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Directories, still viable as a business model?

 2:41 pm on Feb 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

I've got an idea for a website in a competitive niche. Content, backlinks, and some traffic. Don't have any bright ideas on monetization.

Would a directory still make money? Not a general directory, a very specific practitioners directory, where the listings go for $100-$500/year.



 11:51 pm on Feb 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

Anything will make money if you know how to market it.


 10:32 am on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

Making money from a directory is like canoeing uphill against a torrent. It can be done, and a niche directory is the best way to approach it, but you could probably make more from other types of site.


 1:18 pm on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

It's not so much choosing 'another type of site'. The directory would be monetizing an existing site.

It's either a directory...or something else. I'm reluctant to use adsense crap and I'm not an expert in the niche so direct ad sales probably won't work.


 1:55 pm on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

The directory would be monetizing an existing site.

I wasn't going to suggest it, but yup, that's the way to do it.


 3:53 pm on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

The directory would be monetizing an existing site.

Right, I see what you're driving at. It could work well if you find a way to integrate the directory with the other pages.


 4:03 pm on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

A very specific practitioners directory.

You better hurry, I just launched one this week and have another in the pipeline. ;)

Yes, directories can be lucrative if you have the right audience and Practitioners are the right folks for a niche directory.


 4:48 pm on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

i also have a couple of domains i'd like to develop as niche practitioner directories, but I've heard that submissions can be hard to attract,

is this not so then ?


 5:09 pm on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

scooterdude, if you're starting a brand new directory and have no membership base to begin with, you'll be fighting an uphill battle. I'm sure the percentages of success are below the 2-3% mark when it comes to "new" directories.

In this instance, we already have a membership base. This is being utilized to promote additional benefits to the active and inactive members. There's a long list of pros in doing this. The main one is that we're creating our own community of members and we're going to take them to the next level of their practices - online. :)


 5:56 pm on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

My idea is:
- develop content in the industry (I'm confident I can do this)
- develop backlinks (I'm confident I can do this) to a level high enough that a directory scout would look at it with interest.

Then to monetize, add a directory with some fill data. Hopefully the directory then is on a strong enough site to rank on local terms, i.e. 'houston practitioners'.

And then from there, submissions come rollin' in baby! Particularly if I'm ranking - which I think I can do (due to my other content).


 6:21 pm on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hmm, gota think harder about those domains :)


 6:38 pm on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

Then to monetize, add a directory with some fill data. Hopefully the directory then is on a strong enough site to rank on local terms, i.e. 'houston practitioners'.

Ah, we are thinking from two different ends of the spectrum. I look at a directory as a means to provide benefit to the members first, that is the priority. Monetizing can come at a later date and should not be the first thing you slap on the site, not from my perspective anyway. If you do, then it should be select third party providers that are outside your normal advertisers if you know what I mean?

And then from there, submissions come rollin' in baby!

No they won't. They'll come trickling in if you're lucky, ask others who have directories that are monetized through a submission process. I'm assuming you're in this for the long haul as this is something that requires time and effort before realizing a profit.

Particularly if I'm ranking - which I think I can do (due to my other content).

Ranking is one thing. Getting folks to come on board is a major task. You've got to set the benchmark for a directory in the niche you're targeting. If you don't, expect to be relegated to the directory graveyard with the millions of others. :(

Also consider that your directory will now be competing with any Social Media profiles they may have. I can tell you from daily experience that it takes a bit of power to rank above a Twitter profile or a Facebook profile. That doesn't come overnight and takes proper planning to set up an architecture that targets the specific phrases that are appealing to the directory members. You know, stuff like name searches. ;)


 5:55 pm on Feb 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

From what I can see the model is viable if the traffic that is targeted/generated is comprised of consumers/vendors=visitors, driven by commercial intent, for whom a directory can aid/serve their search/discovery needs/wants/desires in a unique/valued/value added way.

Now . . traffic . . well . . that's a whole different . . can of worms?

P.S. You just gotta love all the "/" that I use in striving for clarity . . and failing miserably. :)


 1:47 pm on Feb 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

We ave just started a new link directory for the UK. The easy part is setting it up, now for the hard work of marketing it, promoting it, attracting users, etc!


 5:02 pm on Mar 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

Build a member base with useful content. Provide that content through various distribution channels specific to the web. Create a directory that is aligned with the serviceable needs of the community. When fully developed, you will be able to monetize in both directions.

*Don't waste time marketing your directory, market your content and your members.


 7:24 pm on Jul 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

LOL wheel, if you have spare time then you'll be better of if you read some book, or take your puppy for a walk, or make love for God's sake but stay away from Directories Industry or one day you'll be sorry you didn't pay attention to my advise.




 12:25 am on Jul 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

I worked for 2-3 hours today. The balance of the day was spent fishing with my son, followed by showing him how to change the oil in the car.

Trust me, I work hard, but it's not the only thing that I do.


 8:02 pm on Aug 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Directories can work eg: Sportsbase and Brownbook both got investment, and TrustedPlaces sold for 2 million to Yell.com - BUT, these are exceptional ones, so dont think that just anyone can do this.

It will only work if you can get one out to the masses, but I dont think the all-purpose dirs have the unique selling point anymore to:

A) attract advertisers/give ROI

B) build the following/users/searchers needed to inject huge value.


 7:15 am on Sep 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

Considering the amount of competition you have, it isn't a very lucrative business. Majority of people who use directories are looking for free, auto-approve ones. Most people who have a bit of sense won't even bother with submitting to directories.


 4:09 pm on Sep 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

Its pointless, unless you have something unique (as a dir owner)

majority of these start-ups are to:

Make fast cash - which is crazy....

Making fast cash from any directory is the wrong way to go about it. Ofcourse some have done this, but its not an option anymore as anything general is perceived as not targetedfor specific businesses, and we have general search engines which are superior at bulk-traffic delivery. I think some general dirs are useful for info hunting, but largely dirs are used for weblinks which helps in ranking - and I think this is the only benefit left to advertising in one - unless its very special and can deliver targeted prospects/buyers.

The dir must have great value and serve a particular market better than general directories can, and this is about converting certain users into buyers, which cant be done with all-purpose websites - traffic is too un-filtered you see.

The SEO route is the way to go here, but you'll need one heck of a slant for a directory to work these days. Potentially, and its a big IF, IF the good dirs (general or niche) can gain enough presense, it may stand a chance of making some cash, but I'd forget any dreams about you becoming a millionaire from one.

I see directories as a SEO driver for paying advertisers, and as part of an already large website group or portfolio, thus acting as an extra traffic offering - I think this is the only way to go now.

The good directories will get insane pageviews, and like I keep saying it only the specialist ones that can do this. Ths is the way to go, but downside is its insane effort trying to set up such a beast - although its possible. But it comes back to having that idea, as just any old idea wont work period, which is the mistake everyone makes.

I spent 11'000 on a directory, setting it up, the crazy hours involved, filling it by hand, getting links and contacting advertisers, and my conclusion is although I made some cash, I never got back my original investment. Although, I did get other rewards that even normal businesses will never see, but then again I'm very good at what I do and made sure I had a decent plan.

But you need to be prepared to take a loss, and be comfortable with that, if not, then dont set up a directory, seriously you'll lose out big time if your inexperienced.

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