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Web Directories and Human Reviews: Hand Edit or Death by Spam?

What is your approach to directory submissions and directory spamming?



3:08 pm on Oct 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator webwork is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Do you:
  • Accept all submissions?
  • Accept all submissions that strictly comply with submission standards and deleted the rest?
  • Accept most submissions "as is" and delete blatant crap?
  • Screened and edit every submission?

Which approach do you take? Why? Has your approach changed over time?

I'm taking a "tell 'em, show 'em, tell 'em again" approach to minimizing editing . . . but some people just don't get it. They don't want to. They can't be bothered reading. Whatever. Bye-bye.

Bots never get it but that's a different issue. ;0)

[edited by: Webwork at 4:22 pm (utc) on Oct. 24, 2006]


3:45 pm on Oct 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Since day one all submissions have been screened and edited by a carbon-based life form :) and it will probably always remain that way. The alternative, obviously, is Death by Spam.


5:37 pm on Oct 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

We find the businesses we want in our directories, we upload their basic information and we work with them to enhance their listings. If we get an unsolicited listing we check it against our database, look at the site and if we want the listing we add it. Otherwise we discard it.

We generally start with 4-7,000 listings in our database when we launch a new directory and we send out up to 10,000 postcards announcing the directories to people in that business

It takes more work but in the end we feel it makes a better directory for each niche we launch.


4:44 am on Oct 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

We definitely screen and edit every submission. About 5 out of every 100 submissions are accepted. By the time they actually get added, usually a month or so has passed, a minimum of 3 editors have reviewed the site and a paid writer has written a custom summary of the site. Even the writer's comments get reviewed and occasionally edited before final inclusion. Then, every 3 months categories get a manual review where we remove the "weakest links". Quality rather than quantity has been our biggest concern in recent years since we are getting so many submissions and finding quality sites ourselves is becoming easier.


8:17 am on Oct 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member quadrille is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

There are tens of thousands of directories; very few make any money at all, and even fewer have good reputation.

If you want to do well, you need to decide from the word 'go', to be a Quality Directory.

I think you'll find that answers the question ;)


8:05 am on Oct 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I think you have to edit and approve each and every listing these days.

For myself personally, I notice the sites that are submitted to us and meet all the necessary criteria for a listing tend to pump out the same description on all directories that they submit too or they pull the description that we ask for straight from there site.

With the way Google has been about duplication, we make sure that we write custom descriptions for each listing that we list. Doing this takes time so it causes a major backlog and queue, but oh well.. if they ain't paying me.. they can wait to be listed. :D


6:53 pm on Oct 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Most submissions require hand editing of the titles and descriptions to remove keyword stuffing.

If you have clear terms posted you can eliminate some of the submissions that don't meet your standards, but a lot of people skip over them.


6:31 pm on Oct 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

For my directory sites:

1. All submissions require email verification, (bounceback message with with random generated key in link to stop bots and spammers). All form data is logged. All form submit IPs are logged.

2. Manual review / edit of every submission.

3. Spammy, blatant repeat posts, stuff that's completely off-topic, people who submit to multiple categories, etc.. get their work deleted with no explanation. (Genuine mistakes get a quick note that their submission has been published as is, edited or deleted).

Accurate, complete, correctly submitted listings get a simple personal "Thank you" email, (which may include a little promotional blurb about paid advertising, other web site services, etc.. whatever applies to the site/listing).


8:38 pm on Nov 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I find that charging a submission fee cuts down on 99.9% of the spam.

Also adding some automated corrections to submission fields helps to keep the sanity. For example, for some reason submitters (including myself ;)) tend to include a superfluous "and more." at the end of the description. Let the php take care of fixing the tedious stuff like removing "and more" and adding a missing "http://" from the URL, that saves time during the human review for more useful editing.


1:50 pm on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I believe it's best to rewrite every submission that gets approved. Submitters tend to use the same titles and descriptions on every submission they do, so if you approve submissions without rewriting you'll end up with a lot of not-so-unique content.


9:18 am on Nov 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

"...best to rewrite every submission that gets approved.... without rewriting you'll end up with a lot of not-so-unique content."


I agree. While reviewing I rewrite and visit the site they are listing. I may add text like; "site contains usefull information about...", or "impressive graphics and lots of fresh content"...

Part of the rewrite is to keep all listing semi-uniform. It is difficult to browse through a directory when each listing looks different.

Some things to do; make phone numbers all use common format, edit titles to all use common case, (e.g. - all are upper, or all mixed --- not some of each). The eye can scan large amounts of info better when there is a pattern, (e.g.- you may be scanning by price, town, telephone area code, etc.. if every listing had those elements in different order or format within the listing, users would have a hard time finding what they want).

No "one liners". No direct sales pitches, (e.g.- "Call us for best price on widgets"), etc.

If the person submitting cuts and pastes a mini-novel, I boil it down to a consistent amounts of text.

I also only keep complete listings, (if I can't find enough info to contact someone at the site or business the site is about, it goes in the scrap heap).

No deep links into "free web page" type sites.

Periodically check if links have died and remove or repair listing.


BTW - Happy Turkey Day 2006!


7:49 am on Nov 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


I get around 200-300 submissions per day to my link directory..

out of those 200-300 I delete 90-95% of sites submitted to my directory...

I am the only person that goes over the sites submitted to my directory and that is because I only want quality sites in my directory..

I feel if I keep this up over time my directory will be a directory
of quality links and thus pay off in the long run.

I get many submissions from sites that are not English, Or directed siteds... or multi spammed sites etc...

For me I am not really worried as it only takes 1sec to check the delete box and I can delete 20-50 submissions in one go..

The only thing that Sh*ts me is when the same person submits their site over and over week after week...

Well that is how I do it..

i would love to tell you all about my directory.... but not sure if I can...

Im new here but Im going to share loads with everyone...

Tom Dahne

[edited by: skibum at 10:18 am (utc) on Nov. 25, 2006]

The Contractor

11:24 am on Nov 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

The only thing that Sh*ts me is when the same person submits their site over and over week after week...

I take it the script you are using does not allow you to block submissions by URL, Email, IP, or specific words?


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