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Amazon Sues Alexaholic

CowboyNeal posted more than 6 years ago | from the at-last-it's-time dept.

The Courts 124

theodp writes "ZDNet reports that as Jeff Bezos tap-danced out of a cringe moment at Web 2.0 Expo prompted by Tim O'Reilly's questioning of why Amazon couldn't get along with Alexaholic (now Statsaholic), Amazon had already filed a lawsuit to legally spank the tiny company into oblivion."

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First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18806479)

Re:First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18806641)

Anonymous is an expert programmer!

Thanks Tim (2, Funny)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 7 years ago | (#18806531)

Keep up the good work.

Re:Thanks Tim (4, Interesting)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18806723)

I think it's kind of funny that O'Reilly was complaining about Alexa/Alexaholic when O'Reilly and Associates basically trademarked "Web 2.0" and sued anyone else that used "Web 2.0" in connection with a conference or convention.

Re:Thanks Tim (1, Interesting)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 7 years ago | (#18806745)

You're kidding? Got a link?

Re:Thanks Tim (5, Informative)

Shemmie (909181) | more than 7 years ago | (#18806881)

http://www.tomrafteryit.net/oreilly-trademarks-web -20-and-sets-lawyers-on-itcork/ [tomrafteryit.net]

I seem to remember hearing this, way back when.

Re:Thanks Tim (2, Insightful)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 7 years ago | (#18807367)

thanks, what a schmuck! Seriously, this news is like watching two fat warthogs fight over eating a piglet, it's disgusting.

Re:Thanks Tim (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18807579)

Wow, what an... odd metaphor... I've never heard anyone say that before...

Re:Thanks Tim (4, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#18807609)

http://www.tomrafteryit.net/sorry-tim/ [tomrafteryit.net]

In short, O'Reilly is partnered with CMP and CMP has the mark and sent the letter.

Re:Thanks Tim (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18808797)

Lest people think this is new, O'Reilly attempted to trademark "netizen" and "website" [slashdot.org] . They may be doing it through a third-party now, but O'Reilly has been attempting to trademark common web-related terms pretty much since the web was first created.

Re:Thanks Tim (1)

rm69990 (885744) | more than 7 years ago | (#18808615)

Seems more like a cease and desist letter than a lawsuit to me, but what do I know...

Re:Thanks Tim (3, Insightful)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 7 years ago | (#18807687)

Here's the trademark registration: http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=m kfu1u.3.3 [uspto.gov] Here's an actual instance of CMP/O'reilly threatening a (not even US-based!) non-profit for using it: http://www.tomrafteryit.net/oreilly-trademarks-web -20-and-sets-lawyers-on-itcork/ [tomrafteryit.net]

Re:Thanks Tim (2, Informative)

fimion (890504) | more than 7 years ago | (#18807115)

It was a Cease and Desist order. no one was sued.

Re:Thanks Tim (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 7 years ago | (#18811317)

And in other news, attempted murder is not really a crime.

Re:Thanks Tim (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18810167)

True enough. I was one of the many who was glad handed by whatever poor secretary had to answer the email when that flap was going on. The whole thing was made even sillier by the very idea of "Web 2.0" being anything but another stupid buzzword that'll have it's fifteen minutes before everybody runs off to "Web Xtreme" or some other dumb thing.

But here's a thought, if Alexa is going to be a bunch of assholes, block them. They're getting their data from other people and now claiming "intellectual property". Back when I was running a small website, I IP filtered them. My website didn't even exist far as they knew. If they want *my "intellectual property," they can pay me or they can shove off.

The Internet used to have a "death penalty" concept in which misbehaving sites found themselves cut off. If no one allows Alexa access, Alexa has no data. They have no business benefiting from an open Internet if they're going to play "it's mine!" games...

Re:Thanks Tim (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18810705)

Classic case of the pot calling the kettle black... It's too bad Jeff Bezos didn't know about this LOL. That would have been a nice snappy retort.

I can't believe _anyone_ would trust Amazon when it comes to doing stuff on the internet. Anyone remember "one click ordering" patent fiasco? Amazon and all related companies should be shunned by everyone who does development because of this. I'd never partner with them or use any of their services.

