Answer: Yes

I asked the question in my last post, “Will Compete’s toolbar become an essential tool for internet marketers.” After 15 minutes with the tool, and after watching the excellent Flash presentation about what this service aims to do, I answer with a resounding, “Yes!”

My favorite slide in the Flash presentation was this:

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I checked out the one year history on several of my companies and several other sites; at first glance, the traffic data seems quite reliable. For example, here is the trend data for three popular genealogy sites.

15 minutes isn’t enough to integrate something into my daily workflow. But it is enough time for me to decide that I’m going to start using it every day so I can see if it sticks.

Based on what I’ve seen so far, I am inviting all the internet marketers that I know to try Connect’s Toolbar, look at their traffic data, and post comments about whether you think this will replace Alexa, first, and also, how disruptive this new service will be to Hitwise, Comscore, and Netratings.

4 Comments

  1. David

    Monthly data is just too course. I don’t think daily is a good measure either, but if they could provide weekly data they will quickly become the best free provider. A couple of ideas for them…
    1. Integrate this with google maps so there is a way to get data about location as well as hits.
    2. Allow user filters on their basic information like salary, gender, or other basic demographic features.
    3. Improve the integration with Firefox. They need to make it so you can quickly get the data without having to visit their website. If they made it like the Alexa Rank plugin on Firefox they would have a lot more success.

  2. Like the google toolbar, it’s ubiquitous stuffware IMHO. I just want a link to its snapshot feature, and not constant reminders that I haven’t paid hundreds of dollars to have my site put on the trusted or deals list. In the end, 25% of my screen is covered with toolbars (3), browser tabs, etc. I wish we could auto-hide these, or find a toolbar that was teeny and useful instead of a constant upsell. Someone make a toolbar that just says Google PageRank, Alexa Rank, compete rank, and maybe drop downs next to each of those. (But that’s impossible since all of the above are hyper-proprietary.)

  3. Paul,

    You might be interested in a little study an SEO company did about how external traffic data such as Alexa and Compete Rank measure up to actual traffic data taken from internal analytics.

    Their blog post about it is here

    I did my own analysis of the data and found out that the metrics which most highly correlated to actual traffic data was Technorati Links, which is ironic because it isn’t even an attempt to measure traffic as most of the other metrics considered were. I blogged my response here

    Their sample was pretty small so I don’t know if we can come away with any solid conclusions but it was interesting.

  4. Dave Bascom

    It’s way too easy to manipulate toolbar-based services like Alexa. For legitimately high traffic sites it can be interesting and give at least a rough estimate of relative traffic levels, but way too many people (especially naive, new online marketers) put way too much stock in the Alexa numbers. And don’t even get me started on Google Pagerank. Who cares what your pagerank is? Are you getting sales from your website or not? What can you do to get more? A better Alexa, Google, Compete, Comscore, whatever number is not going to help your bottom line. Marketers need to focus on improving the numbers that really matter.

    That being said, I hope this new toolbar proves to be a more accurate tool for scoping out the competition. If nothing else, it’s another arrow in the quiver for competitive analysis.

    If you haven’t checked out the SEOmoz blog post that Chris included in his comment, it’s worth a read. It offers some very good info about the relative accracy of different web traffic estimation tactics. Granted it is a very small sample, as Chris mentioned, but it’s cool to see how each method compares.

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