After having mapped out the available VolP technology services for cell phones, it seemed like a good idea to use Alexaholic to compare the reach and growth of these services. Alexaholic is a refurbished version of Alexa Internet, a subsidiary of Amazon.com that provides information on the quantity of visits that websites receive and their comparative popularity.

Alexa is one of the best-known pioneers of global ranking systems on the web. It was created in 1996 with the purpose of studying behavior on the Internet and sharing information. To obtain its data, Alexa uses a navigator that offers perks (like blocking pop-ups, traffic reports, Google searchs, etc.) and, in exchange, collects information on the websites that Internet users visit for the company servers.

Today, Alexaholic permits the visualization and comparison of Alexa’s data. Using Ajax, it has modified its presentation allowing the user to personalize the desired graphs instantaneously. They’ve also broadened the range of dates, allowed for the intensification or reduction of traffic peaks, and the comparison of up to 5 websites in one graph.

Alexaholic’s important statistical base in the most popular online websites allows it to conduct a fair comparison of the reach and growth of VolP technology services for cell phones. And yet Alexaholic offers only an approximation, not exact figures. For example, I noticed something inexplicable in regards to Alexa and Menéame the popular Spanish Digg type site. Menéame’s public statistics show that the company achieved enormous growth rates in January. Alexa, on the other hand, tells a different story: according to its statistics, Menéame appears to have declined in January. The same inconsistencies occurred with Digg, although I am almost positive that Digg’s popularity did not go down in January. Yet, while going to the databases of the companies themselves is the most appropriate way to gather the information, Alexa offers an approximate picture of how mobile VolP service providers are doing.

One inconvenience to using Alexaholic, however, is that it only works with information related to the websites in general, and does not distinguish between their internal pages. Therefore, it is impossible to include Skype into the comparison. Skype Mobile exists on the Internet as an internal page within the more general website for Skype. Tracking Skype on Alexa will tell you how the company is doing in terms of people who go to download Skype but not how many are using Skype. Same happens with our company Fon, when Foneras are sold in retail nothing happens on the web. Now taking all these problems into account here are some results.

In the first place, we can see tendency in the growth of these types of services. According to the data from the last two years, this new technology erupted onto the scene in the middle of 2006 with several pioneering developments from Gizmo and the important popularity spikes of Nimbuzz and Rebtel.

On the other hand, if you pay attention to the data from the last six months, differences in the popularity of each of the available offers become markedly clear. Alexaholic’s results indicate that, in terms of its reach (measured by the number of visitors per 1 million internet users), Jajah is clearly in the lead, and Gizmo in second place. Jajah hit about 400 during the last six months, while Gizmo oscillated between 60 to 100 daily visitors for every million Internet users. But then again Jajah is used on the net while for example Gizmo is a download.

On a second tier, were Nimbuzz (with two peaks during the last six months and a tendency towards growth), Truphone and fring (both with strong performance, although fring is markedly more popular).

iSkoot has also done quite well, although its performance is more erratic than that of other companies. And Rebtel, despite some growth in September of 2006, has descended in popularity since. Last and definitely least, Talkster has received the lowest number of hits, despite several moments of glory over the last few months.

Below are the graphs obtained from Alexaholic.

Graph: hits of selected websites during the last two years

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Graph: hits of websites during the last six months

Alexa-ReachGrupo1 para site.JPG

Alexa-ReachGrupo2 para site.JPG

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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Martin Smink - Nimbuzz on February 22, 2007  · 

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