Can't believe anyone is stupid enough to build anything connected to Amazon with or without an agreement. They can afford to screw you whenever they want.

As far as Alexa goes... I've only ever seen that on marketing people's computers. Seriously few regular users even care about Alexa's stats and they are not representative of what people are doing. It's a bunch of self-important marketing crap. $5 says the only people that disagree with this point are marketing people or marketing programmers. I guess it's easy to kid yourself if you look at the thing every day.

I have to admit I do rather enjoy seeing marketing people going at it in court. I has the same morbid fascination for me that cock-fighting has for those people that watch it.

-AC

Turn the tables (4, Funny)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 7 years ago | (#18809351)

I must admit I did read "Amazon Sues Sexaholic" first time round. But what if we turned the tables around..

Sexaholics Sue Amazon

That would be one classy action suit!

Re:Turn the tables (1)

jaysones (138378) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810643)

To paraphrase The Onion: I'm like a sexaholic, but for booze.

biting the hands that feed them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18806565)


"thanks for all the free labor and code" multi-multi-billionair founder Jeff Bezos said while addressing his audience of free workers "there is a sucker born every minute, we just you the tools to make it easier for us to cash in your efforts"

Re:biting the hands that feed them (1)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 7 years ago | (#18806701)

Yes and Tim showed him what it was like to be food on stage in front of an audience of wolves. Kinda nice when you consider the brow beating he gets over amazon's one-click patent. http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=230983&cid =18750539 [slashdot.org]

Re:biting the hands that feed them (2, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 7 years ago | (#18807361)

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who still boycotts Amazon over the one-click patent. That O'Reilly sold out doesn't mean that I have to. Still, it's getting more and more difficult to avoid Amazon, especially when I have to explain to well-meaning friends and relatives that I can no more accept a gift bought through Amazon than I can accept a gift made through child labour.

Re:biting the hands that feed them (2, Interesting)

jamie (78724) | more than 7 years ago | (#18807945)

I still am too... but yeah, when RMS gives up [gnu.org] it makes you feel pretty lonely...

Re:biting the hands that feed them (1)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 7 years ago | (#18808073)

You guys are hardcore, tougher than stallman. :) Is it about the price or the principle at this point?

Re:biting the hands that feed them (1)

Spamalope (91802) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810061)

Well, when Amazon was starting out there was a continuous flood of Amazon spam in the usenet groups I read. They seemed to be encouraging 'our affiliates are spamming not us' spam. I've never done business with them because of that. The one click patent and the 'geo locate and quote higher prices if we think you'll pay more' e-commerce system cemented that opinion.

Re:biting the hands that feed them (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18809971)

Wow, your family really must think you're a self-righteous prick.

Re:biting the hands that feed them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18810185)

Your family must be really impressed by your trolling career.

Alexa (2, Funny)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18806583)

Why does that name sound so familiar?

Re:Alexa (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18806653)

She's another girl that rejected you in highschool...

Re:Alexa (1, Funny)

VirusEqualsVeryYes (981719) | more than 7 years ago | (#18806679)

You're either thinking of an excellent line of tech books, or you're thinking of a far-right-wing Fox pundit infamous for cutting the mic of his guests, his sometimes uncontrollable temper, his misinformative Talking Points, and his outrageous, illogical, irresponsible, and despicable "opinions", showcased by, for example, his blaming immigration policy for a drink driving incident and his general insensitivity and partisan agenda-pushing.

Either is good.

Re:Alexa (1)

VirusEqualsVeryYes (981719) | more than 7 years ago | (#18806727)

That oughta teach me to pay more attention to subject lines.... Whoops ...

Re:Alexa (2, Interesting)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18806737)

Nope, now I remember after reading farther down. Toolbar...Spyware. Didn't know they were still around. Or maybe I just used to pay more attention when I was removing them manually, before I started using Adaware.

Re:Alexa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18807993)

The Alexa toolbar doesn't do anything the Google Toolbar doesn't do. What do you think Google uses as the initialization vector for PageRank? Toolbar data. And Alexa's TOS tells you up front what they're doing; Google calls it "advanced features." It's just that Alexa did it first and got sued by a fraudulent idiot for being not cool enough.

