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People edited niche directories?


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#1 Arnvid

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 08:05 PM

People edited niche directories?

I find it hard to imagine a huge people edited directory as DMOZ and Yahoo! popping up from nowhere. Still there is another option that maybe would be more realistic, although I have not seen anything in that direction so far.

As many know, itís hard to build and optimise sites for the main search keywords, but if one dive into niches - then the options are stronger. It is "only" in this direction I can see possibilities of new pilot directories.

One of the problems of directories that should "cover everything" is editors, to get many enough that are capable of doing the job that got to be done.

On the other side I don't see it as impossible to get enough good editors to manage lets say a niche directory for gardening, sections of sports or parts of the animal kingdom.

Imagine then many good niche directories tapped through lets say an open source search portal? Even if such a search portal for niche directories would not cover all searches - I do believe it could attract quite a number of users?

Or, is all this "old news", tested and done and today hidden in a dusty cellar room somewhere?

#2 bragadocchio

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 09:00 PM

We're fans of human edited directories around here. Take a visit to the Cre8asite Resource Library, and you'll know what I mean.

A directory of glossaries can be pretty awesome. As can nice small niche directories about specific subjects.

Even better are directories that are put together by someone who is extremely knowledgeable about a particular subject. And when they provide annotations to their links that explain why a page is linked to. For instance, the Link Controversy Page isn't the biggest directory on the web, but it's one that I'd go to if I had a questions on hyperlinks and the law.

#3 CityTownInfo

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Posted 11 May 2004 - 07:18 PM

Personally I love niche directories.

As a former ODP editor I enjoy the public service of the big directories. However there is more control, feedback and satisfaction from running a niche directory.

Examples CityTown.info, USHosital.info and soon to come CountyState.info

I think that people would prefer niche directories if they could find them more easily. Nothing more irritating than digging through the maze of a universal directory for the unexperienced.

[url=http://grackelfish.com/][b]Grackelfish a directory of topical and general directories, link sites, top lists and webrings.

#4 peter_d

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Posted 11 May 2004 - 08:14 PM

Directories that aim to cover everything don't scale well, so are therefore of limited use when compared to a search engine.

Niche directories, however, can often provide better relevance than search engines due to their tight focus and selective editorial control.

#5 stoner3221

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Posted 12 May 2004 - 01:40 PM

Arnvid,
A large human edited directory is not going to just pop up out of noware its going to be constructed from over a year of research and development and many months of data entry. Mine probably ranks on the large side with 245641830 available topics and growing in content rapidly. BlueFind is also very large and growing quickly as well.

#6 Arnvid

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 07:30 AM

Stoner, nothing would be greater than all the work you have put into wow turn out as a great human edited directory. Knowing itís not complete I did following test:

Travel and Transportation > Tour Operators > By Destination > Local & Regional: Countries > Norway
If I in Norway look for destinations, then the only option is "Alta" (a rather tiny place on the top of Norway), so I click on "Alta" and get following message:

No results found in "Travel and Transportation - Alta"


If I go directly to Norway, then I get 20 categories (plus "Alta" on the bottom), but from A to W I get the following message looking behind the category link:

No results found in "Arts and Humanities - Norway"
No results found in "Web Directories - Norway"


Well in "Cultures and Groups - Norway" (as some other categories) it give 18 categories from African to Yoruba (including "Inuit" but not the "Lappish" who actually live in north of Norway and Alta) - but the result is:

No results found in "African - Norway"
No results found in "Yoruba - Norway"


I started saying its not complete, what I try to say is that its a lot and lots of work - and I do admire all who start this task and truly hope they are able to keep up the work. Still let me add that with a rather complex structure with lots of pre made cross-referenced categories, you made the goal a many, many months ahead. Would it not be an idea to make it simpler and let whatís added look "filled up" somehow?

Bill
The links you give is a great examples on top quality directories, and great examples to why I believe its not always needed to reinvent the wheel (better then to put the wheels together to a car - LOL).

"CityTownInfo":

I think that people would prefer niche directories if they could find them more easily.


That's very close to my first conclusion, the problem of finding them all in some easy way. So that's why mentioned the option of some kind of portal for niche directories which made it easy for the standard user to find all these great collections already available.

Not only existing niche directories, but if it was a professional run portal for niche directories, well then I would even consider adding my niche expertise to that portal. Could even fill in some excellent links for Alta (-:

http://whc.unesco.org/sites/352.htm
http://www.alta-fril...iluftspark_eng/
http://www.samediggi.no/default.asp?menuID=8〈=no
http://freepages.his...lend/05alta.htm

#7 tempotantrum

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 11:56 AM

I've been running a niche directory for a few months now. It all started out of my music homepage and its getting a bit out of control now with over 3000 entries (and many thousands waiting to be added !). The hardest thing for me is keeping it all usable. The bigger it gets the harder it is. I'm running a customized php script and I added a meta search option with 13 alternative search options. I added adsense to pay for the hosting but with a click rate of 0.6% thats struggling ! The hardest thing for me is keeping up the enthusiasm to keep it running as people tend to find what they want and then bugger off. I have 2000 uniques a week but very little feedback so I have to rely on server logs to know what people are looking for. It looks messy now I know but I'm moving the whole thing to new software and domain these next few weeks. I'd be grateful for any feedback !

