month.[ citation needed ]

In December 2021, Amazon announced that it would be shutting down its Alexa Internet subsidiary. The service was then discontinued on May 1, 2022. [5] [6]

Operations and history


Alexa Internet was founded in April 1996 by Brewster Kahle and Bruce Gilliat. [7] The company's name was chosen in homage to the Library of Alexandria of Ptolemaic Egypt, drawing a parallel between the largest repository of knowledge in the ancient world and the potential of the Internet to become a similar store of knowledge. [8] Alexa initially offered a toolbar that gave Internet users suggestions on where to go next, based on the traffic patterns of its user community. The company also offered context for each site visited: to whom it was registered, how many pages it had, how many other sites pointed to it, and how frequently it was updated. [9]

Alexa's operations grew to include archiving of web pages as they are "crawled" and examined by an automated computer program (nicknamed a "bot" or "web crawler"). This database served as the basis for the creation of the Internet Archive accessible through the Wayback Machine. [10] In 1998, the company donated a copy of the archive, two terabytes in size, to the Library of Congress. [8] Alexa continued to supply the Internet Archive with Web crawls. In 1999, as the company moved away from its original vision of providing an "intelligent" search engine, Alexa was acquired by for approximately US$250 million in Amazon stock. [11]


Alexa began a partnership with Google in early 2002, and with the web directory DMOZ in January 2003. [12] In December 2005, Alexa opened its extensive search index and Web-crawling facilities to third-party programs through a comprehensive set of Web services and APIs. These could be used, for instance, to construct vertical search engines that could run on Alexa's servers or elsewhere. In May 2006, Google was replaced with Windows Live Search as a provider of search results. [13] In December 2006, Amazon released Alexa Image Search. Built in-house, it was the first major application built on the company's Web platform. In May 2007, Alexa changed their API to limit comparisons to three websites, reduce the size of embedded graphs in Flash, and add mandatory embedded BritePic advertisements.

In April 2007, the company filed a lawsuit, Alexa v. Hornbaker, to stop trademark infringement by the Statsaholic service. [14] In the lawsuit, Alexa alleged that Ron Hornbaker was stealing traffic graphs for profit, and that the primary purpose of his site was to display graphs that were generated by Alexa's servers. [15] Hornbaker removed the term Alexa from his service name on March 19, 2007. [16] On November 27, 2008, Amazon announced that Alexa Web Search was no longer accepting new customers, and that the service would be deprecated or discontinued for existing customers on January 26, 2009. [17] Thereafter, Alexa became a purely analytics-focused company.

On March 31, 2009, Alexa revealed a major website redesign. The redesigned site provided new web traffic metrics—including average page views per individual user, bounce rate (the rate of users who come to, and then leave a webpage), and user time on website. [18] In the following weeks, Alexa added more features, including visitor demographics, clickstream and web search traffic statistics. [19]


During this period, Alexa had been evolving along with their algorithm. Statistics projection and the use of their technology associated with a large network of certificated websites allowed them to keep ahead of the website traffic metrics around the world. Because of this, many large sites were using it as the main reference of popularity on the internet.

End of service

On Wednesday, December 8, 2021, Amazon announced the cessation of its website ranking and competitive analysis service, which has been available to the public for more than 25 years. On that, it became no longer possible to create accounts or buy subscriptions on the service. The statement first published on its website specifies the total cessation of the service as of May 1, 2022. Existing subscriptions would be available until May 1, 2022, UTC, after which everything on the site was removed and replaced with an "End of Service Notice". [5] [6] [20]

Alexa Traffic Rank

A key metric published from Alexa Internet analytics was the Alexa Traffic Rank, also simply known as Alexa Rank. It was also referred to as Global Rank by Alexa Internet and was designed to be an estimate of a website's popularity. As of May 2018, Alexa Internet's tooltip for Global Rank said the rank is calculated from a combination of daily visitors and page views on a website over a three-month period. [21]

The Alexa Traffic Rank could be used to monitor the popularity trend of a website and compare the popularity of different websites. [22]

The traffic rank used to be determined from data recollected from users that had the Alexa toolbar installed on their browser. As of 2020, Alexa did not use a toolbar; instead, it used data from users that had installed any of a number of browser extensions and from websites that had the Alexa script installed on their webpages. [23] [24]


Browser extensions

Alexa replaced their toolbar with browser extensions. These extensions were made available for Google Chrome and Firefox browsers. The Alexa browser extension displayed the Alexa Traffic Rank for websites, showed related websites, provided search analytics, and quickly allowed users to view the Internet Archive through the Wayback Machine. [25] They were last updated in May 2020, two years prior to the service's closure.