Re:Alexa (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18808085)

I also delete the Google, MSN, Yahoo, and MyWeb(duh!) Toolbar, all of them, and recommend against installing it. It just adds clutter and slows the machine down. If they want buttons all over their toolbars, I show them how to drag them down from the address bar. All the convenience, none of the crud.

Re:Alexa (1)

Tim Browse (9263) | more than 7 years ago | (#18809251)

And Alexa's TOS tells you up front what they're doing; Google calls it "advanced features."

I've only installed Google toolbar once (didn't do much for me), but the installer was very clear that if I enabled the page rank indicator and certain other features, that it would send usage data back to Google to help them rank pages and do other data-mining. I'm not sure how it was possible to miss it unless you're one of those Skinner monkeys that just hits Ok on every dialog that appears without reading it.

Of course, maybe the installer has changed.

Re:Alexa (1)

Redlazer (786403) | more than 7 years ago | (#18807811)

No....

Im thinking its probably AlexRelated, everyones favourite piece of spyware.

-Red

Re:Alexa (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18806731)

Why does that name sound so familiar?

perhaps this will refresh your memory ? [google.com]

Re:Alexa (2, Funny)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18806781)

Yep, caught in the article too. Surprise, surprise...Spyware company tries to stamp out anything even closely resembling competition. I find spyware to be very educational. It taught me a lot about the Windows Registry.

Re:Alexa (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18806771)

Can you say, "malware"?

In Soviet Russia... (0, Redundant)

StarkinProgram (956799) | more than 7 years ago | (#18806591)

Hm...
In Soviet Russia, Alexaholic sues Amazon!
In Soviet Russia, Tap dances you!
In Soviet Russia...

Re:In Soviet Russia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18807443)

In Soviet Russia, you might be somewhat humorous.
In Bush's America, you are nowhere close.

You failed it.

another GoogleClick moment (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18806603)

Another generation learns the old truth... the upstarts always seem to start as the Good Guys taking on the Big Faceless Corporate Machines. Their CEOs are hip and appear smiling, sharp but casually dressed, on magazine covers. Even after they go public, they maintain that halo for awhile, give lip service to idea of making the world a better place instead of just making a buck. Why not make a little less, and give something back to the people?

Then one day, the upstarts turn into the Big Bad Guys. There's just no way to tell the difference. The need to dominate the industry is overriding, and the end justifies every means.

Re:another GoogleClick moment (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810009)

Another generation learns the old truth... the upstarts always seem to start as the Good Guys taking on the Big Faceless Corporate Machines. [..] Then one day, the upstarts turn into the Big Bad Guys. There's just no way to tell the difference. The need to dominate the industry is overriding, and the end justifies every means.
Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

So has gone Bezos, so will go Kevin Rose (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810927)

This is an ancient story, my friends, that existed long before the internets. A lot of grteat entrepreneurs start off as idealistic young types with a idea and a dream. And pretty soon the money, and power gets a hold of them and they end up paranoid, dictatorial, vicious businessmen. One day you're a curious young inventor named Thomas Edison, but pretty soon you're a wealthy shark trying to personally destroy Tesla and Westinghouse to defend your giant corporation.

Amazon's shame (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18806605)

Jeff Bezos is an active pedophile and rapist. In a similar way to Michael Jackson - but much more sinister - he procures young children, leads them into his mansion and touches them in all the inappropriate places. A few complaints have been brought against him, but he uses his vast riches from Amazon to pay the parents off. It's sick and wrong.

I'm glad Tim O'Reilly took a stand against this Alexaholic thing, but someone needs to stand up and shoot him down for his child molesting.

Re:Amazon's shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18806721)

More like -1, Truth

Re:Amazon's shame (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18806855)

I work for Amazon's web services department. I just emailled a link to this comment to our legal services team. Enjoy your lawsuit, prick.

Re:Amazon's shame (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 7 years ago | (#18807075)

nothing to sue for here....it's not specific enough to be liable and most definately True as an opinion with plenty of examples.

Re:Amazon's shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18807117)

Amazing Amazon seems to prefer using their lawyers to solve every problem.

