PhoneBoy Reviews: Alexa
One of the tidbits I had read about in my dated copy of Boardwatch was
a program called Alexa. Alexa runs along side your web browser and provides
you additional information about the site you are currently visiting. For
example, when visiting phoneboy.com with Alexa, I find out:
There are two really neat features about Alexa: One is the ability to find
out "where to go next." Netscape 4.5 has this functionality built right
into the browser, and it's really neat. Alexa users can set up one or two-way
links between sites. It's sort of like putting up your own sign in the
forest to point out something interesting. I didn't find any such links
on my site, but I did set up a two-way link between my site and radionet.com.
In terms of traffic, rates about half of five circles, which corresponds
to being somewhere in the top 500,000 sites.
There are 90 different sites with links to me.
My site is "fast" (their definition of "fast" is faster than 50kb/s).
My content "freshness" is excellent (means it is updated frequently).
I have 134 unique pages on my site
The other, probably more useful feature of Alexa is the ability to rid
yourself of the dreaded "404 Not Found" message. The 404 error code will
often come up when you try and access a page that no longer exists. The
company that provides Alexa solves this problem by archiving the Internet
every couple months or so and stores it on tapes. Even they admit it's
a tough task, given that the average webpage will last 45 days. If you
get a 404 messsage from your web browser, check your Alexa toolbar for
the "archive" button. If you click on the button, and the page has been
archived, Alexa will pull the page from its massive tape archive. This
process can take a few minutes, but it's beats a 404 message.
Like most programs, there's a price for it: advertising. The ads are
about as small as those little icons for Netscape and ICQ on the bottom
of my main page, and they are even somewhat context-sensitive as some ads
will only appear on some sites (they may even appear as a "where to go
Last Update: 27 July 1998
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