Alexa used to rank sites based primarily on tracking a sample set of Internet traffic—users of its browser toolbar for the Internet Explorer, Firefox and Google Chrome web browsers. [26] [27] The Alexa Toolbar included a popup blocker (which stops unwanted ads), a search box, links to and the Alexa homepage, and the Alexa ranking of the website that the user is visiting. It also allowed the user to rate the website and view links to external, relevant websites. In early 2005, Alexa stated that there had been 10 million downloads of the toolbar, though the company did not provide statistics about active usage. Originally, web pages were only ranked amongst users who had the Alexa Toolbar installed, and could be biased if a specific audience subgroup was reluctant to take part in the rankings. This caused some controversies over how representative Alexa's user base was of typical Internet behavior, [28] especially for less-visited sites. [27] In 2007, Michael Arrington provided examples of Alexa rankings known to contradict data from the comScore web analytics service, including ranking YouTube ahead of Google. [29] In 2021 John Mueller from Google confirmed again that Google doesn't use Amazon Alexa Rank. [30]

Search Status

Until 2007, a third-party-supplied Mozilla plug-in called Search Status for the Firefox browser [31] served as the only option for Firefox users after Amazon abandoned its A9 toolbar. [32] On July 16, 2007, Alexa released an official toolbar for Firefox called Sparky. [33] On 16 April 2008, many users reported drastic shifts in their Alexa rankings. Alexa confirmed this later in the day with an announcement that they had released an updated ranking system, claiming that they would now take into account more sources of data "beyond Alexa Toolbar users". [34] [35]

Certified statistics

Using the Alexa Pro service, website owners could sign up for "certified statistics", which allowed Alexa more access to a website's traffic data. [36] Site owners input JavaScript code on each page of their website that, if permitted by the user's security and privacy settings, ran and sent traffic data to Alexa, allowing Alexa to display—or not display, depending on the owner's preference—more accurate statistics such as total page views and unique page views.

Privacy assessments

Alexa last detailed their privacy notice in July 2020 as part of their Website Terms of Use and End User License Agreement. [37]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">HTTPS</span> Extension of the HTTP communications protocol to support TLS encryption

Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is an extension of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). It uses encryption for secure communication over a computer network, and is widely used on the Internet. In HTTPS, the communication protocol is encrypted using Transport Layer Security (TLS) or, formerly, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). The protocol is therefore also referred to as HTTP over TLS, or HTTP over SSL.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Web browser</span> Software used to navigate the internet

A web browser is an application for accessing websites. When a user requests a web page from a particular website, the browser retrieves its files from a web server and then displays the page on the user's screen. Browsers are used on a range of devices, including desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. In 2020, an estimated 4.9 billion people have used a browser. The most used browser is Google Chrome, with a 65% global market share on all devices, followed by Safari with 18%.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Firefox</span> Free and open-source web browser by Mozilla

Mozilla Firefox, or simply Firefox, is a free and open-source web browser developed by the Mozilla Foundation and its subsidiary, the Mozilla Corporation. It uses the Gecko rendering engine to display web pages, which implements current and anticipated web standards. In November 2017, Firefox began incorporating new technology under the code name "Quantum" to promote parallelism and a more intuitive user interface. Firefox is available for Windows 7 and later versions, macOS, and Linux. Its unofficial ports are available for various Unix and Unix-like operating systems, including FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, illumos, and Solaris Unix. It is also available for Android and iOS. However, as with all other iOS web browsers, the iOS version uses the WebKit layout engine instead of Gecko due to platform requirements. An optimized version is also available on the Amazon Fire TV as one of the two main browsers available with Amazon's Silk Browser.

Google Toolbar was a web browser toolbar for Internet Explorer, developed by Google. It was first released in 2000 for Internet Explorer 5. Google Toolbar was also distributed as a Mozilla plug-in for Firefox from September 2005 to June 2011. On December 12, 2021, the software was no longer available for download, and the website now redirects to a support page.

