• 03.01.07

Web Smackdown

An addictive tool reveals who’s watching what.

The hottest little site on the Web right now may be “Wonderfully simple,” raves one blogger. “A nifty tool,” says another. That’s ironic, since all Alexaholic does is show which other sites are hot. It happens to do that very well.


Alexaholic is the year-old brainchild of Ron Hornbaker, a veterinarian turned techie with a knack for piecing together sites with user-friendly interfaces. He quietly created this site in February 2006–over a long weekend, he says–to make better use of Web-traffic data collected from users of Amazon’s Alexa toolbar.

In practice, Alexaholic is like a cockfight between Web sites. Type in up to five URLs, and it delivers a multicolored graph that shows each one’s reach, rank, and page views over time. Watch Google gain on Yahoo, and see Orkut (Google’s social-networking project) catch MySpace. Travelocity, Expedia, and Orbitz are all neck and neck–and all declining too.

It’s an intuitive tool designed to appeal to the Web fanatic in all of us–in the same way Amazon’s book ranking addicts authors. Which is why Alexaholic has, by its own measure, become one of the Web’s 2,000 most-visited sites. (Check back often for updates.)