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Why Can’t a Directory Be a Directory?

Here's a useful one...

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Web directories don’t exactly have the reputation of being helpful resources for finding information. Most have become endless pits of links, and wading through them to find anything useful is next to impossible.

Then there are the human-edited ones that tend to be more useful, but are aimed more at the submitter promoting their business than they really are towards the user who is there to find information. Often times these directories offer paid links, further proving that they are really there for promotional purposes.

Why can’t a directory be there to be simply that – a directory? A directory of useful information to the common person who wants to find helpful resources.

"Who needs one of those when we have Google, Yahoo, and so many other search engines," you might ask. Quite frankly, no matter how much emphasis search engines put on relevancy, let’s face it. If you want to find a collection of useful resources on a particular topic, you will be left wading through pages and pages to come up with them.

The eBusiness Directory at directory.webpronews.comSince you are obviously a WebProNews reader, there’s no question that you’re interested in eBusiness, and that is why we are introducing the eBusiness Directory, a directory that is dedicated to indexing only useful links to sites within the niche of eBusiness. This directory is a single place to find all of the resources you need to successfully run any aspect of an online business, from marketing to programming.

Like all directories, it is a work in progress. We are open to submissions, but only sites that we feel will be truly beneficial to you – the user, will make the cut. We aren’t selling any links. The eBusiness Directory will not sell out. We are dedicated to keeping this thing as useful as possible, and not cluttered with a bunch of junk.

It will be very strictly human-edited. Do not expect your link to appear in the directory unless it is truly top-notch. There are boxes throughout the directory containing hand-picked links to sites we feel will be valuable to the user, but even these are not paid. Submission is 100% free.

Due to the fact that the directory indexes only sites under the eBusiness niche, and because we are focusing on quality, the amount of listings will be limited. We see that as a good thing.  Some directories, like the old Yahoo! Directory for example, are often useful at first, but become less useful as they are bombarded with submissions, but that is the beauty of keeping this one related to a niche.

Don’t think it will be too limited, though. There are many sub-categories within the niche of eBusiness, and we intend for this directory to cater to all of them, and like all directories it is a work in progress and will continue to expand.

To aid the expansion of the directory, please feel free to leave us feedback. I will personally read it, and suggestions will be considered by myself and the WebProNews team of designers and developers.

If you feel that your site is truly of use and a cut above the rest, please submit it.  If you want to find good information on eBusiness, go to the eBusiness Directory at directory.webpronews.com, bookmark it, check back often for updates, and most of all, USE IT!

Why Can’t a Directory Be a Directory?
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  • http://www.crearedesign.co.uk Adam – Creare Web Design

    You’re right about the uselessness of most directories – just links to terrible sites with no other purpose than having an extra link for the website.

    Google is pretty much a directory tool which can be searched through, like you said. I hope the WPN directory is a cut above.

    • http://www.arperture.com MGM

      I agree that directories have to be more then just a directory to survive in this day and age of websites. If directories don’t involve some-kind of point system or game with management and the ability to get paid from surfing it wont be very popular in the long run and will have a high bounce rate.

      What if the directory was half social networking and half directory?

      Thats how http://www.arperture.com is. You can comment and rate sites giving them a bigger edge in  search results. I could list more but that link has them so just visit and check them out.


      • Chris Crum

        That’s an interesting idea. We do plan to have a blog up on it soon, which will give users a forum to leave comments and feedback, and for our team and myself to discuss updates and things.

    • Chris Crum

      We’ll do our best to keep it that way. Users will play a big role in making it better as time goes on by submitting quality sites and expanding the directory. It will become more useful over time based on the quality control, unlike most directories that just build up worthless links making them less useful.

  • http://www.justBurbank.com Libby

    Years ago my mom and I faced the issue of trying to find local businesses/services in our area and, like everyone else, the first place we went to find a local florist (or dentist, or programmer, etc) was Google. We experienced a lot of frustration because the results we were given were often not complete and full of not truely local businesses.

    Since then, we decided to take on this issue and create a local directory for the city we live in (Burbank, CA) that lists ALL Burbank businesses. I’ve done a lot of research and seen exactly what you are seeing…other "local" directories that are not much more than link farms. Your article was right on the money. I am seeing more and more of this type of criticism and am hopeful that in the next few years more directories will actually become useful.

    Thanks for the article.

     

    • Chris Crum

      Thanks for the kind words, Libby. You’re right. I think directories in general have become too geared toward the submitters and not enough toward the users.

  • http://www.getbiz.co.uk Emmanuel

    Is it an article for the sole purpose of propmoting WPN directory? One can find 1000s of niche directories out there alreay.

    Agree with the fact that niche directories can be more useful than general directories in some cases, specially when you know what you are looking for. General directories on the other hand provide a good way to "browse around", which is particularly useful when one doesn’t particularly know exactely what they are looking for.

    Emmanuel

    GetBiz, B2B search engine

    • Chris Crum

      Of course we want to promote the directory. Particularly to the intended audience, which includes people that read WebProNews.

