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Directory Survival

For profit or passion?



2:01 pm on Jul 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

What's the survival expectancy for new directories vs the established? And are they built to serve and go on to do better things these days, or is this about greed for profit... Personally, I feel the majority of directories are built to make cash for the owners and nothing more.

Many directories out there are merely shells, built for profit and provide little ROI benefits for their clients - regardless of status and budget. The client must come first, be given outstanding advantage for them to return and advertise again. Unfortunately you can tell through coversing on forums, that this isn't the intention of some directory owners. What then does this say about the service they provide, and if that's the case, then will exisiting clients return to purchase again. I say no, they won't.

Are you guys and girls doing this for passion or just profit? And if clients suffer bad service, results etc, what are the steps to remedy the situation?


12:51 pm on Sep 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks klackers,
We have put a lot into Skaffe this year and have more on the drawing board at this time, projects like fast and efficient mobile access will probably be the next big addition. We also have a complete script rewrite scheduled to start in December. Today I'm ordering another dedicated mail server due to the overwhelming response we received from the 1GB mail. We are growing very fast but except for the rapid mail usage growth had all the resources in place to facilitate it.


10:35 pm on Sep 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Gimpsy actually used to send me more traffic in the first 3 months now it seems to have dwindled.
There may be several factors that can explain it, but one thing that Gimpsy acts differently from other directories is that the RANK is changed every month at random, except for new submissions and sites that bid for a high place in the category. The data accumulated in the last few years indicates that 70% of all clicks in Gimpsy are given to sites that show up on the first page of the category - the first 10. That is very much in line with the experience of search engines in general, but a factor not usually mentioned in regard to directories.



1:26 am on Sep 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Gimpsy's RANK is changed every month at random

So sites in gimpsy, get their rank changed periodically. So what is one site's rank based on? eg. what criteria are the ranks given to sites?

Does this mean that Gimpsy's survival tactic is to swap it's client website rankings about?


3:06 am on Sep 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks for the reply, mrdch. That's possible for the decrease, but my site has always been on the first page because there are less than 3 sites in my topic.

Knowing that you do this is a little discouraging. If one site is better than the others it belongs up top in my opinion. I can see your way as a benefit to the users, but it also hurts the listings popularity links if you keep switching them on Google from first page to second/third etc... I'm not trying to deter you from continuing. After all, it is your site, but some reasoning behind your madness would be helpful. ;)


1:24 am on Sep 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The reasons for this system are very simple, but perhaps not trsnsparent to the casual browser.

One can have two ways of sorting sites: Arbitrary or by merit. We do not consider the arbitrary method (say alphabetically or by PR) to have any validity, because it reflects something which may, or may not, be important to the user. By definition, arbitrary is just... arbitrary.

While we all love to think that we know a good thing when we se it, at Gimpsy we consider the notion that an editor can determine the rank of sites with some validity to be a deluded perception. What appears to someone as a great site is nothing but a pretentious and useless site to another. Hence, relying on someone's taste and values to determine the rank of sites in a category is also fairly arbitrary. To see for yourself, just check the same category in several directories that allow the editors to determine the rank of a site and you will see how little consistency there is. Moreover, if the category is one that you consider yourself to be an expert in, I bet you will not agree with the ranking either.

Last, but not least, the editorial system at Gimpsy and the site selection process ensures that every site in each category can provide the service that the category implies. For example, all the sites in 'learn > programming' category actually provide that service online. That means that the user can obtain that service from ANY of the sites in it.

In view of the above, changing the rank every month is simply the fairer option that provides the site owners with an opportunity to get exposure at the top and puts in from of the user sites that otherwise may have been confined to the n-th page of the category, with no good reason.

Madness it may be - but it is systematicly thought through :)


8:07 am on Sep 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

Ahhhh, I see. The site shuffle is to give limited exposure, hey not bad. But... are these little 'extras' enough for survival, I say it will need a lot more than a reshuffle of sites.

The portal route for directories may seem doable, except it's largly been done already and very expensive to do properly, which leaves only one option open.

Invent a unique service!

Even Gimpsy with it's different way of searching, will need to keep up with the rest in some way and that means new ideas are needed all the time. It's not enough anymore to be a one-hit (idea) wonder as people are demanding, advertisers and searchers want more and more - it's gotta be provided in order to maintain the edge over competitors. Expanding services to rival competitors just isn't enough anymore for survival, and the public will be able to tell if products/services have been copied - thus copied ideas won't have the impact or originality.

You need 'pulling power'.


2:45 am on Oct 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

I was approached by a new directory the other day, and when I checked them out, they had a very familiar advanced listing - very similar to Kellysearch.com.

Now, I'm all for new and different services, but how can copying something that's been done 1000 times over impress anybody, if something brand new isn't original, then how can it survive. Now this directory is owned by a newspaper, so they aren't short of funds - well if that's the case, why don't they just pay for something decent and take over the market with a brilliant service? I don't understand why people that have tons of cash have to copy others.

