Is China Banning Alexa?

from the might-be dept

Juan Lopez-Valcarcel writes in noticing that, according to Alexa, "Baidu online traffic dropped 50% this week." He wonders if it's a sign that the Chinese dot com bubble may be popping, but that seems unlikely. In fact, he shows that some other Chinese sites have similar drops. He even checked to see if it was due to the expected loss in traffic after Baidu removed the ability to download unauthorized music and movies -- but that's not the case either. The drop is simply too fast for that to make sense. Combined with the similar drop in (and a few other sites I checked, like, it certainly suggests that the problem has more to do with Alexa and China. It's pure speculation, obviously, but given China's tendency to block sites somewhat arbitrarily, it seems likely that China has put at least a partial ban on traffic from users of the Alexa toolbar. One more reason why Alexa stats are anything but reliable. Anyone else have any idea what else may be causing it?

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Alan Gray, Sep 14th, 2005 @ 12:49pm

    It may be back soon

    As an email ISP, we often block senders and the sites advertised in spam email. Sometimes, we get it wrong and after one or more support requests, we review and possibly remove the blocks. This may be a similar case. Alexa should investigate more to see what they can discover, but I wouldn't be worried about it unless it lasts more than a week.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Juan Lopez-Valcarcel, Sep 14th, 2005 @ 11:30pm

    Re: It may be back soon

    I have sent a note to Alexa so that we get an official interpretation of the data. However, I don't think Alexa is blocking Baidu as the chinese site is listed in By the way, the drop in traffic is now almost 66% in one week... !!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Juan Lopez-Valcarcel, Sep 16th, 2005 @ 9:20pm

    Alexa is looking into it

    I just received this email from Alexa:
    We are looking into what's going on here. It's a lot of data to plod
    through, but I'm sure we'll get to the bottom of it. We don't think,
    actually, that any of the theories in the linked articles is correct,
    but I'm sure we'll figure it out.

    Looking forward to getting an official explanation from their side. Will keep you posted.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Robert Martin, Sep 19th, 2005 @ 8:55am

    Re: Alexa is looking into it

    one rumor floated in the Yahoo Finance message board: Baidu has removed porn links from their database. Seems plausible. Consider the source, though.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Robert Martin, Sep 21st, 2005 @ 2:07am

    Re: Alexa is looking into it

    A little more on the above. Chinese govt is on an anti-porn rampage (it says here)'s search engine is reportedly saddled with a banlist of 40,000 keywords. Seems that might disturb even non-porn searches.

    news story of 8/9

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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