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Are directories really built to be useful anymore?

How tp make one worthwhile



7:59 pm on Jul 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Knowing the industry as I do, I often wonder if directories are built solely for quick cash flow and little else.

I believe in the old great resources like Galaxy (before the web got greedy) and find there are actually few good authority sites out there. Okay, we have good ones such as WebmasterWorld, Search Engine Watch and Gimpsy but little else. You can soon judge whether a site is designed for the user or not.

I visited vlib.org recently, and was impressed at the less cluttered style and clear usefulness of it. The Googles and Yahoos just want money and I reckon the user and advertiser really suffers. Dmoz is getting a bad rep, and Ask has user base of such mixed feelings, who knows where it's going.

Just seems to me that the web has become 90% garbage over the years, when it was once something great - full of information, and not ads! Will anyone be able to sort this mess out?


11:11 am on Jul 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

Will directories stay as info resources, and will they really be useful in the future? Setting up a directory so it houses somebody elses feed cannot be useful, as it then becomes a copy of Google, Ask Alix, dmoz etc etc.

When will someone create something great again.

Matt Probert

1:07 pm on Jul 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Funny you should ask this.

We are building a directory of information sites. We currently link to useful information sites through our encyclopaedia articles and are also building a directory of same.

With regard to advertising, we are a commercial concern. We have two choices; charge for access or carry adverts. The reality is that people will rarely pay for access, so we carry adverts.



1:13 pm on Jul 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

We are also building a directory and are going to charge for links being listed under the correct category, pointing to the customerís website. We havenít started sales yes, but are already listed in the top 10 of 95% of the keywords we went after in Yahoo, and are waiting for the Google listings to do a little better. We already have a list of companies that want to pay to be listed.

I guess what Iím tying to say is that directories are good as long as there is a market for them in the field your in.

The Contractor

1:18 pm on Jul 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

vlib.org ...hmm seems pretty bare to me, so yes it is very "uncluttered". Many index page topics don't exist and are not linked.

Yes, I believe you can build niche directories that are useful (if you know quite a bit about the subject/material).

A large scale directory is something that is very tough to get started, maintain, and grow. It takes a "lot" of manpower/time. A pretty basic large scale general directory may have several thousand categories without being regional in nature. If you humanly seeded that directory with five listings per category you would have 10's of thousands of listings. Consider that it takes 10-15 minutes to manually go through a site, review it, check for mirror sites etc. you would be working for some years on it at 2,080 hours a year. Add regionalization into it and it grows even more.

Look at dmoz for instance. They add 1000's of sites a day "for free" and they get more complaints from submitters than any directory I know of.


9:44 pm on Jul 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yes, this is the main barrier to having a directory at all. I find myself fighting against administration, and mine has under 1000 categories!

So many say it's easy to set one up, but I disagree - it's damn hard graft lol! (when you don't use a feed)

But I prefer to have my own creation/results, as they wouldn't be MY clients if I used a feed. There are many directories, but few decent pure resources and this is a big problem. Generals are just too deep, and takes ages to find that diamond bit of info you need so badly. I don't think Yahoo and Google are all that anymore - it's very frustrating indeed.

Even Dmoz gets complaints, and that's free so.......

Unless you have major cash, I'd forget trying to build something to compete with the majors, it's just too much work (without a feed) and without a true gimmick, you're stuffed anyway. The only directory that has done well is Gimpsy, but that's because it does the thinking for the user (sort of).

Dmoz too has major problems, as big as it is, should have charged for listings a long time ago, and I think it's set itself up as way too choosy. If you can't get into a 'free' major player - then it's cut it's own throat. Plus they can never now charge for listings as they've been free for too long. I don't reckon people would stand for the charges somehow - even as good as it is. If google cancels their partnership, what then? Is a directory's reputation/usefulness boil down to the size of it's partnerships? Or should it be able to carry itself without backing? Now there's a question..

But getting back to the original point, with all this garbage about, how does one ensure quality, without the costs associated with large players. I don't think it can be done, as advertising costs are tremendous alone. I haven't even begun to comment on manpower or time involved. Maybe I shouldn't have started a directory at all. It's such a risk to do it properly.

There are maybe 10 good major directories and perhaps 70 decent portals out there (major players here). Everything else is trash and gives no value. We must have that value as users.

The web is about information or I thought it was?


12:20 am on Jul 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I get a kick out of many new and some old directories out today. They have no cached pages yet webmasters run to them to submit. If the pages are not cached what good is it.
Another major factor is the directory design, if itís the 1990ís style with cached pages showing primarily the directories name itís useless to the submitter. The pages are not going to come up in a search related to the topic your submission is in. Look for directories with at least 15,000 topics cached, ďnot search results and add URL pages and other web litterĒ You also want a directory that has good and relevant descriptions to the topic your website is in; not primarily the directory title.
Look at the cached pages, are they showing a good concentration the of topic specific keywords? Do they have your topic cached? If not donít waste your time submitting. This cuts the directories that are truly worth submitting to just a dozen or so.


6:26 am on Jul 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I believe that directories have their place on the web. The web has grown so much that many quality sites are never found and this is where directories come in. Of course there will always be people trying to make a quick buck but over time the quality directories will stand the test of time.

I believe that something that is free can never last because in the end money needs to come from somewhere to maintain it. The internet was free but people wanted more out of the internet and that took man power and research. That's where the money problem started happening and services that were once free are not anymore.

If you think about, the web has never had so much to offer. Right now we are living in the best times for the internet because of what can be found in it.

The good old days never existed because back then we had something else to complain about.


6:16 pm on Jul 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The Googles and Yahoos just want money and I reckon the user and advertiser really suffers.

Yes. Exactly.

The Open Directory is a useful directory, and by far the most important site on the Internet.


12:13 am on Jul 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Nothing is free anymore. I guess I can't blame them really, costs have to be met, and with growth comes even greater costs.

I reckon by the end of 2005, every directory will charge and most of the 3rds tiers will be gone in some way. The smaller guys can't compete unless they have quality listings that are different in some way, and that sort of development costs. Without something special, they won't be able to draw enough returning visitors and so can't ask advertisers to pay, without the traffic.

No point in just 'hanging' in there hoping to be bought up either, because if nobody visits anyway, they have nothing to sell to investors. Game over I'd say. This is the web these days - if you don't charge then you die, but some are destined to do that anyway. It's about power and cashflow.


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