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Have directory results seen their last days?

2:30 pm on Jan 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Is the searching public getting wise to the paid directory listings at some search engine and bypassing them for the web page results?
Does the public feel that the "hand reviewed" directory listings really produce better results?
Are directory results more relevant than, say, a Google search for the same subject?
Are directory results presented merely to satisfy the urge of the maniacally obsessive, categorically organized people to drill down in the serps in a visual schema of results?
1:46 am on Jan 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Toolman, I think the answer may be, who cares?
Does it really matter if the goods or services you are searching for is a paid add or not, if I find what I am looking for and expecting.
The problem is not whether the add is paid or not but did the customer find what they were looking for.
If you compare it to the phone book, which has been the standard directory for years. There are many paid ads there. Does that stop people from buying, no!
But if you looked up 'accountants' in the phone book and found the first ten pages filled with ads for 'real estate or credit cards', you would be very upset.

You could say the Internet is not a phone book, but that is how most people view it. It's logical that people think that way because the Internet is user initiated. It's the user who 'searches' for information.

This is very different than the television where they sit back and are entertained and some commercials are 'pushed' out.

So, the poeople who push junk when someone is looking for other goods and service is doing themselves and everyone else a big disservice.
Why do they do this, because they believe that it's an eyeball game like television.

Waste of money but it's their money.

2:59 pm on Jan 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Hi toolman,

Can you clarify a little please. Is it the directory structure or paid directory listings that you are asking about?

4:37 pm on Jan 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

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To clarify: for instance, an average, normal, web-surfing person goes to their default browser page at MSN...are they likely to contain their search within the directory results and be satisfied or are they whizzing past the "paid" stuff to get to the other "paid" stuff....ink pages.
The numbers on my ink pages suggests a fair amount do.

The question arises from the fact that I believe we may have hit the point of commercial saturation in the paid directories (ODP too). The fact that the price is high to get in almost eliminates anyone except those with a cash flow in their future from their site.

Does John Q "sense" that he's being "set up" with all the "paid" "hand reviewed" stuff? (Exclude the Overto.com results for this argument - that's another thing altogether)

Does John Q. have an innate sense of "fairness" about him that drives him to look for more democratic results?

Has all the "force-feeding" of web advertising made John Q. numb to the stuff that gets presented "at the top"?

As willtell said who cares? If the results are relevant then thats fine. The problem is that at MSN (Look$marts biggest customer) I don't believe the results are up to par. It is a very poor engine to find stuff with....that reflects heavily upon L$.

Yahoo is the opposite. Do you get referrals from the Y? directory? If you said yes then chances are you're an ecommerce type site. Yahoo is a huge online flea market and tons of John Q's go there to find stuff. But once again the results can be dated and the overall experience "carnivalesque".

From a user experience point of view where would you go to find stuff?

8:19 pm on Jan 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Okay, thanks for clarifying. There is a lot of ground to cover here.

Two things:

1. I think the days of big general directories are passing. As has been mentioned here before, the Web has just gotten too big for them to index. There is a place for at least one big directory - when I get garbage listings on a Google or other SE search I generally turn to ODP as an authority to point out the "war horse" sites on the topic.

The problem is, over time, you become familier with the listings in a directory for your topics so you end up only checking up on things every once in awhile to see if anything new has been added.

2. Yes paid or unpaid commercial saturation is a problem in the general directories. People look too these places as authorities (see #1 above) when they yield dead links and Yet Another Spammy Commercial Site people turn elsewhere.

Maybe the addition of Zeal listings will help Looksmart on this aspect. They need it. Yahoo seems to be de emphisising search and the directory and ODP may be just becoming too big and unmanagable.

From a personal standpoint I do like SE's that also have ODP on hand. And I like topic specific directories. I think the public wants whatever gets them results.


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