Netcraft is an Internet services company based in Bath, Somerset, England. The company provides cybercrime disruption services across a range of industries.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Browser Helper Object</span> Plug-in module for Internet Explorer

A Browser Helper Object (BHO) is a DLL module designed as a plugin for the Microsoft Internet Explorer web browser to provide added functionality. BHOs were introduced in October 1997 with the release of version 4 of Internet Explorer. Most BHOs are loaded once by each new instance of Internet Explorer. However, in the case of Windows Explorer, a new instance is launched for each window.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">AVG AntiVirus</span> Antivirus computer program

AVG AntiVirus is a line of antivirus software developed by AVG Technologies, a subsidiary of Avast, a part of Gen Digital. It is available for Windows, macOS and Android.

Mozilla Firefox has features that allow it to be distinguished from other web browsers, such as Chrome and Internet Explorer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Usage share of web browsers</span> Relative market adoption of web browsers

The usage share of web browsers is the portion, often expressed as a percentage, of visitors to a group of web sites that use a particular web browser.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Google Analytics</span> Web analytics service from Google

Google Analytics is a web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic, currently as a platform inside the Google Marketing Platform brand. Google launched the service in November 2005 after acquiring Urchin.

NoScript is a free software extension for Mozilla Firefox, SeaMonkey, other Mozilla-based web browsers and Google Chrome, written and maintained by Giorgio Maone, an Italian software developer and member of the Mozilla Security Group.

A browser toolbar is a toolbar that resides within a browser's window. All major web browsers provide support to browser toolbar development as a way to extend the browser's GUI and functionality. Browser toolbars are considered to be a particular kind of browser extensions that present a toolbar. Browser toolbars are specific to each browser, which means that a toolbar working on a browser does not work on another one. All browser toolbars must be installed in the corresponding browser before they can be used and require updates when new versions are released.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Yahoo! Toolbar</span>

Yahoo! Toolbar is a browser plugin. It is available for Internet Explorer, Firefox and Google Chrome browsers. was a web traffic analysis service. The company was founded in 2000 and ceased operations in December 2016.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Private browsing</span> Privacy feature in some web browsers

Private browsing is a privacy feature in some web browsers. When operating in such a mode, the browser creates a temporary session that is isolated from the browser's main session and user data. Browsing history is not saved, and local data associated with the session, such as Cookies, Web cache, are cleared when the session is closed. These modes are designed primarily to prevent data and history associated with a particular browsing session from persisting on the device, or being discovered by another user of the same device.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Norton Safe Web</span> Software service by Symantec Corporation

Norton Safe Web is a service developed by Symantec Corporation that is designed to help users identify malicious websites. Safe Web delivers information about websites based on automated analysis and user feedback.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">DuckDuckGo</span> Internet search engine

DuckDuckGo (DDG) is an internet search engine that emphasizes protecting searchers' privacy and avoiding the filter bubble of personalized search results. DuckDuckGo does not show search results from content farms. It uses various APIs of other websites to show quick results to queries and for traditional links it uses the help of its partners and its own crawler. Because of its anonymity, it is impossible to know how many people use DuckDuckGo.

Google Sidewiki was a web annotation tool from Google, launched in September 2009 and discontinued in December 2011. Sidewiki was a browser extension that allowed anyone logged into a Google Account to make and view comments about a given website in a sidebar. Despite the name, the tool was not a collaborative wiki, though the comments were editable by the author.

SimilarWeb Ltd. is an Israeli web analytics company specializing in web traffic and performance. Headquartered in Tel Aviv, the company has 12 offices worldwide. Similarweb went public on the New York Stock Exchange in May 2021.

A number of metrics are available to marketers interested in search engine optimization. Search engines and software creating such metrics all use their own crawled data to derive at a numeric conclusion on a website's organic search potential. Since these metrics can be manipulated, they can never be completely reliable for accurate and truthful results.