#8 stoner3221

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 12:11 PM

Arnvid,
My directory has only been public for two months. Most submissions are US, UK and Asian at this time. It takes 3 years to develop a reasonable database, but Norway will grow and localities will be added as needed. Every location includes 16347 general topics. I find most local and regional areas in general directories sorrowfully lacking and our primary focus is the small business and local and regional submissions. I like to think when we have been around as long as ODP we will be a good and very specific resource.

#9 tempotantrum

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 12:42 PM

The way that Wow is contructed it takes you three or four clicks to get to a dead end for some of the stuff. Maybe it would have been simpler to add categories when you'd actually got links to add to them rather than the other way around ? Its all very well having 6 million categories but so what if there's nothing in them.

#10 stoner3221

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 01:22 PM

I know Iím going the reverse of most directories with a more developed topic structure but I did a lot of research on what topics will and will not be used prior to establishing the structure. Iíve been editing and managing directories for quite a few years and have seen what happens with the build as you go directories. You end up with a mess and are constantly moving sites as the structure gets more specific to the topic. Iíve also found that webmasters donít submit their site when they canít find a topic for it and I want to encourage every webmaster to submit their site. Topic size problems are another factor. Search engines seem to not like topics with 200+ submissions in them. Keeping the topic size down assures the submitter that search engine link from the directory. The base topic structure is only 16,350 topics but that structure is carried over to each location which is presently 15,037 and growing daily.

All the local and regional submissions are indexed in the locality, the state and in the general directory ďworldĒ. This almost guarantees the submitter one or more search engine links. Presently Google has indexed over 90,000 topics. I donít know of any US general directory other then ODP, and JoeAnt that has been this fortunate.
Itís going to be a learning project for me as with any new business.

#11 tempotantrum

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 03:52 PM

I wasn't having a dig by the way, I know just how much hardwork goes into these things and to be honest I personally should have spent more time on categories before the submissions as I had to do a lot of moving around later, but the phplinks software isn't that flexible unless you're a PHP programmer so entering things like sub categories has been difficult so far, something which I' have solved by investing in much more robust software so once I've moved the database you'll see a massive improvement in usability, structure etc. I've also been lucky with all the major indexers and am returning excellent positioning in SERPs for a very good amount of key phrases, though I've found that most of my traffic is from word of mouth. I'd say less than 20% of traffic is from search engines, dont know if thats good or bad.

#12 stoner3221

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 03:59 PM

I have been advertising on Google and it accounts for 84% of my traffic right now. Yahoo is not doing well by me at this time but Iím hoping time will remedy that situation.

#13 bragadocchio

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 06:25 PM

HIi tempotantrum,

Welcome to the forums.

The hardest thing for me is keeping up the enthusiasm to keep it running as people tend to find what they want and then bugger off. I have 2000 uniques a week but very little feedback so I have to rely on server logs to know what people are looking for. It looks messy now I know but I'm moving the whole thing to new software and domain these next few weeks. I'd be grateful for any feedback


I think it's a real positive that most of your traffic arrives at your site by word of mouth. That's a tremendous way to grow.

It sounds like you might want to try to find some other ways to make the site sticky to get some feedback and responses from visitors. Consider adding some ways for people to interact; polls, shoutout boxes, a blog with comments, a forum, comments for individual entries, ratings, personal control panels with rss feeds.

The reviews on amazon are one example. Another site that does something similar is http://www.dooyoo.co.uk/

If you want, please feel welcome to post in the web site hospital section of the forums. You migth get more feedback about your site that way.

I believe that there's a story behind the glossarist site I mentioned above. Most of it's initial traffic came from a online newsletter mention, and then a offline magazine referral. A lot of people linked to it as a result.

