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My site is a directory of work at home opportunities.
[edited by: skibum at 1:28 am (utc) on June 22, 2004]
[edit reason] no site specifics please [/edit]
Your problem is, at root, "unique content". I just looked at a directory category -- never mind which one. It had over four hundred unreviewed sites. Now, the whole point of a directory is that you don't have to go to, um, over hundred different sites to get an idea of what's available. And so, no matter how you cut it, at least three hundred ninety (and possibly four hundred) of those sites are not only total abysmal abject failures at the fundamental purpose of a directory, but they are actually detrimental to surfers who are trying to find content.
And as the net expands -- as more competitive "directories" arise, and the existing ones get more and more comprehensive, the further beneath worthlessness the also-ran directories become: the greater the glut on the market, the greater the drag on the economy.
So, unless your directory is comparable in size and comprehensiveness to the handful of very best current directories, we do all surfers and all advertisers a real service by not listing it. And our standards reflect that, by raising the bar every time a directory is added. The directories we added a year ago, we mostly wouldn't add now. The directories we added two years ago, we'd mostly delete if we reviewed them again. The directories we added four years ago -- we want someone to tell us about them so we can drop everything and re-review them, expecting that we'd want to do an emergency delete on most of them for quality control reasons.
If this sounds like the Red Queen talking to Alice on the other side of the looking glass -- then I've made my point. It is hard to develop "unique content" for directories -- nobody knows that better than ODP editors! In a competitive category a single-person project almost certainly can't keep up. If you aren't Isaac Asimov or Athanasius Kircher redivivus, you can safely strike the "almost".
Of course, if you did manage by some super-Herculean effort to build substantial unique content, then we'd ask if the primary purpose of the directory was to drive commercial traffic to other sites ... and the affiliate links would be a factor in that decision. But I do not believe you will ever have to face that issue.
Figure on the ODP not considering the site until it has become successful without an ODP listing.
-- Since the ODP process is so unpredictable, this is really the way everyone has to figure -- particularly commercial sites where the predominant submittal-reviewing process is spam-whacking.
-- This makes you focus on your real audience rather than on the ODP editors, which means you are not spamming the ODP.
-- This makes you focus on your real content rather than on sneaky stuff to trick the ODP editors, which means offering information and services rather than on merely avoiding the specific forms of spam which are so notorious as to achieve specific mention in the ODP policies.
-- This makes you focus on your own effort rather than the gifts of ODP editors, which is what will ultimately make the difference between success and failure.