Highlights of the Hitwise data for real estate traffic…

Inman just published the latest Hitwise traffic data for the month of January: Yahoo up, MSN down in latest Hitwise real estate site rankings

My commentary:

  • The fact that Hitwise had Move.com bouncing up to #2 last month only only to fall back to #8 the following month says less about Move.com’s traffic and more about the erratic nature of Hitwise data.
  • MSN real estate is dropping like a dead weight (below whitefence???). The homepage of MSN probably accounts for a substantial amount of the traffic to MSN Real Estate, so maybe they just put such a large emphasis on election news this month at the expense of real estate stories.
  • Trulia got bumped out of the Top 10 by HUD. 🙁

Hitwise Top 20 real estate sites

Finally, in reading over the fact that Hitwise is giving stats all the way down to real estate websites ranked beyond #1000, I can’t help but wonder where traffic to my websites stand… As bad as Alexa is, some data is better than no data, so I thought I’d plot out a few sites to give me a better perspective:

Alexa Real Estate Traffic

Here’s what I learned (permalink) about the “Alexa Reach” of some real estate sites:

Armed with the realization that I run two sites that should be included, I can’t help but wonder how I get my sites on the radar of the Hitwise people.  It would probably never amount to much, but I figure that sites like RCG and BHB definitely deserve to be included in this list!

I spent some time on the Hitwise website and I can’t seem to find a way to submit a new site for inclusion in their list.   Does anyone know what it takes to get a site included in their “real estate” data?

(Also, there’s a small chance that sites like BHB and RCG are already on their list, but unless someone with access to the full list wants to check that for me, I’m assuming we’re not.)

17 responses

  1. Do you actually know anyone that uses the Alexa toolbar? I don’t. Maybe it’s a bigger deal in techie towns. IMO, they might as well throw darts.

    The Hitwise pool is much larger, but extrapolated samples tend not to work on very small websites. Even with those big sites, the spread from #2 to #10 is only ~1%, based off sampled data. It’s entirely possible that #10 received more real world traffic that #2 did.

  2. Todd: I love my Alexa toolbar! 😉 Actually, my guess is that it is used mostly by SEO guys at this point!

    And I agree (especially having seen the backend data of RDC and Move.com month-after-month) that Hitwise et all are like throwing darts. Nonetheless, they make for great conversation starters… and I hate to underestimate the value of a good conversation!

  3. Dustin, I think Hitwise buy data from selected ISPs so it’s good for what it exists for, but doesn’t cover everything. Might be wrong, but recall hearing something like that. A bit like a closed sample pool.

  4. To me trying to gauge traffic is one of the most frustrating aspects of running a business online. We have seen huge traffic growth in the last 3 months; our uniques have doubled in that time period, with a big chunk of that growth coming in January. So we were very excited to see the hitwise report for January. When it came out it had our main website dropping from 98 to 104. This just confirms to me that none of these tracking systems are very good. I have looked into all of them and none of them are even close on our traffic numbers, but more importunately none of them follow our growth charts. I understand not being able to track the traffic correctly, but the fact that they don’t even come close to tracking our trends is frustrating. Some of our biggest growth months, they have our traffic numbers down and show us having big growth on months that we are flat. I am sure it is a little harder to track in our circumstance, because we are a network of 250 websites with different domains, but I would think that the trend lines would some what match up.
    I came from a TV background and was always frustrated at how the entire industry ran off of Neilson ratings when that system is so archaic. After spending the last 4 years in online sales, I realize that the online tracking systems are not really any better. I was excited to see Quantcast raise a ton of VC money last month, they do seem to be going in the right direction. Their numbers don’t match up with ours, but they do tend to trend better than any of their competitors.
    If I were you, I would not worry about these tracking systems. The more time I spent looking into them, the more I realized the issues with their data.


  5. Lets make that the Nielsen Ratings, not the Neilson Ratings. It’s still early for me.


  6. Alexa is obviously not very accurate because it only counts those who have their toolbar loaded.

    It shows my traffic (in the 3-year graph) as going down quite a bit and now being very low, but in reality my blog’s traffic is higher than it ever has been and has has a steady climb upwards since it began.

    It would be interesting if anyone who access to the Hitwise full list could let us know how some of the top real estate blogs actually rank and how we compare to other types of blogs in traffic and views.

    It would just be interesting to see.

  7. Dustin,
    “As bad as Alexa is, some data is better than no data,”
    What are you doing man? Alexa? That site is a complete joke. No data is better than BAD data. You need to move on to sites like Compete.com, Quantcast.com or even better Comscore.

    For instance our site IncredibleAgents.com is ranked right with yours on Alexa…but we have significantly more traffic than any of the RE blogs out there. Blogs always rank higher with Alexa. It’s an antiquated technology…like the horse and buggy.

    By the way, the same goes for hitwise as well. I’m not a big fan of toolbar traffic tracking websites. They’re complete BS. That explains why Whitefence.com is on that list.

  8. Okay… I hate Alexa too and am not going to even try to defend it. Here’s the picture that Compete shows for BHD, RCG and RES. It’s completely different and shows a lot more traffic for RES.

  9. I love Alexa, but apparently only because of how wrong they are. For whatever reason, I end up going to that site at least weekly for no other reason than to drastically disappoint myself and scratch my head in wonder. It won’t be 12 hours before I do it again.

  10. Dustin,

    Neither Alexa nor Compete are even close to being accurate. They’re worse than a joke, they’re a travesty. I don’t understand why anyone even looks at them or cares. So, using any of these sites to compare RES traffic to BHB, RCG, 4Realz and TSI is ridiculous on it’s face.

    Compete is only “better” because it’s extremely bad data is not as extremely bad as Alexa’s extremely bad data. Compete shows our “People Count” at just over 200,000 for January. That’s only wrong by a factor of five, if “people count” refers to unique visitors by ip address.

    And this statement, “some data is better than no data” is only true if the data is good. Bad data is never good. Bad data leads to bad conclusions.

  11. I give up! Alexa’s data sucks!

  12. Dustin

    I have played with Alexa and it is easy to game. It works well as an indicator in the SEO world but not in the RE.net where very few use the tool bar.

    The only metric that I really concern myself over is year over year growth for the real estate site. For my other sites it is all about conversions.

    We all get so hung up over traffic but the real indicator for me is whether the site is achieving it’s goals.

  13. Tom is right on point.

  14. Dustin
    Comscore/media metrix
    all seem to somewhat off, but sometimes directionally correct, when measuring homegain’s traffic

    alexa.com is just plain not even close when measuring homegain’s traffic

    p.s. glad you liked my low level understanding of blogging!

  15. Louis,

    Definitely do NOT want you to think I think you have a low-level of blogging ability! I’m actually VERY impressed and think you’re doing a GREAT job.

    It’s just seemed like you could improve your understanding of the “benefits”… Based on your description of the benefits, I would have thought that the whole activity would be a waste of time.


  16. dustin,
    didn’t I read on this blog a tip – if you want comments to your blog, leave some holes in your argument….

  17. And, Louis, you definitely started an interesting conversation (with a few holes!) worthy of many comments! 😉

    Although, if I can make a small request… Can you flip the order of the comments under your blog posts, so that the the first one showed up first under the article? After reading a blog post on your site, I find myself scrolling to the last comment and reading UP in order to follow the conversation… and this is a bit awkward.

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