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The Continuing Evolution of the Directory Model

Linked In Now Offers Their Version

   
2:51 pm on Mar 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator webwork is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



According to CNet's News.com the Linked In social network is about to launch their version of a business directory.

Story here. [news.com]

People poo-poo the directory model but every time someone delcares that the directory model is dead it gets reinvented . . with a new skin . . and mostly the same "intestines".

Human editing by voting, recommending, community collaboration is the latest variation of the directory model. For all the new twists you still get the same outcome: business data, sorted by humans, with a taxonomy or categorization model (tags, whatever) into some form of hierarchy.

As Mr. Tabke recently pointed out on the home page of WebmasterWorld even search results are now edited (sorted) by humans [webmasterworld.com].

If the human edited directory model of business search is dead why does it keep reappearing - in new skins?

Maybe it's never going to die? Maybe the model is regaining some traction, as existing print directories labor to reclaim their relevance online?

[edited by: Webwork at 4:54 pm (utc) on Mar. 21, 2008]

5:29 pm on Mar 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I wonder if this could have negative ramifications for LinkedIn? Does a company really want all of its employees exposed so conveniently? I used to be on the periphery of the recruiting industry, and I can imagine that seeing that data in one place would scare the heck out of the HR people. The next step would be an edict telling employees to delete their profiles or at least the company info.

Of course, even now a recruiter can just search to get this info, but I think that's not quite as visible to the corporate types.

5:33 pm on Mar 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



This is certainly an area that has been getting greater attention in the directory industry, with directory owners seeking more functionality related to business listings.

If you are searching for a doctor, how do you know which one is most liked?

These are great questions that social networked directories can answer.

[edited by: Webwork at 5:51 pm (utc) on Mar. 21, 2008]
[edit reason] Charter & See Sticky [/edit]

8:34 am on Mar 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



They are all looking for the promised land

The Daily Telegraph printed an article about Rich Skarenta [telegraph.co.uk]

The premise of the article is that the Google algo will ultimately be its downfall.

1. Skarenta's new project Blekko which isn't expected to be ready until 2009 at the earliest. The article speculates that it will be a mix of computer algo and human editors. Even so, investors and pundits have high expectations simply because of Skrenta's record.

2. Jimmy Wales has launched Wikia Search, a "human-powered" search engine - or at least, it will be, once some humans have had a chance to build it, there's not much to see yet.

3. Another human-powered site is Mahalo, which pays contributors a small amount for writing up results pages in subject areas they know well.

4. Cuill - pronounced "cool" - is another one. One of the co-founders is Anna Patterson, who helped to build the current version of Google.

Google has many strengths and many weaknesses, I personally doubt that they will/are be inflexible in moving their search methods, but there are many seekers of the promised land, which looks to be a mix of computer and human editor.

The weaknesses of the "volunteer" editors with the problems they create, versus the amount of free indexing they can do still appear to me to need resolving.

10:07 am on Mar 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Info straight from the horse's mouth
[blog.linkedin.com...]
10:31 am on Mar 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

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



Mr. Tabke - Rather formal
5:06 pm on Mar 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I don't think directories are necessarily dead. However, it seems to me that directories where Google knows you can easily get free links, are heavily devalued, and quickly dying.

It seems to me that the further a directory gets from being a free venue for backlinks, the more it has potential to become successful and valuable as a website.

1:01 pm on Mar 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Judah Ben, you're completely right, the crucial thing for directories to avoid is becoming a dumping ground for web marketeers.

It's difficult to see how a directory can consist of links without being swamped. Either the directory lets people add links freely, in which case it will be swamped by spam, or the directory has every link checked by a reliable and neutral human in which case it will be swamped by the workload.

Things like Wikipedia avoid this problem to some extent by simply discouraging external links, most articles have few or no links to external sites. This is not an option for a directory which wishes to be comprehensive.

People may try and try with directory models, but so far the momentum is clearly with search. Yahoo had by far the most famous directory in the world, the site's entire reputation was built around it, but now it's not even on the front page. Imagine if Google no longer carried a search box on its front page, what would that say about internet search services?

7:33 pm on Mar 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Directory models are dead? That 5-10K a month I make from my directory must be part of a personal delusion then, the people at the bank who accept the checks and let me spend them must be part of my delusion too. And, I guess, the humans I pay to review and edit every link application we receive are also part of my delusion. I knew I was crazy, but I didn't know it was this bad!

Luckily, I started some non-directory sites many years ago! At least the little bit I earn from those sites is real!

3:29 am on Mar 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

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



Spacylacie, are your directories for specific topics or general? I'm thinking there is a real need for good niche directories.

I know I don't want to go to some general directory where I might find a few items in my field. I'd much rather go to a more specific directory with tons of links in my area of interest and so much the better if it has been reviewed by a real person rather than just a link trade.

1:29 am on Mar 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



It's a niche directory, Anne. I didn't mean to be so sarcastic but I just think it's funny when people say that directory models are dead.
5:52 am on Mar 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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



Actually I found your response amusing.

I thought yours was niche but was checking. As I said there are real possibilities there for directories as well as with niche social networking, etc.

Cookie cutter directories covering general topics may be dead but there are endless possibilities on how a directory could look.

2:27 pm on Mar 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



the human edited directory model of business search is dead

Really? My monthly sales reports would stand in direct contrast to that statement.

Naysayers have proclaimed the death of directories for ten years + now.

Maybe it's never going to die?

From your mouth to God's ears my friend :)

1:32 pm on Mar 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



It strikes me strongly that the niche directory is emphatically the way to go,

Yet, I do so like general directories, they're good for discovery, like meandering thru a bookshop

Its great to see a few folk admitting to running profitable directories tho

Thanks for speaking up