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