When it comes to public-facing web analytics, basically, they all suck. We in the press are sometimes forced to use tools like Alexa and Compete for comparison’s sake, but using either for absolute numbers is extremely flawed and basically worthless. Naturally, those companies always disagree with us when we say such things. But a new bit of information may put that disagreement to the test.
The Compete chart for Compete.com is perfect. If the chart is to be believed, Compete is in a total tailspin. According to their data, they’ve dropped from about 750K unique visitors in January 2010 to roughly 250K in December 2010. The numbers for total visits are even worse (dropping from 3.25 million to about 750K). Both have been in decline every month since March. And neither shows signs of stopping.
For all I know, these numbers are correct. But all I have to go on is what Compete is telling me. And something tells me that Complete themselves will dispute them, just like every single other site on the planet does when you use Compete numbers in a blog post.
For what it’s worth, Alexa doesn’t seem to have enough data to rank themselves. How convenient. Or sad.
Update: And here are the numbers from comScore (a much, much more reliable service) showing a similar plunge in U.S. numbers (below). But as you can see the absolute numbers are far different.
Compete helps the world’s top brands improve their marketing based on the online behavior of millions of consumers. Advertisers, agencies and publishers use Compete’s products and services to create engaging online experiences and profitable advertising campaigns. Compete is located in Boston, MA, with offices across the U.S., U.K. and France. For more information, please visit http://www.compete.com/.