My name is John D. I write for a dying dead tree rag, please sue me, I need attention...

Re:Amazon's shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18807307)

Amazon lawyers, please note: parent AC is a different AC than the crazy "JB is a pedo" poster.

Re:Amazon's shame (1)

renegadesx (977007) | more than 7 years ago | (#18807229)

In response to AC's link he emailed us. We decided to not press charges at the other AC that called him a rapist. He raped a member of our legal team last year... and his daughter.

Re:Amazon's shame (0, Redundant)

bangzilla (534214) | more than 7 years ago | (#18807599)

You most certainly do not work for Amazon Web Services as no one in that time would write what you wrote. Be off with you crookback troll scrum. Look - this is not an Amazon issue it's the issue for all companies that provide web-based services. It's best all round if we publish/use formal API's = makes upgrade life so much easier. Using unpublished, unsupported "API's" (screen scraping anyone?) is fine for a short amount of time, then when the format you're relying on changes you scream bloody murder. Work within the system and it'll work for you. The "we're just a small, poor company" card has been played many times over and is wearing very thin. A company doesn't have the API's you want/need - move along OR work with them, but don't piss and moan if you don't follow the rules.

Re:Amazon's shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18809811)

You, sir, have been trolled most thoroughly.

Re:Amazon's shame (4, Funny)

ebuck (585470) | more than 7 years ago | (#18807625)

You only used one click to submit your comment, so GO SUE YOURSELF!

I'm not surprised... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18806633)

As Alan Graham's article points out, Alexa is working with "mountains of data" on the backend - which is requiring mountains of expensive processing power. As he also points out, Alexa haven't released APIs to access and reuse their data - indeed, they've shown no desire to have somebody else profit off that work at all.

So... why would anybody be the least bit surprised that Alexa are angry and suing? Alexaholic / Statsaholic is doing nothing more than stealing the difficult bit that Alexa has already accomplished, and wrapped it in a different template with their own ads, allowing them to make money off it while Alexa makes not a penny.

Alan Graham, I ask you - if I were to take the articles you write from ZDNet and republish them verbatim on my own site (with your byline, but my template and ads) - wouldn't you be rather upset? Of course you would, and hence you're a hypocrite if you expect Alexa not to take action.

data != articles (3, Insightful)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#18806811)

At least according to US copyright law, raw data does not contain the expressive component necessary for copyrights.

From the complaint:
"Alexa seeks to force Mr. Hornbaker to stop infringing Alexa's trademarks and to stop pirating Alexa proprietary data."

I don't know exactly what Alexa does, but the only thing protectable in a database is its *design and *structure -- and that only if those attributes exhibit creativity (rather than the ordinary constraints of the relational model).

Re:data != articles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18807665)

They're not just using Alexa's *data* - they're using Alexa's *servers* to assemble the data and create the images. Do a view source on the following example URL:

http://www.statsaholic.com/craigslist.org+friendst er.com+myspace.com+orkut.com+blogger.com?y=r&r=5y& z=50 [statsaholic.com]

In the source of the page, you'll find the inline image is pulled directly from:

http://traffic.alexa.com/graph?w=695&h=340&r=5y&y= r&z=50&u=craigslist.org&u=friendster.com&u=myspace .com&u=orkut.com&u=blogger.com [alexa.com]

ie. Alexa's does the work getting people to install their toolbar, logging the URLs those people access, crunching the data, and even assembling the final display of that data. Statsaholic steals all of the above work, plus the bandwidth for all the images they're hotlinking without permission, despite Alexa's wishes.

What does Statsaholic add to that? Nothing, really. A slightly cleaner template and their own ads.

And yet, if the AC post below is to be believed as from Alan Graham, we should be seeing this theft of resources despite the owner's wishes as some kind of champion-of-the-people thing.

I ask you again, Alan - are you fine with me taking your articles to use on my own server without your permission (and hotlinking any related images from the ZD server), then making a profit of it with my own ads?

It is EXACTLY the same thing.