  1. 1 2 "Management". Alexa Internet. Archived from the original on September 12, 2019. Retrieved December 24, 2014.
  2. "About Alexa Internet". Archived from the original on October 7, 2009. Retrieved October 9, 2009.
  3. "About". Alexa. Archived from the original on October 7, 2009. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  4. "Alexa - Alexa Internet - About Us". Archived from the original on May 1, 2022. Retrieved July 17, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  5. 1 2 "Amazon closing down Alexa, the popular web traffic ranking site". The Daily Star. December 9, 2021. Archived from the original on December 9, 2021. Retrieved December 9, 2021.
  6. 1 2 "We will be retiring on May 1, 2022". Archived from the original on January 2, 2022. Retrieved December 9, 2021.
  7. "ALEXA Internet Donates Archive of the World Wide Web To Library of Congress". Alexa press release. October 13, 1998. Archived from the original on October 13, 2009. Retrieved October 9, 2009.
  8. 1 2 "A "Gift of the Web" for the Library of Congress from Alexa Internet". October 19, 1998. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  9. Keith Dawson (July 28, 1997). "Alexa Internet opens the doors". Archived from the original on April 20, 2013. Retrieved October 9, 2009.
  10. "Internet Archive FAQs". Archived from the original on October 21, 2009. Retrieved October 9, 2009.
  11. Adam Feuerstein (May 21, 1999). "E-commerce loves Street: Critical Path plans encore". San Francisco Business Times . Archived from the original on June 30, 2015. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  12. "About Alexa Internet". Archived from the original on October 7, 2009. Retrieved October 9, 2009.
  13. Elizabeth Montalbano (May 1, 2006). "Amazon dumps Google for Windows Live". Infoworld. Archived from the original on February 17, 2013. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
  14. "Northern California District Federal court Case number — C 07-01715 RS" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on April 22, 2007. Retrieved April 19, 2007.
  15. Alan Graham (April 18, 2007). "Amazon sues Alexaholic...everyone loses!". ZDnet. Archived from the original on August 5, 2020. Retrieved March 14, 2016.
  16. Pete Cashmore (April 19, 2007). "Amazon sues Statsaholifghkhc...Web as Platform is Bullsh*t". Mashable. Archived from the original on March 22, 2020. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  17. John Cook (November 27, 2008). "Amazon pulling plug on Alexa Web Search". Archived from the original on December 3, 2008. Retrieved November 27, 2008.
  18. Geoffrey Mack (March 31, 2009). "Pardon our dust". Alexa Internet. Archived from the original on April 4, 2009. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
  19. Geoffrey Mack (April 14, 2009). "More New Alexa Features: Demographics, Clickstream, Search Traffic". Archived from the original on April 17, 2009. Retrieved October 9, 2009.
  20. "End of Service Notice". May 2, 2022. Archived from the original on May 2, 2022. Retrieved May 4, 2022.
  21. " Traffic Statistics". Alexa Internet. Global Rank. Archived from the original on May 9, 2018. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  22. Fulham, Liz (May 10, 2018). "How & Why to Improve Your Alexa Ranking". Sales@Optimize. Archived from the original on November 16, 2017.
  23. "Alexa - Alexa Internet - About Us". Archived from the original on October 26, 2020. Retrieved March 30, 2020.
  24. Yesbeck, Jennifer (October 1, 2014). "Alexa Increases its Global Traffic Panel". Alexa Blog. Archived from the original on July 6, 2020. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  25. "The Alexa Browser Extension". Archived from the original on January 3, 2022. Retrieved September 18, 2020.
  26. "Technology: How and Why We Crawl the Web". Alexa. Archived from the original on April 2, 2014. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
  27. 1 2 Harold Davis (2006). Google Advertising Tools: Cashing in with AdSense, Adwords, and the Google APIs . O'Reilly Media. p.  12. ISBN   978-0-596-10108-4.
  28. Alistair Croll; Seán Power (2009). Complete Web Monitoring: Watching Your Visitors, Performance, Communities, and Competitors . O'Reilly Media. p.  38. ISBN   978-0-596-15513-1.
  29. Michael Arrington. "Alexa's Make Believe Internet"; "Alexa Says YouTube Is Now Bigger Than Google. Alexa Is Useless". TechCrunch. 2007. Retrieved June 21, 2013.
  30. Murari, Krishna. "Google Do Not Use Domain Authority And Alexa Rank | The Seo Today" . Retrieved July 13, 2022.
  31. "SearchStatus: A Search Extension for Firefox and SeaMonkey". Archived from the original on June 27, 2013.
  32. Home Archived June 8, 2008, at the Wayback Machine . Retrieved June 24, 2013.
  33. "Sparky Add-on for Firefox Released Today" Archived July 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine . Alexa Blog. July 16, 2007. Retrieved June 24, 2013.
  34. "Alexa Announcement". Alexa. Archived from the original on April 24, 2008. Retrieved September 22, 2012.
  35. "Alexa Overhauls Ranking System". TechCrunch. April 16, 2008. Retrieved December 1, 2012.
  36. "Alexa Pro for Digital Marketers". Alexa. Archived from the original on December 30, 2014. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  37. "Alexa - Alexa Internet - Privacy Notice". Archived from the original on September 18, 2020. Retrieved September 18, 2020.