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[edited by: skibum at 5:23 am (utc) on Jan. 13, 2004]
[edit reason] please don't mention specific sites in the forums, thanks [/edit]
Which is worth more to a user: ten auction sites, or a thousand auction sites?
The answer is absurdly obvious: obviously, it's better to have all the auctions in a few sites, so that you can see all the items in fewer keystrokes.
So, if you're starting a new auction site (and there are hundreds already out there), what is your site worth to a user?
The answer follows immediately. It is worth LESS than NOTHING. It is a useless and inconvenient way of causing difficulties for people who want to check out the options.
From the seller's viewpoint, the same analysis follows. Having MORE auction sites REDUCES the number of visitors to each one, and thus REDUCES the potential value of every item he sells.
So, you start out deeply in debt. How do you get your site up to where it's merely worth absolutely nothing? Collect content? Right: from sellers who know that your very existance harms their livelihood? Get it listed in directories that cater to surfers rather than public nuisances? Right.
It's a tough problem. Most people with auction sites simply cannot solve it. You'll have to start by creating so much content that your site is worth being one of the first few sites visited by SOMEONE -- and then showing some evidence that you are really getting the visitors the site deserves. (Probably the only possible way you could do this is with a very tight focus AND lots of initial content from some small, tightly knit community that you know well. And even that is no assurance of success.)
If you don't have the content, you won't get the ODP listing. If you are counting on an ODP listing to get the visitors to attract the content (bearing in mind they ALREADY have hundreds of auction sites listed, and even if you got a listing you would be only one of them -- it's several years too late to join that lemming swarm), then ... you're dead. Buy your shroud before you run out of money.
If you want to develop an auction site best of luck to you. If you have 1700 members ask them to link build for you on your site. Maybe one of them will turn out to be an odp editor... if so keep me in mind :)
I currently have a submission for my corporate site waiting approval on a category that is totally unrelated to the category I edit. Submissions that I had made for my clients were accepted in about 8 weeks and I was a bit dismayed that after 18 months my corporate site was still awaiting review (I know it hadn't been reviewed because I search my log files regularly). So I applied to be an editor in a category that I enjoy, not one that is within my companies market sector, although I do have an option to take on additional categories in the future.
What I have learned since signing up as a volunteer is immense. If I had this knowledge when I was submitting my and my clients sites I would have done things very differently. Every single one of my submissions was _dubious_ to say the least, badly written and probably submitted to the wrong categories.
What have I achieved from this?
Well, first off I am in a better position to submit sites in the future. I am more knowledgable of the listing guidelines and what will get you rejected.
Secondly, I personally value the input I have in creating and maintaining the ODP.
Third, I edit for a category for which I have a personal interest and will spend time not only seeking out listings but networking with market sector representatives and people with influence, putting my main business interest in a more niche market.
Finally, I am able to communicate with other editors, metas and the like very easily and can always ask directly if they can either approve or move my listing to another category.
All in, the ODP benefits from another skilled and willing editor and I gain the experience of editing categories for the ODP. Perhaps you should look at that category again and ask yourself if the reasons for choosing it were selfish or in the best interests of the project - once answered, re-apply to the correct one and you too could be editing your own site in the ODP.
Auctions sites need real work to edit properly, a very spammy area, with multiple submissions to different categories. Not an area for a first time editor no matter what his motives are.