Re:data != articles (2, Interesting)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 7 years ago | (#18808433)

I don't think you understand the issue. Statsaholic is just telling your browser the location of the image. Your browser fetches the image directly from Alexa, and Alexa generates the image. The Alexaholic guy is at no time in posession of the image, so how could he have possibly violated Alexa's copyright?

The *only* service that Statsaholic provides is concatenating some strings into a URI.

Re:data != articles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18809011)

So stealing Alexa's bandwidth isn't a problem for you, eh?

You won't mind if your neighbor plugs into your electricity either then, will you? After all, at no time is he in possession of anything physical that belongs to you, so it must be OK.

Re:data != articles (1)

iamwahoo2 (594922) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810491)

How is he stealing their bandwidth? Alexa is serving the images/data directly to the client. If they do not want this made available to then general public then they should have a website that only servers the content to registered users.

Re:I'm not surprised... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18806953)

Alan Graham here...I'll answer you...since you actually don't get the thrust of the piece.

It smells bad to have someone from a $16 billion dollar company pitch to an audience of web 2.0 developers about how you can trust them with your business and pretend to be a good steward of what web 2.0 stands for...while you're suing one guy for upwards of $500k...especially when you had a year to shut him down and you only did that after you took all his ideas. On top of that you operate a company that would not exist without the volunteer efforts of every single person who installs the Alexa toolbar and reports that data back to the company...and they even admit...no data/volunteers...no Alexa.

What I expect Alexa to do is to find it in themselves to work with the community that they depend on...in a more open way. I have nothing against them making a buck...but this type of lawsuit is heavy handed.

Re:I'm not surprised... (0, Offtopic)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18808533)

Big companies need lawyers and they need to keep the lawyers busy. Otherwise, this happens:

http://snuffleguppy.vox.com/library/post/more-comm ercial-stuff.html [vox.com]

Oops, my bad - that was a link to YouTube-like stuff and was actually supposedly about bankers. My sound card is on the fritz, so I just assumed...

Re:I'm not surprised... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18807707)

If Alexa hasn't released APIs to access and reuse the data, how are Alexaholic getting it to republish it? If it's freely available on their website, then yes they have released an API. The API is, point an http client at this address to get the data.

Reasons to like Alexa? (4, Informative)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 7 years ago | (#18806651)

From an excerpt in the article titled "Reasons to like Alexa" a response to the claim that Alexa's data is not representative was Statistical significance is attainable with only a small subset of the population - ask a pollster or a high school math teacher..

That is a mistake, or rather a mistaken response to the claim. Yes, statistical significance is attainable but only if the sample is representative (i.e.) is random. The critics' claim is that Alexa's data is not representative, in other words the sites that choose to give Alexa their data are somehow don't represent a random sample of all the websites out there. It isn't a question of size but rather of quality.

Re:Reasons to like Alexa? (0)

Romancer (19668) | more than 7 years ago | (#18806885)

You forget that Alexa is malware and installed without most peoples permission. So a random number of average computer users browsing for porn, downloading screensavers, and playing online texas holdem games will get the "tool" and contribute to the data pool.

Re:Reasons to like Alexa? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18807353)

You forget that Alexa is malware and installed without most peoples permission. So a random number of average computer users browsing for porn, downloading screensavers, and playing online texas holdem games will get the "tool" and contribute to the data pool.

But you're effectively pointing out that it isn't random. Only less savvy users will be included. More savvy users won't be tricked/forced into installing the software, so the user base isn't random. Instead, it is only including a subset of less sophisticated users who don't notice, AND would be willing to install those piggybacked applications, AND don't have something like SpyBot installed to remove malware.

Re:Reasons to like Alexa? (1)

msouth (10321) | more than 7 years ago | (#18808719)

But you're effectively pointing out that it isn't random. Only less savvy users will be included. More savvy users won't be tricked/forced into installing the software, so the user base isn't random. Instead, it is only including a subset of less sophisticated users who don't notice, AND would be willing to install those piggybacked applications, AND don't have something like SpyBot installed to remove malware.


So, it's only "the market"? I think that's exactly the people they are after. Your "subset" is practically everyone.

