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If you watch TV, you almost certainly know what Nielsen ratings are.  Long story short, they're the numbers that drive whether or not your favorite (or least favorite) shows remain on the air.  The numbers aren't perfect, but they are taken from a large enough sample of households that fairly accurate estimates can be taken.  These numbers not only impact whether a show stays on the air, but what type of commercials you'll see and the like.

The Internet is just a powerful force these days as television, maybe even more so.  It stands to reason that there should be a standard way, along the line of Nielsen ratings, to measure traffic.

Turns out, there is!

It's called the Alexa ranking system.  And you can be part of it by installing the Alexa Toolbar.

While it's not perfect, the Alexa ranking system is a fairly accepted way of measuring and ranking the popularity of websites.  Sites of all sizes, genres, and age use the Alexa ranking system as a measure of how they're doing on the Internet.

The great thing about the Alexa system is that, unlike the Nielsen ratings, anybody can participate.  All you have to do is install the Alexa Toolbar, which will then make note of your traffic and provide input into where Alexa ranks your sites.

For example, if you think that Money Beagle is a great personal finance blog (you do, don't you?), every page you read with the Alexa Toolbar would help provide input into the ranking system, which would then give Money Beagle a higher ranking, drawing even more traffic to the great articles and advice.

Come to think of it, that sounds like a great idea.  So, I'm asking all of my readers to please install the Alexa Toolbar.  It's a quick install and it sits on top of your browser of choice.  In addition to providing input, you can also see where every site you visit is ranked.

Alexa does not take any personal data or use the data in any way for profit or re-selling purposes.  It's simply a way for your voice to be heard.

So, dear Money Beagle readers, won't you install the Toolbar today and make sure your voice is heard?