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

Case in point

Let’s take a look at my site –

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


  • 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?


I have the 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’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?


I think I need to lie down now.

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

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