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What is the future of the "niche directory"
Isn't it really something more than a focused list of links?
Webwork




msg:481045
 2:58 pm on Nov 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Yes, a list of relevant sites, but what else?

A community?

A transaction system: RFP, bids, offers?

A forum for community building? The hip hop happening word of the moment: A social networking opportunity or medium?

Want ads, jobs, more?

So, will the niche directory model need to evolve into something more than a list of websites to survive, or thrive, OR will there be room for 'the lesser model'?

What's the fate of the stand alone list of sites that calls itself a 'niche directory'?

 

Webwork




msg:481046
 6:08 pm on Nov 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm not looking for answers or "the answer", as we are talking about the future and the only answer to that is "Who knows?". That said, here's my conjecture.

1. Yes, there's room for a straight links directory. There's room because it's the WWW and you can publish anything you wish. You can do it as a labor of love, for that reason alone.

2. As a commercial entity, a stand alone niche directory will probably have some possibilities so long as people continue to start their search for such directories in search engines - AND - your niche directory (for the moment) is liked (ranked) by the popular search engine of the moment. (Heavens, it might not be Google forever.)

3. If it's a pure links only directory it's commercial potential will be limited to the ROI value of a link, and again, that's limited by the friendliness of SEs.

4. If it's a niche directory 'with something extra' - like an active community - then it's value is likely to increase.

5. If it's a mini - or larger - portal, including a directory plus all manner of industry related functions online then it becomes a matter of popularity in the industry. How you get there is the question: Time, money, technology, connections, timing, good management, etc.

I imagine a future with a great variety of niche directories, coming in all flavors and a continuing jostling for position.

ncw164x




msg:481047
 9:50 am on Nov 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

What's the fate of the stand alone list of sites that calls itself a 'niche directory'?


It will get stronger and stronger, you do a search for "john doe's shoe shop" in your town and more than likely you will not find his site or his details at google but you will find the details on a niche directory which has been optimised for these words.

Call it what you want but the searcher has found what they were looking for albeit in an indirect way and that gives you a happy searcher who will hopefully return to your site next time they require information.

I totally agree that there is more than enough room for all of us because the web is so big and it's a case of cornering you own tiny piece with what ever type of site you chose to do.

The_Expert




msg:481048
 1:06 pm on Nov 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

I totally agree that there is more than enough room for all of us because the web is so big and it's a case of cornering you own tiny piece<<<<<<

That's fine. Except what are you going to do when another 1000 niche directories, and much bigger niche players start to advertise properly? You do realise that there are probably a good 200 niche directories that haven't yet.

People think that cos they put up a directory, they have automatically, cornered that niche area. Not so, chances are that 'area, specialism' was taken up years before even thinking about starting their directory.

And if this directory isn't advertisng or doesn't show up on the web - DOES NOT mean it doesn't exist. This is why I reckon most are just going to fail, before they even put the site up.

Also, the other major thing to consider is whatever specialism the directory is based on, what do these peole actually know about it? Just supposing you are interviewed on radio, and they starting asking questions like "Our listeners may want to know how you gained your expertise in the car selling industry"

What are these people going to say then? Probably, "Ah well, I know nothing about the car industry etc - but I am a SEO expert"

Problem is, that has nothing whatsoever to do with selling cars. And you've just admitted on radio that you know nothing about the industry the directory is supposed to be tackling! Or will these people lie on local/national radio?

That's going to happen a lot, ofcourse, that's if a directory owner gets such an opportunity in the first place.

Just a thought, that might be quite important. You've got to consider journalists, are going to ask questions, and I feel that many will come a cropper.

Being 'interested' in running a directory, is very different to expertise in a subject area.

I'm not trying to throw a spanner in the works, but, it's just ever so important that you can back up what your offering. And being good at SEO, won't impress jounalists and interviewers by the way.

They want facts, proof that you know what you are talking about, seeing as you're offering the service - not how well a site can be optimised. When I visit say MSN, I don't care about SEO, as I assume it's been taken care of (SEO doesn't enter my mind when I'm searching for videos - I'm thinking about my video!), but I do care about MSN having covered every search need in that niche (not site coding!)

That's why you need to be an expert in a certain field. People will notice that kind of thing. Ask questions when they ring up for advice, details of services, why they should use you etc etc.