Not really (1)

memeplex (910698) | more than 7 years ago | (#18808331)

Alexa is not malware unless you consider IE malware (which you might well.) Both the Alexa toolbar and IE/Windows are installed by the user voluntarily after they agree to the license. Same old, same old. Why do you think MS and Amazon have armies of lawyers? If you use Windows and IE, and can't keep track of what you're running, you get what you deserve. If you like the related-links feature (the same tech as in Amazon's "people who bought this..."), then use it and accept sending your clickstream data. Or don't. Most end-users will never know or care.

Use OS X or Linux and Firefox. (ducks)

Re:Not really (1)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810847)

Alexa toolbar and IE/Windows are installed by the user voluntarily after they agree to the license. Same old, same old

Well you acutally gave an example why my post is true. Exactly because "Alexa toolbar....." is insalled by the user _voluntarily_ the web statistics data it collects is not representative of all the website visits out there. Do you see why? -- Because somehow only certain kinds of people would _choose_ to install Alexa and those people in all likelyhood would choose to visit only certain websites (like MSN, or OMGPonies.com and so on.). In other words, the same characterstics that make me want to volunatirily install Alexa crap will make me also go to certain websites that others will not go to.

Take yourself as an example, you use OS X, Linux and Firefox. You probably don't go very often to MSN.com do you? Well, that might skew Alexa's statistics then because they claim that they represent the whole population of web users out there.

Re:Reasons to like Alexa? (3, Informative)

Assassin bug (835070) | more than 7 years ago | (#18806895)

True, representation is reliant on how the samples are obtained and the response variable used for the estimate. However, representation and the randomness of the data are not necessarily related. There are different "kinds" of random-sampling techniques (e.g., systematic or arbitrary). Also, the data itself has its own measure of randomness [wikipedia.org] . You can have a non-random, representative data set. You can even have non-random data with heterogenious variance and have it be representative. What matters, in statistics, is that the assumptions for whatever statistical test is used are checked and that corrections to the analysis are made to accomodate for violations of the assumptions.

Re:Reasons to like Alexa? (1)

19061969 (939279) | more than 7 years ago | (#18809589)

Wish I had mod points for you.

Re:Reasons to like Alexa? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18806989)

The critics' claim is that Alexa's data is not representative, in other words the sites that choose to give Alexa their data are somehow don't represent a random sample of all the websites out there. It isn't a question of size but rather of quality.
AFAIK, Alexa statistics are generated from the browsing habits of Alexa Toolbar users and from nothing else.

In other words, the sites browsed do not talk to Alexa or Amazon.

Read what Alexa has to say in their Disclaimer [72.14.209.104] .
I'll give you the quick version: Sites with less than 1,000 monthly visitors are likely to have poor statistics backing up their ranking.

I imagine Alexa has people smarter than the both of us combined working on their stats. I doubt you're going to catch them in a "gotcha!" moment.

ATTN: SWITCHEURS! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18807047)

If you don't know what Cmd-Shift-1 and Cmd-Shift-2 are for, GTFO.
If you think Firefox is a decent Mac application, GTFO.
If you're still looking for the "maximize" button, GTFO.
If the name "Clarus" means nothing to you, GTFO.

Bandwagon jumpers are not welcome among real [imageshack.us] Mac [imageshack.us] users [imageshack.us] . Keep your filthy, beige [imageshack.us] PC fingers to yourself.

Re:ATTN: SWITCHEURS! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18807247)

I can't decide if this is a comical parody or someone trying to be taken seriously. If mac users put their hands into vomit to make some kind of point then I don't know any mac users.

Re:ATTN: SWITCHEURS! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18807663)

Reading comprehension. Try it sometime.

Re:Reasons to like Alexa? (3, Informative)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18809021)

Yes, statistical significance is attainable but only if the sample is representative (i.e.) is random.

Actually "random" would be the opposite of "representative", as long as statistics are concerned. Represenative means the same proportions of the subgroups in the samples are the same as the whole. The subgroups should be carefully chosen to represent properly what could bias or change the outcome of the results.

As an extremely simple example, you want in the sample to have the same proportions of age, gender, income, professions etc (some of those categories may not matter in certain studies).

