What’s the deal with Alexa this week? First came that massive Amazon web server outage on Tuesday that knocked out Alexa’s ability to fire off routines, and now Amazon says it’s shutting down Alexa.com. Is Alexa in trouble? Well, not quite.
Amazon just announced that it has made the “difficult” decision to “retire” Alexa.com on May 1, 2022, but the truth is that Alexa.com the website has nothing to do with Alexa the voice assistant.
Founded back in 1996, just a few years after the birth of the World Wide Web, Alexa Internet is a service that tracks and compares the traffic of websites, gathering browsing data from the Alexa Toolbar (subsequently replaced by browser extensions) as well as sites that have installed the Alexa script on their pages.
Amazon snapped up Alexa Internet and the Alexa.com domain back in 1999, a full 15 years before Alexa the voice assistant made her first appearance.
Back in the day, a site’s Alexa traffic ranking was a big deal. Not only could website owners stack their properties up against competitors, they could also raise their advertising rates if their rankings were high enough. The Alexa Toolbar was also a popular helper app for browsers that, among other tools, included a then-novel popup blocker.
But times change, and Alexa Internet eventually found itself in an increasingly competitive field. While there are still plenty of loyal Alexa.com users around, Amazon clearly feels that the cost of keeping the site operational is no longer worth the expense.
So yes, Amazon owns both Alexa the Internet site and, you know, Alexa, but the two entities are otherwise unrelated, and Amazon’s decision to shut down Alexa.com will have no effect on Alexa herself.
If you do want to visit Alexa (the digital assistant) on the web, you can still go to alexa.amazon.com.
On that webpage, you can perform many of the Alexa-related functions that appear on the Alexa app, including adjusting Alexa preferences, setting alarms and reminders, managing skills and connected smart home devices, and more.