Compete.com Doesn’t Compete

I can’t take it any more. For years I’ve suffered in (relative) silence, while we’ve continued to use a tool that doesn’t seem to reflect any form of reality, yet no-one seems to say anything about it. I need to ask:

Why do people still use Compete.com?

Case in point

Let’s take a look at my site – davefleet.com.

I’m not going to lie — I’ve neglected this poor thing recently, so traffic numbers have dropped… but Compete makes it look as though someone dropped a bomb on my server.

Let’s compare a few stats between Compete and Google Analytics, and see how things look.

Unique Visitors

  • Google Analytics: 14,972
  • Compete: 1,579 – an 89% variance

Visits

  • Google Analytics: 17,186
  • Compete: 1,900 – again, an 89% variance

“Ah but Dave, perhaps those Google numbers included bots,” I hear you say. Well, I heard myself say it too, so I thought I’d take a closer look.

That’s 97% of visits from browsers – from IE, Firefox, Chrome or Safari. My analytics also tell me that nearly 60% of traffic to the site comes from search engines.

So, where does that leave Compete. Maybe if I gave them access to my site, they’d be able to give more accurate numbers, right?

Wrong.

I have the Compete.com analytics code installed on my site, yet it still spills-out this garbage.

If I can’t trust Compete to get the numbers right when its own code is installed, how can I trust it to get it right when I’m looking at other sites? The numbers it reports border on bizarre, yet we just nod and keep on using it.

Should I believe that CNN.com’s traffic went up by 27% in March compared to February? Should I believe that Mashable’s traffic went down by nearly 30% in the last year?

*twitch*

I think I need to lie down now.

What tools do you use to estimate traffic on third party sites?

Dave Fleet
EVP Digital at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.