Re:Reasons to like Alexa? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18809413)

Actually what you describe is quota sampling. Representativeness can be checked using the quotas you describe, but if you do not begin with a random sample you will have nothing useful in the ultimate results. This is why Gallop came into its success in better predicting the Truman election in 1948 than the polls using quota sampling.

Re:Reasons to like Alexa? (1)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810765)

To have representation you have to sample your population in a random manner. Otherwise you get all kinds of biases. For example, if a study a out illegal drug use in U.S. somehow only sampled college students, that would not be very random. The results would not be representative of the whole U.S. population. Contrary to common sense it is in fact very difficult to get a truly random sampling without having any cohort effect. A good way to do random sampling is to sample from a fairly uniform ID database that most members if your population would have, for example. If researchers had access to the social security database, they could randomly choose ssn's from it and use that sample in their study.

As an extremely simple example, you want in the sample to have the same proportions of age, gender, income, professions etc (some of those categories may not matter in certain studies).

Wrong, or rather the wrong response to the post. What you are describing is how you know one choice is a member of your population or not. That is a different problem then selecting a small and representative sample out of that _whole_ population such that it would represent that population up to a certain degree (that you specify). In the hypothetical example of drug use study, you would have already identified a way to select only individuals in U.S. that have been here for long enough to consider them part of the "population of U.S.", now you don't have an unlimited resources to go ask everyone of those individual about their drug use, what you do is you try to randomly sample enough individuals from your population to be representative, publish the results in a reputable journal and 'bam' you got your PhD, well... maybe...

You need to review some statistics material ....

anyone else... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18806657)

read that as 'sexaholic'?

Everbody loses?? (3, Funny)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18806667)

The folks at Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe beg to differ.

Alright... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18806699)

.... who else read, "Amazon Sues A sexaholic"?

What?

Just me?

Oh... nevermind.

The problem with Statsaholic (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18806753)

It has been shown in multiple studies that statsahol use is a gateway to statsajuana and statsamphetamine. Good for Bezos!

Re:The problem with Statsaholic (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 7 years ago | (#18806837)

Good for Bezos!

Except that Bezos is on crack himself.

Re:The problem with Statsaholic (1)

MLease (652529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18809595)

Except that Bezos is on crack himself.

Shouldn't that be statscrack?

-Mike

Re:The problem with Statsaholic (1)

MrTranscendence (982312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18807379)

I feel I should note today has been rather annoying for me, and seeing the above modded "informative" actually made me crack a grin.

Re:The problem with Statsaholic (1)

hxnwix (652290) | more than 7 years ago | (#18808831)

But, Bezos is on benzos - and for good reason:

Bezos's net worth:

* 1999 - $10.1 billion, ranked no. 19
* 2000 - $6.0 billion, ranked no. 23
* 2001 - $2.0 billion, ranked no. 234
* 2002 - $1.5 billion, ranked no. 293
* 2003 - $2.5 billion, ranked no. 147
* 2004 - $5.1 billion, ranked no. 82
* 2005 - $4.8 billion, ranked no. 41
* 2006 - $4.3 billion, ranked no. 147 (shared with others)
* 2006 - $3.6 billion, ranked no. 70 (shared with 2 others)
Poor frickin' bastard. And don't think it's "ok" because he has 3.6 thousand million dollars; it's not ok. Nothing could make it ok. Benzos for Bezos make it less not ok and that's a start.

*I personally have no idea whether Bezos uses benzodiazepines. In the same vein, I should say that I don't know whether he shoots heroin. And because there's no smoke where there could be a very hot fire, I should also point out that I have no knowledge of his crack-related habits - save his spontaneous aggression, grandiose scheming and oft-loquacious disposition. He might not actually smoke crack, though. And the bible says you shouldn't judge people, so don't.

Ohh I get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18806873)

This is one of those things where the advancement of our tools for the greater benefit of all, is less important than profit. Great financial model, this capitalism stuff.

Alexaholic isn't a mashup (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18807053)

Alexaholic hot links images from Alexa using javascript, that's all it does. It's not a mashup. It doesn't create any graphs, all it does is pulls images from Alexa behinds the scenes and displays them on a page full of ads.

