April 29, 2002
11:10 AM   Subscribe

Alexa, the internet depository that lead to things like the wayback machine was acquired by Amazon some time ago. A new service, Alexa Web Search joins the power of Alexa's archive with Amazon's proven interface and feature set with Google's killer-app level searching power. The results are fairly impressive, adding a related sites layer that may actually help folks browsing the web (as opposed to direct searching). [via anil]
posted by mathowie (28 comments total)
It's nice to see it offers weblogs.com in a sidebox for weblog searches, and the related sites are really good.

On the downside, I now know why I'm getting 10x the spam these days, thanks to my email address sitting there in plain sight. Also potentially problematic will be the reviews, as you can see from the metafilter reviews (people either love it or hate it, the extremes are more likely to post reviews, etc).
posted by mathowie at 11:17 AM on April 29, 2002

I think it's scary - it's a little weird to see personal sites contained in the amazon frame.

Right now, all the Wayback Machine links are pointing to a porn site for me; I'm not sure if it's a routing issue.

The reviews need to be quality checked, and the WHOIS information needs to be optional. I'm almost glad my information is woefully out of date; while it isn't hard to do a whois search, this takes out that extra little step. Now everyone knows my non-existant, old cell phone number and former place of employment. Swell!
posted by hijinx at 11:20 AM on April 29, 2002

The contact info must come from an old copy of the NetSol (VeriSign) database, since what they have up for my sites is outdated, from over a year ago before I switched registrars.
posted by nstop at 11:25 AM on April 29, 2002

so that's where all the spam spiders are getting my un-obscured email address...
posted by machaus at 11:32 AM on April 29, 2002

ouch @ reviews
posted by adnanbwp at 11:34 AM on April 29, 2002

I see my review is still there. The encounter groups are really help though. See you all again next Thursday night.
posted by feelinglistless at 11:37 AM on April 29, 2002

Ugh. Can't wait to get reviewed. This thing could so turn into a weblogger slam-book. Can't wait also for someone to call me up and do some good old-fashioned heavy breathing---yay for stalking made easy!

But it could be worse. I live in fear that one day the Wayback Machine will be keyword searchable---I thought that's what this was, at first.
posted by Sapphireblue at 11:45 AM on April 29, 2002

Hey, I suspect if we all try we can get that review average up in the 4½ star range pretty darn quickly.
posted by pardonyou? at 11:49 AM on April 29, 2002

one day the Wayback Machine will be keyword searchable

yeah, i've been waiting for them to do that! btw, i think blogdex should do that, too :)
posted by kliuless at 11:55 AM on April 29, 2002

Ugh. I think that open, public reviews for personal sites will open an ugly can of worms.
posted by mkn at 12:07 PM on April 29, 2002

Can we make "Pus**footing Lefty Pansies" a tagline? Please? Pretty please?
posted by ook at 12:22 PM on April 29, 2002

I think that open, public reviews for personal sites will open an ugly can of worms.

That was my first reaction too. If someone wants to review another's personal website, let them do it on their own webspace, where it is less likely to be anonymous (and therefore less likely to be unnecessarily mean). I do like the concept of a central website information service, though..
posted by jess at 12:27 PM on April 29, 2002

Umm, Amazon has been offering open, public reviews of books for years, and while the occasional rant or angry flame can be found among them, it has seemingly worked rather well.

I can't imagine site authors should be any more privileged than book authors. I'm all for this advancement, as it furthers free speech and helps put a site into a Web-relevant context. Very interesting indeed.
posted by yarf at 12:33 PM on April 29, 2002

So, according to Ad-aware, Alexa stashed some spyware in with Internet Explorer. Is this the fruit of that labor?
posted by crunchland at 12:46 PM on April 29, 2002

Crunchy, I discovered the same thing. I wonder if it's really spy-ware, or if Ad-Aware just tags everything from alexa? Any ideas?
posted by monju_bosatsu at 1:02 PM on April 29, 2002