If someone is ahead of whoever, in the marketplace, then copying someone has got to be the dumbest move ever - as the Number 1 site will always win on popularity no matter what you steal from them.


1:58 am on Oct 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

some certainly buy lot's of domains and link them all to the 1 directory, thus giving the appearance of 'many' directories in a hopefully percieved 'group' - except there is no real group at all. These tricks will ruin the reputation of whatever directory and spoil what could be a good business model.

We built out portal / directory network with each locality being under it's own domain name. I am not sure why this is considered such a "bad" thing?

Each portal is independent of each other running it's own set of pages and content / search script. It made sense to do thing's this way to keep each portal as it's own entity... so they can be housed on their own servers much easier if needed...

We started with 1 local directory and after 2 years demand saw us expand across Australia... we recently opened up a bunch of sites for USA business and those are growing slowly but surely...

We start each directory by offering free listings and as they fill up and become more used we ask for paid inclusion because they start costing us more money to maintain etc...

It's taken us 5 years to get where we are - with just 2 people working 70 hour weeks for all that time... and it is only now just paying the rent and keeping food on the table... it's scary to think that sooo many directories are popping up and fading away = our genuine effort to help local business and users often gets lumped in with the scammers and try hards...

We hope persistance and continued hard work will see our efforts turn into something really really neat and truely useful for people... as well as raising our standard of living a bit more...

We know our efforts are working for people and business here in Oz = we get new paid listings every week... and clients are letting us know they are getting hits and business sales... so we figure it's just a matter of time to grow the sites and content in our newer directories.

We didn't see much money from our efforts for the first 3 years... it's definitely passion that keept us going - and after 5 years it gets VERY tedious and burn out does happen...

We keep reminding ourselves of our "vision" that we saw for our network and keep at it... I guess the real reward outside of having the rent paid and food on table is that we are helping people and businesses succeed - and as my partner says "we may not be making a lot of money for ourselves - but we are definitely helping other people make money and feed their families - so there's a lot of good Karma in that"

LoL - maybe all that Karma will help me pick the Trifecta on the Melbourne Cup... -O)


1:16 am on Oct 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Now that is a nice story. It is indeed a passion thing to start off with and it's nice to help blah blah etc etc - BUT the reality of this is that the bills have gotta be paid, and businesses in general fail due to lack of cash flow. Directories have gotten a bad rep over the last few years, mainly from bad sales drives, overpricing and miscalculation of a directory's worth, lack of understanding of how to advertise and just bad ideas.

It's a wonder there are sooooo many still about, yet still expecting and praying they'll 'make it', but the reality is most never do hit the big time, and with 2% of online businesses going bust each year - there is obviously some truth there. I commented on another thread that 2 went bust last year, and this is how tough it is to survive without a good business idea.

It's not enough to stick up a directory anymore and cream off the ole adsense - the darn thing has to be promoted and it ain't easy, everything ends up costing an arm and a leg. Can't rely on link exchanges to solve the problem, be at it for the rest of human life, and I know as I've done it. Talk of links suddenly taking off and rocketing a no hoper site to great dizzy heights is silly talk, and unhelpful.

Talk of 'secrets' and knowledge that nobody else in the world could possibly know, except some 20 something kid in his bedroom with no life experience, has somehow beaten experienced businessmen with the 11th wonder of the world. It's garbage like this that gives sales a bad name and then trust just goes out the window. No wonder companies shy away or panic at the mere thought of 'yet another' directory hassling them for cash. Jeeze, it's frightening.

That's why this directory thing has bitten the dust, I mean can anybody actually blame business owners from running for cover every time the phone rings? I know where their coming from, as I get the same crap myself.

"Lets talk about our new, unique directory - only 180 per month" Yeah, you, Tom, Dick and Harry and the rest of the world. So what? What is so special and different about the next directory - nothing, that's what. It's tough enough just gaining the first few thousand links, but a directory will only truly be used if it's unique and the rest will die - it's not mystical, or secretive or any mumbo jumbo, it's fact that people won't tolerate anything less than special.

Just ask the ones that went bust, and then you'll find the 'secret' alright. Directories making 100' of thousands of pounds per year - god, I just hope mine survives. If I make a hundred thousand per year, I'll come back and buy WebmasterWorld.


11:07 pm on Oct 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

We built out portal / directory network with each locality being under it's own domain name. I am not sure why this is considered such a "bad" thing?

Each portal is independent of each other running it's own set of pages and content / search script. It made sense to do thing's this way to keep each portal as it's own entity... so they can be housed on their own servers much easier if needed

Nothing wrong with that. I meant sites that buy up say 20 domains and use scripts to turn 1 single directory into 20, even though it's really just the 1 site been copied over and over again - to look like an entire network. Of course it's different when using different domains for each site and making each one different by area, colour, site design and different local info for each site kind of thing. That's a genuine network.

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