Re:Alexaholic isn't a mashup (2, Informative)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 7 years ago | (#18808463)

This is a gross misrepresentation of what Alexaholic does. It does not "pull images" from Alexa. Ever. It just constructs a URI and tells your browser about it. Then your browser pulls the image directly from Alexa.

You are describing image hotlinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18808769)

Alexaholic dynamically constructs an image URI using javascript and hotlinks the image (traffic graph). It's not a mashup, its a clever way of hotlinking images from someone else and making money off advertisements.

Using someone's bandwidth and making money off it with banner ads is NOT COOL.

Who is Alexaholic? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18807101)

Who is Alexaholic, and why should we care if Amazon sues them?

So Tim O'Reilly won't mind .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18807441)

When I create Booksaholic.com and offer all the O'Reilly books for free. Of course i'll plaster the site with ads and make money off it, like Alexaholic does.

Same old game, different players. (1, Informative)

Whuffo (1043790) | more than 7 years ago | (#18808217)

I suspect nearly everyone here has experienced the "joy" of helping someone succeed - and then have that person take it all as their own with no benefit to the people who made it possible. If you haven't experienced this yet - you will.

So Alexa built their business on the backs of the volunteers that provided the data they now claim as their proprietary data. Building on that ethical triumph, they see someone else make good use of the same data and proceed to sue them into oblivion - but not before taking all the good ideas this person had for their own. Of course, we're talking about Amazon; the people with that "one click" patent that they've used against competitors more than once.

I'd say something about this being good reason to avoid Amazon in the future - but I already came to that conclusion a long time back. There was a book I'd heard about and I wanted a copy. Nobody seemed to have it in stock - but Amazon did, and they took my order for a copy. After a week I was wondering where my book was and checked Amazon's website for order status. Backordered. But they should have it for me in 5 to 7 days.

After a couple of months of this I finally contacted the publisher of the book to see what was going on. What was going on is the book that Amazon was selling me was OUT OF PRINT and had been for a few years. You'd think Amazon might communicate that little detail to me, wouldn't you? Nope; they maintained the fiction of "it'll be here in 5 to 7 days" right up until I cancelled my order. You should see how their attitude changes at that point; I must have been transferred to a "customer retention" specialist.

OK, here's the real truth about the big Amazon catalog. It's the ISBN catalog; they just borrowed that data and imported it into their database.

I'm expecting someone from Amazon to jump up and say "I stole it fair and square, it's MINE now."

Re:Same old game, different players. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18808685)

OK, here's the real truth about the big Amazon catalog. It's the ISBN catalog; they just borrowed that data and imported it into their database.


It is the ISBN catalog, only with extended data from users (popularity, rank, reviews). Amazon is only trying to avoid being the next Bowker's [bowker.com] in the chain. If you read the Amazon Web Services EULA, they basically state you can cut down the information you pull off of Amazon, but you cannot extend or add to it in any way.

captcha: blowers

Well, Duh.... (1)

ZenMonkey (170137) | more than 7 years ago | (#18808377)

Seems to me that Alexa would have done best by offering him a job - he's obviously bright, highly motivated by their technology and an expert in their problem domain.

Alexaholic... good? (2)

RockMFR (1022315) | more than 7 years ago | (#18808489)

I've never been to Statsaholic until just a few minutes ago. There's nothing good about this site at all. I guess it might have been relatively better than Alexa before the Alexa redesign a few months back, but now it seems to be pretty broken.

He was screen scraping... (3, Informative)

xENoLocO (773565) | more than 7 years ago | (#18809015)

...not using the APIs.

He was "avoiding an API fee", but the data he wanted was not available through the API anyways, so he screen scraped alexa. If alexa had wanted that data available they would have made it available through the API.

The guy (hornbaker) admittedly says he wants to turn this into a PR battle. And I remember him explicitly trying to stick it to amazon before he changed the site name.

I don't really know who the hell to cheer for here, so I'm just gonna sit back and watch.

Nothing shocking here (1)

c0d3h4x0r (604141) | more than 7 years ago | (#18810631)

Oh my god... a business behaving like a business rather than like a friendly community contributor? I can't believe it! Why on earth would this business behave as if its only concern is making money?
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