Alexa Grapher

Many people look at to see how the Alexa traffic rank of a site of interest is faring (usually not well — there are always more websites, so even maintaining ordinal rank is an uphill battle). People who don’t twiddle URLs out of habit probably don’t realize that Alexa can be asked to graph data back to late 2001 or that graphs may be arbitarily sized.

I’d been meaning to put together an Alexa graph generating utility for months (well, one more accessible than URL editing, which I’ve always used, e.g., the graphs at the bottom of a post on blog search) and I finally got started last night.

Funny thing then that I read via Brad Neuberg that Joe Walker just published an “Ajax” Alexa grapher, so I guess I’ll just publish my own ultra-crufty Alexa grapher rather than cleaning it up first. I’m not sure what is Ajaxian about Walker’s (haven’t looked), but mine doesn’t qualify, I think — it is just plain old javascript, with the graph updated by setting innerHTML. No Async XML communication with a server.

I was going to write up a bunch of caveats about how Alexa graphs should be interpreted, but in the interest of completing this post, I’ll just point out one oddity I discovered — the url parameter of Alexa’s traffic detail page (click on the graph on my Alexa grapher to get to such a page) must be the last querystring parameter, otherwise every parameter after it gets interpreted as being part of the url parameter. Some kind of odd URL parsing going on there at Alexa. (Nevermind that they really want a domain name, not a URL, for that parameter.)

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