Editor doesn't even reply
I sent a friendly email to the About.com Maui editor pointing out that several of his links to vacation rentals are dead or the websites have closed down, offering my site as a new addition.
No reply. Not even a cursory 'Thanks, but no thanks' so I sent it again in case it got lost in cyberspace, but still no reply.
Is this normal for an About.com editor? Can't they be bothered to update their pages? Is About.com on its way out?
Is this normal for an About.com editor?
That's been my experience.
About.com doesn't have a Maui editor. Are you referring to John Fischer, the Hawaii/South Pacific for Visitors (gohawaii.about.com) guide?
John is a hardworking guy, but it's possible that he's been traveling or has been busy with the tasks required to implement About.com's new e-commerce focus. Give him time--unless your e-mail got lost, he should respond in due course.
>>Is this normal for an About.com editor? Can't they be bothered to update their pages?<<
That depends on the guide (as editors at About.com are called). I know John, and I can say that he's one of the more dedicated guides.
>>Is About.com on its way out?<<
Well, About.com already shifted away from its former role as a Web directory a la Yahoo or LookSmart. Lately it's been evolving toward a product-review, price-comparison, and advertising site. So whether About.com is "on the way out" isn't really the issue here--and in any case, that's a discussion that belongs in a venue such as the Yahoo PRM board or f*****company.com.
In one category there was a submit form on a page to have sites included in their resource list. I submitted and got a "standard" email within 2 days that the site had been added, and it had. Not a "choice" or "pick" listing, just a list of links but very welcome. That group of categories happens to be a great resource.
That one and it's sub-categories happen to be still active with active guides, probably not the usual. Not all are. This appeared to be, but I still wouldn't hold my breath.
>a venue such as
Yes, and the TOS at * is priceless! ;)
One more observation on link submissions to About.com:
"Subject" pages (i.e., a site's directory of links) are owned by About.com, while articles are owned by the guide. With guide pay having been cut drastically in many cases (e.g., by several thousand dollars a month), and with roughly 400 guides having been let go in 2001, some guides are understandably reluctant to invest time on creating and maintaining "subject" pages that they may not get paid for if they're fired or the company goes under.
In other words, guides have a *disincentive* to review URL submissions in the current economic climate, and they're better off working on pages that they can take with them (or at least expect to be paid for) if they cease being guides. This may not be good news for Webmasters who want to submit links, but it makes good sense from a guide's perspective.
Yes, I am referring to John Fischer (who edits the Maui accommodations pages of the Hawaii/South Pacific Guide).
I wrote to him over a month ago and followed up 2 weeks later in case the first email went astray. As I said, several of the accommodation links on that page are defunct, which does give the impression of neglect.
Sounds like priorities are changing at About.com
>>Sounds like priorities are changing at About.com.<<
Yes, they are (and already have). There's no secret about this; the new CEO has already discussed the e-commerce goals of "About 3.0" in the press. About.com's emphasis is no longer on the Web directory; that territory has been surrendered to Yahoo, the ODP, LookSmart, and PPC networks like Overture and About.com's own Sprinks subsidiary.
I've requested many sites to be added to about.com and I'd say 95% of my requests go unanswered, whether the site was listed or not. One of the few times I did get a response (after submitting a forensic animation company's site) was more or less a sales pitch. Apparently the guide of the category I submitted to had a day job scripting XML and thought some of the sample animations on the site should be recreated using XML. Also, I've submitted many travel sites and some get rejected with the explanation of "I'm sorry, but I don't list travel agencies or e-commerce sites that
perform the services of travel agencies (which is what your site appears to
do.)" where other travel agency sites have been indexed. Finally, random guides request for a reciprocal link from my site to about.com...
I never get a response from About.com or editors, no matter polite or proper. I got one year ago but not since. I'll get sales pitches from them but that's it. Many categories are full of dead links and non-relevant information. One I looked through recently had one good link out of nine. Not very good odds.
I believe it really depends on which subject and guide. I guess I really lucked out because I recently had a link added. There was a form to submit, and in 2 days I was notified that the link had been added - kind of a form letter but still nice, and it had.
I saw the referrer, so I know the site was checked out. It gets about a visit a day from there, very targeted, but it's better than some search engines, and I suppose the link could count, since it's right on topic.
There are still active resources, live chats, and updates by email, but it's probably an exceptional category.
If About.com is like other "directories" that offer free submissions or sugestions, the editors (at least in some categories) probably get bombarded with tons of email and submissions. More so in the popular cateories, but they just axed a bunch of the less popular ones.
For a position that doesn't pay a whole lot and requires regular development of new content it could be quite a tall order to respond to every message (or even a fraction of them) that comes in.
John Fischer took my advice about the dead links and fixed them, so I think a response was appropriate.
I think the usual reason is that the editor doesn't really care. Otherwise he/she would at least set up an auto response, which would be better than no response at all.