      I suppose the general directories can be useful for mindless surfing, with not goal of finding anything related to any particular niche, but you are still likely going to find a lot of “junk” sites. This will be eliminated here, and you can find useful things that you might not have been looking for but they will still be within the niche of eBusiness in one capacity or another.

  • http://www.dreamworldstudios.com Minneapolis Web Design

    Users aside, is it true that Google places a lot of importance on directories vs. smaller niche sites becuase of all the information available?

    In other words, isn’t a site more vaulable (SEOwise) if it has more pages than it’s competiors in general?

    Also, wouldn’t a site generally be seen by an average user as a more trustworthy site becuase of the amount of content avaiable? More is better?

    These are questions that just popped into my head after reading the comments.

    Thanks!

    • Chris Crum

      I believe it will appear more trustworthy based on the fact that while it may have fewer listings, the listings it has are quality and not filled with terrible sites, spammy ones, and whatnot.

      And hopefully it will grow large enough to where this won’t even be a factor.

      “Users aside” is really a non-issue, because this is for the users.

      This is only my own speculation, but I believe as far as Google is concerned, Quality links found in the company with other relevant ones would carry more weight than quality links that are lumped in with poor-quality ones.

      • http://www.dreamworldstudios.com Minneapolis Web Design

        Sorry I wasn’t necessarily referring to your new directory just directories in general and how Google looks at them.

        Thanks!

  • Alastair McKenzie

    Welcome to the world of directories. :}

    Are you ready for your friends to start distancing themselves from you in the bar? Because running a ‘real’ directory is a bit like running a massage business for sports injuries…everyone (inc google) will assume it is the other kind of massage service.

    One ‘yardstick’ question… What percentage of your listings will be generated by you?  There is a difference between a list of widget manufacturers and a list of widget manufacturers who happened to submit to your directory.

     

    • Chris Crum

      I don’t think I can give you an exact percentage on that, but the majority thus far have been generated by us, though the percentage will hopefully become much more balanced as we get more submissions.

  • http://www.greedy.com Greedy

    Hi

    Do you think everyone is stupid?  iEntry owns about 200 other FREE directories and none of them are worth anything. The templates where ripped on most and the creators links removed which is against the terms of service when you downloaded them.

    So anyway what makes us think that this directory will be any different then the others you own that just sit and grow mold? Where you so bored that you had to pimp an article about how great this NEW Free directory will be? Dude get a life as this link bait isnt going to work

    As for Paid Directories

    Let me explain that a paid directory offers a "Review Fee" which is what you get (a review, usually within 48 hours) as thiers nothing etched in stone that says your link will be accepted under any circumstances. Another thing that the review fee goes towards is advertisng and marketing for that directory and yearly maintence for that directories links.

    Good luck with this new  201st  iEntry Free directory

    lmao

    greedy

    • Chris Crum

      Hi Greedy,

      No I don’t think everyone is stupid. iEntry does have a variety of other directories, and admittedly, they do not all get the special attention that this one does, but they are apparently worth something to somebody, if the amount of submissions they receive are any indication.

      I think the above article pretty much explains why this one is different, and I don’t expect to convince you as you already seem pretty set against it. But that’s fine. I don’t think your site would be accepted anyway because I have not been able to reach it without getting “page not found”.

      Anyway, skepticism is understandable, as directories in general have become seen as worthless to many, but thank you for wishing us luck!

  • http://www.ashbysonline.com Tom Ashby

    The overall value of this directory, like any "human-edited" directory will only be as good as the opinions of it’s human editors.  How biased will you be, what criteria will you use to "judge" a sites value, or lack of?  Will there only be One person making the decision to allow a site in, or will there be a panel?

    Just curious.  Thanks.

    • Chris Crum

      Yes, opinions do vary, and inclusion will be based on the opinions of our editors, which at this point is mainly me, but these types of questions will be addressed on our FAQ page when we get it up (the whole thing is still a work in progress). I’ll tell you right now, the main criteria, is: “Could this site help someone run their online business more effectively?”

  • http://www.VerticalMeasures.com Arnie

    Chris, I thought this was a good article and glad to see you are developing some directories the right way. 

    I think Libby is right — niche directories can serve a valuable purpose and are difficult for SEOs to exploit.

    I also think Greedy got up on the wrong side of the bed.

    • Chris Crum

      Thanks Arnie, you’re right. This one is not here for exploitation :)

  • http://www.natural-life.ca Louis

    I totally agree with your article that the user should be the focus of the directory, and not the businesses submitting. That’s why I started my own niche directory that lists all-natural businesses in Toronto. All submissions are free, and human edited, and I have google ads to help pay my minimal costs to run the site. I find it’s a very useful site for people in Toronto looking for organic food or natural health care and other similarly focused businesses.

    • Chris Crum

      If people find it useful, how can it be a bad thing?

      • http://www.moovinonup.com/ SEO

        are poeple finding them useful lot of them are hard to find any good info

  • http://www.aussiedirectory.com.au australian web direcroty

    having an Australian web directory I try to focus on website that are relevant to the Australian community. no point of havng a website that can’t serve the need that a local person has. That’s the reason why I have a section for non Australian sites

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