New gTLDs, Alexa Ranks and Artificial Rank Boosting

We have been tracking the growth of the new gTLDs in the Alexa top million list for some time now. We mostly use these internally developed tools :-

New gTLDs in Alexa 100K list

 

Is the Alexa rank list reliable for tracking the growth of new gTLDs?

Almost everyone knows that the Alexa ranks are not very reliable. However, many people assume that the ranks are a reasonably good estimate for sites ranked within the top 100,000.

Instead of using the top 100K rank list, we decided to go with the top 25,000 list.

We used data based on the Alexa top 25,000 ranks as on Dec-13-2014. The ranks used are the daily updated, one month average ranks.  The daily updated ranks are different from the Alexa toolbar ranks (averaged over a 3 month period).

This is what we found :-

  • There are 43 new gTLD sites in the Alexa Top 25,000 List.
  • 90% of these sites are either parked or redirected to an advertisement page or have illegal content.
  • 26 of them (60%) are “.XYZ” sites. Out of these, 20 have the same IP address.
  • All XYZ sites, except one, serve advertisements or are parked with no actual content.

Most of these sites don’t deserve to be in any “top” list. One possible conclusion is that the Alexa ranks are being artificially boosted. Here is a graph of the number of “.XYZ” sites in the Alexa million list plotted over time (between mid August to now). Notice the sudden upward trend from mid November?

Number of .XYZ sites in Alexa million list over time.

 

One notable new gTLD site is searchengines.guru (Alexa daily rank on 12/13/2014: 1392). However, this is not a new site, it is an old one that moved to the new .Guru domain.