Statsaholic, the Alexa-powered traffic tool formerly known as Alexaholic, is being systematically crushed by Amazon in a move that is going to create a wave of negative PR for the online retail giant.
Earlier this month Amazon sent a legal warning that forced Alexaholic to drop the Alexa from its name. Fair enough – brands have to look after their trademarks. But now it is preventing Statsaholic from using its API at all.
This is bad news, and sends out a highly ridiculous message to current and prospective users of Amazon Web Services. The message is this: “If you are successful, we can close you down.”
None of this is in the spirit of web services, and it doesn’t tally with the company’s visionary progress in this space over the past five years, nor some of the more recent statements made by CEO Jeff Bezos.
Amazon Web Services is used by more than 200,000 web developers, all of whom are helping to fuel the Amazon fire, by creating spin-off sites like mashups and affiliate stores.
Some of these sites are more valuable to Amazon than others. And now, we can say for sure that some are seen as threats, although perhaps not without reason. Is it true that I stopped using Alexa on the day I first used Alexaholic? Yes, yes it is.
I’m sure that this latest move by Amazon seems to be some extension of the legal posturing with regards to its trademark, but I can’t see what good can come of this. Alexaholic is now known as Statsaholic, so what does it have to gain from trying to kill the site completely?
Keyword = ‘trying’
Here’s the thing: Statsaholic will not die. You know that saying about ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’? It looks like this is what will become of Statsaholic, according to founder Ron Hornbaker:
“Compete and Quantcast have shown their support of Statsaholic by agreeing to have their traffic graphs displayed here, so look for those in the very near future. Alexa is not without competition in the comparative web metrics space, and if they bully around developers like me, there will be more progressive-minded companies to take their place.”
Amazon appears to have fired a volley of Katyusha rockets into its foot. And it could get worse; it could become an irreversible situation for the company, certainly as far as Alexa and Statsaholic is concerned.
If Ron ropes in Hitwise, comScore and Nielsen/NetRatings, as well as Compete and Quantcast, he can aggregate the various data sources out there, to – theoretically - improve results. Most internet marketers will rightly point out that none of these services are 100% accurate, but Alexa is widely considered to be less accurate than most.
My bet is that this will blow over by the end of the week. I’ll be amazed if it doesn’t, and I’ll be equally amazed if Jeff Bezos knows anything about this, which is surely an exercise in missing the point.