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So far software solutions for this particular task are not that great, but will eventually improve.
Definitely human edited sites are good. So DMOZ, Joeant, skaffe services are good. But these services cannot do 100% job. There are millions of websites, thousands of cities, hundreds of countries, millions of different services. Simply put, humans can never even come closer to editing 10% of these websites.
100s of new sites take birth every day.
So, software solutions have to come to light to do this job. Search engines like google and yahoo already do that, but don't have better solutions. This is the only reason , why they rely on DMOZ.
Also, DMOZ/Joeant/Skaffe marketting mantra is, Human edited sites are always good. I agree with this, but they can never complete the task of adding all the sites.
In coming years DMOZ/Joeant/Skaffee will die under their own weight (lack of resources).
Search engines will have their own software solutions and will eventually phase out ODPs.
This is my opinion.
Because most of our add to's are paid listings the workload is manageable... and our only real issue is "dead link cleaning".... which we try to do at least 2 times / year...
We find that human intervention is necessary to maintain quality of listing descriptions and to weed out poor quality site submissions.
Once technology is advanced enough to scrap the crap and write really good quality gramatically correct site descriptions on it's own we might upgrade... but I don't see that happening for at least 10-20 years... or more.
I think humans will always be in the loop where quality counts...
Simply put, humans can never even come closer to editing 10% of these websites.
If you are talking about the millions of websites that spring up through the automated activities of spammers and such like, then you have a point.
But then why would humans even want to consider such websites for a directory?
If you are suggesting that somehow humans can create websites 10 times faster than other humans can review them, I'd not with you. It akes *longer* to review a site that to create it? Is that what you are saying.
Afterall, I could argue that 1000s of hours of TV and radio programming is created every day.....Far too much for humans to absorb. Therefor we should invent machines to watch TV for us.
and only humans can truely guage quality by direct reviewing...
so crawl the entire web - and sort it out by hand + some filters... with 1,000 employees reviewing 200 sites a day maybe it would take 2-3 years... now that's an information retrieval resource one might pay to use...
though I'd hate to see the employee turn over rate at a sweatshop like that... LoL - maybe that explains all the search companies outsourcing / moving to india and other places...
I think this is why niche directories are the way to go. Everyone (directory operator, included sites, and search engines) can be relatively sure that the sites in an honest niche directory are actually relevant to the directory's niche.
And - as you most likely know already - for every possible topic there are lots of small "directories" which are extremely dishonest. Either by just listing sites they are affiliated with, or by excluding noncommercial sites through listing fees.
WoW Directory I have set up very similar. The majority of the submissions are free submissions and lots of them but we get all accepted submissions processed within what I consider a reasonable period of time. Normally within two weeks and frequently much less. WoW also has plenty of room for expansion.