Alexa is built into IE (I think from about 5.5 onward) for Win32. It's what powers the "show related links" option in your "tools" menu drop-down. As far as I can tell however, there's no tracking inherent in that baked-in bit - but there is some tracking built into the Alexa Toolbar that you can download and install on your own. But I haven't done any packet monitoring, so I could be wrong.
posted by kokogiak at 1:10 PM on April 29, 2002

One other interesting thing I discovered while mucking about with this (and the wayback machine) - a complete file-listing for whatever domain/subfolder you like - hosted on wayback's servers. For instance - here are the 6,500 or so files wayback has stored for metafilter.com. And here are the 2,800 or so files under Yahoo News Most Popular directory (specifically news.yahoo.com/h/mt). Or even this: a directory of just a few files from the early days of HotWired - hotwired.com/Lib/Extras/, with such gems as the "Zippies Update" and Louis Rossetto's "Why HotWired?" (which serendipitously led me to Josh Quittner's original declaration of the "Way New Journalism".

It's like having a historical directory browse for nearly any site.
posted by kokogiak at 1:34 PM on April 29, 2002

The alexa privacy page states what info it gathers from the toolbar. Sounds like a lot, actually.
posted by mathowie at 1:35 PM on April 29, 2002

I was similarly annoyed with the naked mailto link. Who does that anymore? No idea where they got that e-mail address either -- it was up on the site for a few weeks about a year ago, and it's different from the one in whois. (Is it from the Wayback Machine?)

Their 'remove contact info' form was broken for me, but this could have been an Opera issue. Sent them an e-mail and got a robot reply.
posted by davidfg at 1:37 PM on April 29, 2002

I was wondering about that spyware--until I downloaded Ad Aware, I had no idea how insidious that stuff was. Plus Alexa's hidden in your toolbar, right? So, it wasn't getting deleted when I cleaned out my cookies... I'll be running Ad Aware next thing after this comment... Since I don't have a webpage or 'blog, my show's the only thing I can look up. And since that's bundled in with the station, there's nothing much I can glean from Alexa.
posted by y2karl at 3:56 PM on April 29, 2002

Behind this whole monstrosity is a man they call "Haughey". A strict (and some might say evil) ruler, Haughey sends his well trained a-list police squad out into the threads to maintain order.

Also, soylent green is people.

< lourawls>Yeah, buddy!< /lourawls>
posted by y2karl at 4:02 PM on April 29, 2002

What I'm trying to figure out is why myself and feelinglistless and others first showed up there on November 24th last year and wrote 'reviews', and how I can call 'double' on mathowie!

Joke, dammit, joke. I wouldnae think of soocha thung, laddie!

The archives for November 24 show (at least during a quick skim) no front page linky-dinky, but I do remember going there...
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:24 AM on April 30, 2002

Is anyone still reading this thread? If so, I challenge you to find what Alexa considers to be the top 3 websites. I can't find them anywhere. Aol.com is 80, Yahoo.com is 4. What the hell are the top 3?
posted by Sinner at 10:18 AM on April 30, 2002

Google is #2.
posted by crunchland at 10:30 AM on April 30, 2002

Okay, for anyone else still tuned in... I threw together a quick-view page to look up a domain's ranking here. I've only found 5 sites in the top 40 so far:

#2 - google.com
#4 - yahoo.com
#16 - microsoft.com
#20 - msn.com
#30 - ebay.com
#33 - amazon.com

If anyone finds more, I'll add to the list.
posted by kokogiak at 2:46 PM on April 30, 2002

i'd just like to add that Links2Go is a fun way to search! a true surf engine if there ever was one :)
posted by kliuless at 3:48 PM on April 30, 2002

Thanks for the heads up on this. I sent in the form to have all the contact info "unlisted", lets see how long it takes until the "next update".

The contact info they had was really old...which is good, but the email address they listed is still valid, which is really bad...and probably does explain the incredible increase in spam I've seen lately. GRRRR!
posted by dejah420 at 7:30 PM on April 30, 2002

#3 is ad.doubleclick.net.

We're totally stuck here. What the hell could be #1?
posted by Sinner at 1:56 PM on May 1, 2002

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