Vista Considers Alexa Malware?

by Bruce Stewart

Tom Keating has an interesting post today documenting his discovery that Microsoft Vista is not currently letting the Alexa toolbar pass through it's security defenses. Apparently Vista's Defender program classifies Alexa as a Trojan program and assigns a High risk level to the software. I have to agree with Tom that Alexa seems like an unusual program to treat as malware.

This does bring up a recurring question I have had about Alexa, though. Alexa data is widely cited as one of the more accurate overall traffic measurements available on the net, and I have always been skeptical of that. I don't run the Alexa toolbar on any of my browsers, nor do I know anyone who does. Am I missing something in how they get their data or why it should be considered as authoritative as it often is? I'm curious, do you use Alexa data or have the toolbar installed, or have any thoughts on how accurate the Alexa traffic data is? If so, please drop a note in the comments section, I'd love to hear from you.

10 Comments


2007-03-02 15:39:46
I am also curious about Alexa, because I've been viewing the stats on my blog lately -- and am curious how accurate it can be.


As far as Vista causing troubles for a legitimate piece of software -- I am just starting to get a bit overwhelmed by the problems this operating system is causing. (Though, funnily enough -- the one that bothers me most is iTunes. Maybe it is time to just get a Mac?)


There's some good commentary on Vista and Office 2007 on Media 3.0 -- in "Cracked Windows". Made me think more about trying Google Docs and ditching MS Office.

Bruce Stewart
2007-03-02 16:37:41
I've had it described to me like the Nielsen Ratings system for TV, where the traffic data is inferred from a relatively low percentage of actual measured participants (around 1% for Nielsen, I think). I have a hard time believing that model can work as well on something as large, varied, and tangled as the web as it can for the much more limited choices around TV-viewing.
Daily News
2007-05-21 21:49:47
I use Alexa, on my home PC and office PC. Unfortunately, I can't get it to install on a new Vista laptop. First, it couldn't install the alxTB1.dll so I changed the permissions on the system32 directory. now the DLL has loaded, but the install appears to terminate early but I can't work out what is making it fail (yet) - I'm still working on it.


Alexa stats are like Nielsen. A pitifully small number of people who use the toolbar affect the stats. So that means if you have a site that caters to a lot of people who use the toolbar, you can increase your rating above the rating it deserves.


I have seen a site that gats Alexa toolbar users to visit your site often. I tried it out and it didn't make a big difference to my rating. I think Alexa's smoothing system helps defeat that, and maybe also, they know a little bit about gaming the system and they may adjust for that - a bit like the way Google checks on fake AdSense clicks.


2007-05-31 03:11:53
I always have used and will use the alexa toolbar
I need it for my work - to compare websites ranking and traffic
now on my new laptop I have vista and it wont let me install alexa toolbar


so my option is delete vista and not use it :) I am reinstalling XP


Alexa is teh best tool around for comparing websites and all it does is sending ( anonymous ! ) your stats about what sites you visit and what pages etc


I hate software not allowing you to control what you can or cant add


so FU** vista ;)

OldCarLover
2007-06-10 06:34:29
Same problem here. Didn't want Vista on my new gaming machine, but had no choice. I HATE VISTA!!!!! Don't have the time to go throught the hell of re-installing everything under XP right now though.
Dina Srinivasan
2007-06-16 06:04:56
I can't believe this Vista not allowing Alexa toolbar: I will either install XP or switch to MAC. Problem is I bought this laptop a month ago. I am so irritated with Microsoft right now I still might ditch to MAC regardless. I have been using Google docs for months now, will never use Word again ... Dina
Its Crazy Delicious
2007-12-29 16:17:16
So how do you install it if you have vista...are they ever going to fix this...it has been like a year?
paris
2008-01-20 10:43:18
I agree. I have been using Alexa recently and believed in it's rankings. Now it seems that the stats I have been giving to my clients are not at all true. Since others are not being tracked I guess it is fair but I know alot more users and every new computer is using vista which makes me wonder,,, Users who are up to date and spend money are not being tracked and this could change how we market to them. They are basically being disregarded. I hope that vista works with alexa soon because without it it really will not be able to help in companies selling advertising or seo with alexa as one of its tools.
Roberto
2008-02-06 08:33:43
Maybe Alexa is not so accurate but in my opinion the keypoint is: does it exist another so friendly and real-time traffic measurator? At the moment the response is no, it doesn't.
James Johnson
2008-06-02 21:30:50
Alexa still doesn't work with Vista in June of 2008. Bill Gates needs to get the cocks out of his mouth by that I mean Steve Ballmer's cock and work on a fix with his team. MSFT is dying when up against Google.