The Contractor




msg:481049
 2:03 pm on Nov 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

Also, the other major thing to consider is whatever specialism the directory is based on, what do these peole actually know about it? Just supposing you are interviewed on radio, and they starting asking questions like "Our listeners may want to know how you gained your expertise in the car selling industry"

Hmmm... I will only say that there are plenty of people that have an offline business, but don't have a clue about that same industry online and would have little to say if the question was posed differently. If you run a successful site/business online you normally don't get that way by accident – its from researching the industry.

As far as ever giving advice online… better watch your liability for doing so.

Edited/added: As far as answering questions to the media if it ever got to that point - you could always answer with "We surround ourselves with some of the top minds in the industry that have years of experience". That works well for large corporations and politicians!

treeline




msg:481050
 11:34 pm on Nov 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think that many niche directories that do survive and thrive will be because someone with a love of that area/industry continues to craft what their niche needs. The best are part of their industry in some way, whether as a manufacturer, dealer, consumer, or fan. They're in constant touch with the people involved, and know what people are looking for, and have a natural base for support and feedback. If it needs to be different, it will be explained to them, and they'll adapt. They may make a lot of money, or very little, but they care and it endures.

Directories constructed solely to sell advertising that are based on SEO seem to flourish for a while, then wither when their source of traffic hiccups, or advertisers don't renew fast enough to maintain a critical mass. If the traffic and money fade, there's always another idea.

They do better if they include a broad base of unpaid listings that flesh out what people are looking for. Lots of information you want from searches isn't going to be added to your directory by a company. How about links to key government regulations and forms for that industry? No one will add these or pay to advertise them, but people may remember and bookmark your site as the source of the information. Now you're becoming a resource for members of your industry, and its customers.

Good sites are partially a service to the industry, partially an advertising medium.

sandor




msg:481051
 7:05 pm on Nov 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

i think there will always be the need for such directories. if they are good, users love 'em because they find what they want and more of what they want a lot easier than through the typical mammoth engine. advertisers also love 'em if they are good because they're able to put their ad(s) in front of a very targeted audience.

webmasterguy




msg:481052
 2:59 am on Nov 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

If you operate in a niche directory market, then you may find that you will receive more quality customers from niche directories than from search engines as the theme and topic is focused..

One directory that comes to mind that I have seen just recently is vfunk.com global dance music directory. This niche directory is run by a small team of dance music dj & producers from London & is purley for owners of dance music sites who want to list there site's in a quality Niche directory that's managed well and run by those who love the music scene.

So niche does work! in regards to "directories" especially if they are managed and editied effectivly and are 100% on topic thruout..

I'm totally for quality niche directories. As long as they have a passion & respect for the industry they represent, then I see no problem with more springing up!

figment88




msg:481053
 3:41 am on Nov 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

The main reason to have niche directories is to have specialized fields for the niche.

If you have a restaurant directory, you have fields for price, type of cuisne, parking, etc. If you have a directory of auto parts stores, you have fields for types of cars, new/used, etc. Specialized fields allow for organizational schemes and parameterized searches not offered by general directories.

Funky_Rus




msg:481054
 11:06 am on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hello.
I am searching for service providers, which is of the same kind as the Company Directories, but not the same.
The difference is following:
The customer's interested in some product manufacturers, and this service provides him after some time (about 2-3 days) the full list of this product manufacturers home pages (manufacturers are located in the interested region (World Wide,Europe,Russia etc.)

All the web directories give us very unsorted and incomplete information, such as supplier and providers' information in conjunction with manufacturers.

This service works with all the best search engines and directories, including the regional ones. Extracts only the exact links to manufacturer's homepages.

Please, tell if You have heard about similar services and which are they?

Funky_Rus




msg:481055
 11:06 am on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hello.
I am searching for service providers, which is of the same kind as the Company Directories, but not the same.
The difference is following:
The customer's interested in some product manufacturers, and this service provides him after some time (about 2-3 days) the full list of this product manufacturers home pages (manufacturers are located in the interested region (World Wide,Europe,Russia etc.)

All the web directories give us very unsorted and incomplete information, such as supplier and providers' information in conjunction with manufacturers.

This service works with all the best search engines and directories, including the regional ones. Extracts only the exact links to manufacturer's homepages.

Please, tell if You have heard about similar services and which are they?

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