Orkut is in Alexa’s Top 10 sites…wtf?

Google’s social networking site Orkut was the coolest thing since sliced bread back in early 2004. It was a social network that actually had interesting people on it. It had a fun user interface. And then, the reliability problems kicked in, and then the Brazilians invaded every corner of it. So just about everyone I know pretty much abandoned it. I never had the heart to take it out of my bookmarks, so I would still check it every so often, confirming its still pretty much dead.

Flash forward to late 2006…

It still looks dead. It has actually become harder to use in some ways (e.g. the search tool is worse now, unless I’m missing something). But, check out the Alexa statistics for Orkut. If Alexa is to be believed (which, granted, is pretty dubious), the site has exploded in use with a much coveted hockey stick curve, and is now shooting into the top 10 sites on the web. Maybe the usage is still all Brazilian, and maybe there are just more Brazilians than I thought, but something really weird is going on here.

So, what gives? Did Google figure out how to game the Alexa rankings, which in turn is causing this buzz, which in turn is causing actual organic growth? By the way, I already know I’m such a tool for posting this.

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