GCN Tech Blog

By GCN Staff

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Friday afternoon fun with Alexa

While we never actually have much downtime here at GCN Tech Blog Central, during slower moments we do like playing with the Alexa, a Web-based service that profiles user traffic for Web sites.

Alexa keeps tabs on how much sites are visited over the months and years, as well as where those visitors come from.

Like any third-party measurement of Web traffic, it definitely has limitations in the scientific rigor of its methodology. But the traffic snapshots do provide some rough outlines that can be worth pondering.

For instance, NASA gets much more traffic than DHS.

Could this be that DHS's online literature about terrorism and safety is not as exciting as Nasa's space exploration? Maybe NASA's photos and videos are more compelling?

Or perhaps that people just aren't as interested in terrorism. Indeed, the public's interest for national security has ebbed a bit in the last few years.

Guess which times during the year the Internal Revenue Service gets the most traffic?

Can you see when the General Services Administration switched its government search site from firstgov.gov to usa.gov?

The House of Representatives tends to get a bit more traffic, overall, then the Senate, though both get slightly less than the White House.

When it comes to matters of research, the National Science Foundation gets more Web love than the Defense Advanced Projects Agency, except, seemingly, when DARPA's Grand Challenge takes place.

We welcome our new robotic overloads.

Also, in the fine tradition of ego-surfing, we couldn't help but to run GCN.com through Alexa. We did found it interesting that the survey indicates that almost six percent of our site's visitors reside in India!

If this is actually the case, then we say hello to our IT comrades across the sea. Our own internal traffic analysis, however, suggests Alexa's estimate is way too high. Our own logs show that less than two percent of our traffic comes from India, which just goes to show you that you should take Alexa with a pretty big grain of salt.

Still, fiddling with Alexa is not exactly rocket surgery (a phrase one rock star once mumbled about some other easy task). So, what tidbits can you find?

Posted by Joab Jackson on Nov 09, 2007 at 9:39 AM


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