Recently, internet traffic ranking site Alexa reset the counters of a large number of Chinese websites that have been suspected of manipulating their rankings, including Zhanzuo.com, Kooxoo.com, Pomoho.com, UUSee.com and 67.com. Dating website Marry5.com was another hit by Alexa’s move. At one time, it ranked 270 on Alexa (even higher than Match.com!). A China Business Post report also cited a source that said almost all Chinese video sharing sites were manipulating their Alexa rankings. Many new Chinese portals hungry for funding have all resorted to cheating through various means.
The top Chinese portal to be hit by Alexa’s latest move is Sohu.com. Shortly after its traffic ranking was supposed to have taken over that of its rival Sina.com, Alexa dropped Sohu’s ranking.
Sohu’s flamboyant CEO Charles Zhang (张朝阳), has stepped out and sworn to Chairman Mao that Sohu hasn’t cheated:
I swear to Chairman Mao and to heaven. We absolutely did not cheat. Why should I cheat? Who would I be cheating? The board of investors? Myself?
Marketing-savvy Zhang has been known in times past for his wacky, unconventional and irreverent ideas such as the Mount Everest expedition, stripping for publicity and his purchase of a Sunseeker motoryacht, many of which draw attention to himself. Let’s see how he gets Sohu out of this one.
China Business Post: 国内Alexa排名作弊毒瘤产业链已形成
Interfax: Professional companies form to fix site rankings
Sina.com: Alexa再次调整算法打击作弊 搜狐排名大幅下跌
Photo taken from an old cover of Men’s Health China.