Web traffic reporting site Alexa.com is one of the most recognizable names in the web ranking game. But occasionally their results have been called into question.
Recently, I was glancing over Alexa's list of "Top Sites in United States," doing some quick research, and began to agree with that sentiment. Some of the numbers just don't make sense.
Are these sites really getting that much traffic? Am I that out of touch?? Obviously, someone is visiting these sites, but I'm just not sure who.
Out of Alexa's top 100, here are 9 websites who's high rankings I can't explain. Check them out after the jump…
- Adult FriendFinder (#93)
By now, we all know our city is full of sexy singles who are waiting to chat with us. But I just don't buy that Adult FriendFinder is organically one of the top 100 websites in the U.S. Believe it or not, the "ultimate source for free sex personals, adult dating, amateurs & swingers" ranks ahead of more legitimate dating sites like eHarmony and Match.com. Screw those guys' fancy "television commercials"; All a site really needs is an excessive amount of grainy sidebar ads on every other site in the world. Because sex sells. Still, members have to pay to use Adult FriendFinder's features, which leads me to wonder why most people don't just post "Seeking 420 ski party girl" in Craigslist's Casual Encounters section like a normal sex addict.
- Official Major League Baseball (#79)
MLB.com is the 79th most popular website in America? Really?? Not that I don't think that people love baseball — it's our national pastime, supposedly — but I'm dumbfounded being that you can get baseball news and box scores on pretty much every other website in the universe. Yahoo, ESPN.com and CBS Sports all have extensive MLB coverage and rank above MLB.com according to Alexa. Are there really that many people left over who are such die-hard baseball fans they demand their info direct from the source? And speaking of dying, I'm surprised die-hard baseball fans even know the Net exists. Isn't the median age of a baseball fan someone in their early 70s?
- LiveJournal (#69)
Blogging site LiveJournal is still in the top 100 most visited websites which blows my mind. My guess is at least half of that traffic is coming from people saying, "Hey, check out how big of a whiny puss I was back in 2004." Maybe the other 50% of traffic is people who have a link on their WordPress or Blogger site that says "For blog entries prior to 2006, click here to go to my retired LiveJournal blog." But honestly, when's the last time you heard someone talk about their LiveJournal? It's not Awkward Family LiveJournals! Blogs aren't supposed to be journals anymore! They're supposed to be collections of photos or found objects that aren't quite as funny as the blogger believes they are.
- Ning (#65)
Ning allows people to create their own social networking site and host it on the Ning website — as if there aren't too many social networks already. Anyone who has ever had to update their improv troupe's Bebo page knows that social networking has become more work than it's worth. But I believe that people want to create their own social networks. What I don't believe is people want to use other people's homemade social networks. If I don't want to join your grassroots political organization that you're running out of your basement, why would I want to join the social network for your grassroots political organization that you created on a computer in your basement? Who here regularly visits a Ning social network they didn't create? I should create a social network for those weirdos.
- eHow (#47)
eHow needs an article explaining how eHow is one of the top 50 most visited web destinations. The first time I ever visited eHow was in research for this article. Typically, when I want to figure out how to do something, I consult a website that claims to be an authority on a subject, not a website that claims to be an authority on every subject. If you want a good plate of pasta, you go to an Italian restaurant, not a diner. But apparently, millions of people must disagree me. That may explain why America has so many problems. And why my neighbor's deck collapsed. Still, somehow I don't believe eHow is as popular as this report says. They aren't even the #1 search result when you searh the word "how"!
- Walmart (#45)
Walmart is the 45th most trafficked website. The inevitable next question is "Why?" First, I wasn't aware that people who regularly shop at Walmart had yet gained access to the "World Wide Web." Second, when I think Walmart, I think of a purely utilitarian shopping experience. You go, you buy, you leave. There's no dilly-dallying around in the store, and there's certainly no time searching for shopping preferences on their website. I need lightbulbs, a sweater and the new Carrie Underwood CD. And I need those things now. And I'm going to the Walmart because that's the only place in town where I can get all those things at once. And I'm not having them shipped from some fancy schmancy website because I have to drive 2 miles to my mailbox anyways! That's the Walmart I know..
- MapQuest (#42)
I loved MapQuest. I'm talking, like, "would have gotten their logo tattooed on my arm" loved. But then we entered the new millennium, and I switched to Google Maps to avoid being hunted down and murdered by the Google gestapo in their roving "attack/Street View" cars. Apparently, however, some people are sticking to their guns, but I'm not quite sure who they are. Used to be that MapQuest printouts were synonymous with a solid road trip, but I haven't seen anyone use MapQuest as their go-to map site in years. But then again, they are owned by AOL, and AOL has ways of getting you to their sites. I'm not sure how, but they have ways.
- LinkedIn (#22)
Yes, I have a LinkedIn account. No, I have never been there. Supposedly, an entire subsection of society exists where LinkedIn is an important part of their business networking and work-acquiring process. But I sure as hell haven't met any of them. There are only three ways to get a job: word of mouth, nepotism and Craigslist. Notice how LinkedIn is not on that list. My guess is the only people who have gotten jobs via LinkedIn are the people who are working for LinkedIn. Maybe they're the ones giving it all its traffic as well.
- Your Internet Providers Homepage (various)
I realize that most service providers force you to go to their homepage once you've installed their software. What I cannot believe is that so many people do not know how to change the default homepage in their browsers that these companies are in the top 100 websites. MSN, AOL, Comcast, Verizon… Look, people, you already have your Internet. You do not need to keep going back to these websites! Unless Comcast requires you to pay your bill once a day, every day, there is no reason they should be the 29th most trafficked website. Though I think some people are such slaves to their provider, they'd pay their bill daily if their company told them to!
See a website on Alexa's list who's ranking you just can't believe? Add your own suggestions for our list in the comments…