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Directory as sales vehicle

Am I expecting too much from a directory as business model?

     
1:39 am on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I am building a directory that encompasses a specific niche defined somewhat by vertical but more by the fact that all directory listings currently distribute their product in the same way.

The advantages for companies which list their products on the directory are many-fold:
1. Standard directory listing benefits of inbound link, traffic, etc.
2. Ability to purchase product directly from the directory in addition to current channels.
3. Ability to sell product from our app.

I should also mention that the product these companies sell can be digitally delivered but hasn't in the past.

At the present time, there is no one place where a consumer can easily find a selection of these products and there are thousands of such items.

My questions are:

1. Can the directory structure/format help reduce the budget needed to market our site to potential consumers, I.e.,will it rank high enough to garner the requisite traffic to make it worthwhile to sell premium listings?

2. Does it "taint" a directory if it is commercialized as I described above in the eyes of the SEs? Does commercialization water down the reputation of the directory?

I'm new in this space and any advice would be very much appreciated.
3:11 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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How is "a directory as a sales vehicle" different from a "catalog merchant", one whose catalog is online - such as Sharper Image or Fredricks or Northern Tool?
3:47 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Webwork's got it right.

Or put another way, some retailers charge manufacturers for shelf space, or for premium placement within the store, or ask that they provide co-marketing dollars for ad campaigns.

I would approach it from that perspective - you're a retailer, not a directory.
4:55 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Then we would have to remove the retail feature of the site to be a pure directory. We don't really want to be a retailer, but thought it would reduce the number of clicks to purchase for the companies in our directory.

Thanks for the clarification.
 

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