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This is not an invitation to promote anyone's directory, so please tip-toe around any impulse to simply say what a great directory your operate. ;0) I'm simply looking to get to know people who post in this forum a bit better. Therefore, for this thread only - as policy and procedures and the charter are being re-examined - I won't whack anyone's single non-hotlinked mention of their directory. (Just make sure it's yours AND, if your post here is your very first one on WebmasterWorld . . well, I might make an exception to the whacking rule. ;-P )
I look forward, with your assistance, to taking the dialogue here - about the role of directories in seach, commerce and the web community as a whole - to a new level.
To borrow line from the accordian playing stand-up comic and reknowned love goddess, Judy Tenuta:
[edited by: Webwork at 8:30 pm (utc) on Oct. 5, 2006]
Congrats on the co-mod position!
For those concerned about competition and competitive advantage and "keeping things to yourself" here's my take on those issues: In the great battle with the search titans for building a search democracy "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." Ben Franklin
If you are prepared to accept that we will fare better through sharing of ideas and insights, friendly cooperation and collaboration - than any other way we might co-exist - then step forward and introduce yourself. This is going to be a "lift all boats" place. If that's not consistent with who you are or how you view the world you can still stick around, hang out, lurk. You never know. You might someday view the world differently. You might even adopt the absurdist view that even in a competitive world there is and will be enough to go around . . with a little applied wisdom.
You never know. It could happen. :)
[edited by: Webwork at 2:26 pm (utc) on Oct. 8, 2006]
I own an Internet Marketing company that has moved further and further into local search, so much so that we now only take on selected clients.
I'm interested to see how people manage all aspects of hand-reviewed directories - having only recently had to deal with the scaling issues that such things bring.
I'd be happy to share my experiences and learn from others
They would be equivalent to the yellow pages for my niche(s), so won't be links directories.
I am trying to think of ways to make them better (for the companies listed) than the other directories and I am open to suggestions from successfull directory owners :)
I pop in here from tiem to time because I'm a volunteer editor for a couple of directories.
I am operating some small niche directories, a large dmoz-style directory (which is brand new) and now a large niche directory which not only offers links to other sites, but say guides and articles related to each category... One can argue that Wikipedia is doing the same..
One of my friends who is a marketing professional (I am not) has suggested that I move on with this model and when I manage to get some quality traffic in to start charging for inclusion or start charging for top placement.
What I am looking for when reading this forum is ways to improve my directory to move it beyond the usual dmoz-style model and add features which would make someone visiting it want to bookmark and reference it in the future.
I have a UK Finance and Insurance directory which lists UK based finance and insurance related companies, funnily enough ;oP
It is free to submit to and has the coveted SEO friendly URL for each listing. Link back to the directory and you get a sponsored listing in return.
It uses Adsense and a load of aff progs are woven into the listings.
In short, it's a cover for my aff stuff and at the same time helps other webmasters with SEO friendly links to their site as well as providing some kind of service to the public. It used to work great til google decided recips were bad and directories suck. Now it just trickles along nicely.
There's the honest low down on my directory and why I made it. I'm not going to plug it tho ;o)
I have intentions to expand its niche - in my spare time (HA!).
The thing that has struck me about even a small directory is the amount of time needed to keep it going.
Directories are near and dear to my heart so with this all-new directory-friendly forum, I'm there :)
I am one of the founders of chiff.com, which has grown to about 4,000 pages covering a wide range of topics.
We feature a directory of human-reviewed, hand-picked sites with good, user-friendly design and no pop-ups. Many of the sites we list are personally discovered by our editorial staff and others are e-mailed in by visitors. we accept no payments or link exchnges and don't solicit for any within the subject cateories.
Separately, we feature paid listings within our e-Biz directory, offered to other mom & pop or larger businesses, who can automatically create an entire Web page in an exclusive (again, paid) community.
Spammy sites are automatically refunded their money. Clean listings in both the information & business directories are necessary for survival. Non-spammy business listings are also an important part of setting us apart from the proliferation of garden variety paid listing directories.
All in all, we fly just below the radar in simple, hand-coded html. No SEO, marketing, or other advertising, although Google Adsense more than helps pay the bills.
I agree with willybfriendly - the amount of time it took to startup was enormous...and it doesn't get any easier.
My advice to anyone just starting out is to always keep the user in mind. People are looking for alternatives to the large search engines that they can trust to point them to good sites. If you can deliver that, you'll be rewarded with visitor loyalty (our bookmark rate is close to 20%). Start out slowly and patiently build. Link check often, bad links signal bad directories - your visitors are not brain dead. Keep your eye out for what actual carbon-based life forms are searching for or can't find easily and give it to them - they'll come back for more.
I'll probably mostly be lurking until I get a lot more knowledge, but I thought I'd take this opportunity to say 'hi'.
I run a niche directory that has been doing very since it started in the late 90s. Human-edited, hand-coded, and each topic has a bit of information before the list of links for more info. Little icons and informative descriptions written by a paid writer tell people what to expect even before they click over to the sites listed. Besides just being a directory we also publish a monthly newletter(around 30,000 subscribers) that keeps up with trends and major events involving the industry. We don't ask for or reward for reciprocal links, the choice to link back is left up to the individual site owner. Many do choose to link back, some right away, and some later on as a thank you for the visitors we send their way. Although we do get great SE rankings for the various categories, we could survive without them(SEs) because of traffic from natural links. I look forward to hearing tips from other directory owners without the extra "noise".
joined:Apr 13, 2002
I've been a critic of directories for many years now, mainly because of what I see as a wrong focus on webmasters as clients. Imo, the real constituent of a directory should always be the surfer who is trying to find something. A directory should aspire to be useful. Which is why I accepted their offer to join their team.
I oversee teams working on Taxonomy, Ad Publication Processes, Partner Cobranding, New Application Development, User Interface Development, Maps, Usability Testing, Webmaster Tools APIs, and a few other things like some of the site Analytics and Banner Ad Management Systems.
I have background in programming, graphic design, mapping, weather modelling, and SEO.
joined:Dec 10, 2005
I'm the owner/developer of a directory which I've completely custom-coded. We have geo-targeted listings broken out over about 80,000 cities world-wide. We receive about 15,000 submissions per day, and by using a combination of pre-crawling, algo-filtering, caching and human review we typically whittle this down to about 2,000 new listings per day. I've also created a thumbnail crawler which captures screen shots of the web sites for the listings.
Congrats MB + Greg, sounds like a good appointment!
While I cannot say I run a directory (well maybe sort of at a stretch), we have an old small focused travel site that has effectively a directory in each geographic region for client websites in our local state (in Australia). With backlinks to the appropriate cat from client sites we have been ranking quite well in Google for some time.
I am too a critic of directories and their failings. My main issue is usually scale and usability. Quality is also paramount, you NEED to link only to ontopic content that expands your (what I call) 'semantic footprint' so it all fit nicely together. I built all these pages by hand and they are great for SEO purposes, especially when you control the RE on both sides :D
It's interesting to see the amount of posters in here with hand-coded human edited directories. Nice going!
[edited by: Bennie at 12:46 am (utc) on Oct. 20, 2006]
[edited by: Webwork at 1:19 am (utc) on Oct. 20, 2006]
[edit reason] Welcome Bennie. Introductions only please. Thanks. [/edit]