Ahrefs’ Data : Case of Business Sabotage?

Ahrefs' Data Collection - A Case of Near Business Sabotage

As I have read the well written but in my view very controversial article by Levon Nikoghosyan from AffPapa, which had the topic of listing fees from affiliates, I need to clarify a few things now here in my own article.

The way to analyze web traffic of an affiliate as described by Levon using Ahrefs is simply wrong! Ahrefs has established themselves as a market leader in keyword analytics and so, using there own search engine YEP. But here lies the first problem.

I have looked into the data I was able to find for different companies and compared those to Google search engine. The data discrepancy is just astonishing. I’m the CEO of Malta Media, a new news platform which was launched in May 2023, and had my fair share of trouble with those DATA (if you can actually call it that) shown by Ahrefs on their platform.

I will not go further into the details, but I will share a link to an article I have written back in November 2023 after coming back from SiGMA World here in Malta. Malta Media sells advertising packages with banner advertising and guest posts. I had scheduled quite few meetings with different companies from the iGaming sector and went there armed with a good sales pitch and also carrying current screenshots of Google Analytics with me.

To cut the story short, I was not really successful in selling my advertising packages. Being a web developer and a writer I thought this might maybe have something to do with my poor sales skills. But fare from it, the different people i met with confirmed that the pitch was good but that they have analyzed the data through Ahrefs, Semrush or SmilarWeb and came to the conclusion not to advertise. Just yesterday I received another negative response from a possible advertiser, just sending me the screenshot of Ahrefs data and that they are no longer interested in advertising with Malta Media.

Back to the story: Curious about their statement i signed up with all three companies (Ahrefs, Semrush and Similarweb) and checked out their platform in regards to Malta Media’s data. I was horrified and angry what sort of data I saw for my company. All data and screenshots are shown in the article i wrote back then. Link in comments.

As an example Ahrefs showed a total of only 16 visitors in the past 6 month! The number shown by Google Analytics for the same time was 460.258 unique visitors.

I contacted all three companies and had a three months journey through copy / paste answers and emails. On a lighter note, SimilarWeb offered help to integrate direct access to my GA4 data and that the actual visitor statistics will be shown there.

At the end of February 2024 I had enough of all copy / paste messages and Malta Media issued a Demand for Immediate Cease and Desist from Unauthorized Display and Misrepresentation of Malta Media’s Data on their platforms. Below the demands we as for immediate implementation into their systems:

  • Remove all data and analytics related to Malta Media from your website and any other publications or databases.
  • Cease any further use, display, distribution, or publication of data or analytics derived from Malta Media.
  • Implement a notice on your platform that, if a visitor searches for data related to Malta Media, it clearly states that your website is not permitted to show the statistics or data for Malta Media based on a cease and desist demand regarding unauthorized use and misrepresentation of our data.
  • Provide written assurance within 14 days of receipt of this letter that you have complied with these demands and have ceased the misrepresentation of our data.

The letter from the 22.02.2024 to Ahrefs, Semrush or SmilarWeb had so far no response and legal proceedings will start after the 14 days have passed.

I can only suggest to all readers to check their own statistics (especially if you are an affiliate or a company trying to sell advertising) so that your information and data are not incorrectly represented there!!!


What prompted the author to write this article?
The author was inspired by a controversial article discussing listing fees from affiliates by Levon Nikoghosyan from AffPapa.

What issue does the author raise regarding the analysis of web traffic by affiliates?
The author disputes the accuracy of data presented by Ahrefs, Semrush, and SimilarWeb, highlighting a significant discrepancy when compared to Google Analytics.

How did the author’s experience at SiGMA World in Malta influence this article?
The author, as the CEO of Malta Media, faced challenges selling advertising packages, attributing it to potential advertisers relying on Ahrefs, Semrush, or SimilarWeb data, leading to negative responses.

What actions did Malta Media take against Ahrefs, Semrush, and SimilarWeb in response to the data discrepancies?
Malta Media issued a Cease and Desist letter demanding the removal of all data related to Malta Media, cessation of further use or display, and a notice on their platforms acknowledging the cease and desist demand.

What is the current status of the legal proceedings mentioned in the article?
As of the last update in February 2024, there had been no response from Ahrefs, Semrush, or SimilarWeb, and legal proceedings were to commence if compliance with the demands was not met within 14 days.


With over 20 years experience in web design, SEO and website promotion I always give you an expert advice in regard to any issues related to your Site Design, SEO, Internet Marketing, Promotion, Backlinks, Site Content. In order to help you find out what is missing or can be improved and get higher rankings in Google and more traffic.