#14 tempotantrum

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 09:59 PM

Thanks for the feedback bragadocchio. Although I'm new here I've been lurking around for ages and the stuff I've picked up by studying forums like these has been nothing short of fantastic. Pick any search engine you like and type in 'dance music industry' and you'll find my site nestling near the top ! I promise you I knew nothing about building websites, SEO and search engines a few months ago.
Anyway, so yeah, took in all your comments and they are all up there in my head already ! I actually added a forum but its proving to be a flop in as much as nobody posts, but actual traffic went up about 10% straight away. The (forthcoming) new look has more of a community feel with an email list, editors recomended sites (with extended reviews etc), we'll be adding thumbnails too later (ala thumbshotz.org) and there will be a 'become an editor' sign up too, so people can get involved more.Of course I have 5 months of traffic stats as market research too. I havn't done one bit of publicity so I've been lucky and traffic has increased every single month so far and I'll be doing a specialist PR mail out via the guys at www.beatwire.com . I run a tight ship here so PPC ad budgets are out, but $20 for some effective targetted PR sounds like a bargain ! Cheers

#15 bragadocchio

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 10:16 PM

Cheers to you, tempotantrum.

It sounds like you have a good plan in place, and you're following it.

And, it's working. That's great news.

A forum really needs a dedicated core of posters, and moderators who feel like they are engaged, appreciated, and having fun. Find those people, and they will make a difference to your forum. Make them feel that way, and they will make the traffic happen.

It does sound like you are making community building efforts, and they sound like they have a good shot at succeeding.

#16 tempotantrum

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 06:41 AM

Thanks again Bill, I'll keep you informed of new developments and I'll be contributing more around here too.
Ade

#17 bragadocchio

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 07:14 AM

Good to hear. Thanks!

#18 jmeth

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Posted 17 May 2004 - 03:12 PM

My website at http://www.subscriptionconnection.com, has been up for just over a year and, so far, has been a labor of love. It's unique and, I believe, is the Internet's only human-edited directory focusing exclusively of paid membership sites ... regardless of category (excluding adult and gambling). Today it includes over 750 subscriptions but there are another 250+ waiting in the que to be listed. It takes time but the information offers a great overview of what is available in the "paid content" space. It is also an excellent way of comparing similar sites and, when available, learning what subscribers have to say.

#19 keith09

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Posted 17 May 2004 - 03:49 PM

My company has spent four years developing a new and innovative web-based directory process & interface...it's launching in Q4 of this year...we raised close to $500K for R&D...and I think we've achieved that balance of user experience and advertising effectiveness...thought you would like to have a peek at ZIPmouse: www.project.ZIPmouse.com

Kind Regards,
~Keith

#20 cutting

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 12:45 PM

Note that you can use Nutch to easily build niche search engines, a good complement to niche directories. These could be seeded with urls from the niche directory, and crawled a bit from there, so that entire niche-related sites would be indexed, not just their home page.

#21 tempotantrum

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 01:50 PM

Thanks for the reminder cutting ! Nutch was on my list of things to look investigate. Another thing I'm looking in to seriously is Grub, the LookSmart Open Source search bot : http://www.grub.org .

#22 cutting

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 02:35 PM

Does Grub give you access to what it's crawled? As far as I can tell, Grub is just a way for Looksmart to use your machine to do its crawling. From the Grub site, I can't see a way for anyone but Looksmart to get at the crawled pages, nor for anyone to use the Grub software for any other purpose. But maybe I missed something...

#23 jseamless

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 05:11 PM

Hello,

I am enjoying reading all the informative posts here.

I think human edited directories or the way to go. My only problem with the dmoz is that they are rather vague on there site acceptance policies.

For instance, I have been trying to get a site listed there for a year now. All the editors can tell me is that the site has no enough content???

I have over 50 pages of unique content for my viewers.

If you look at sites in this same category they may have five pages on including there contact page.

#24 jmeth

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 07:49 PM

If you're interested in learning more about DMOZ and, perhaps, meeting up with some of the editors, check out the monthly meetings taking place in many communities around the country. The next meeting will be June 2 and you can sign up to attend through http://dmoz.meetup.c...=1&localeId=321

#25 tempotantrum

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 10:31 PM

Cutting..yeah you're right of course, further investigation of Grub reveals that it is of little use to webmasters as such, so no I dont think we've missed anything !

I was looking into the possibilities of adding crawler based search to my directory eventually and possibly using my own directory (when its properly updated) alongside the data from http://musicmoz.org as a starting point for some 'niche' crawler based activity (music).

Looking through the details at Nutch right now and using a smaller starting point (as apposed to their useage of the data from DMOZ, which of course runs into millions) it may be feasible on a smaller scale. Anyway.......

jseamless, maybe you should have a look around the DMOZ editors forum, might be easier to get a response there ?
http://resource-zone.com/forum .
I think you just have to make double sure you're submitting to the right category :
http://search.dmoz.o...search=mortgage , maybe that was all it was ?

#26 SoccerMan

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Posted 03 June 2004 - 08:58 AM

tempotantrum,

The main draw on my site is the forum and in order to keep it busy I spend a lot of time searching for news and events to post in the forum in order to spark conversation. The more controversial the better. Another thing is that for every 1 person who posts, there are a lot more who just read them. I have found that if both sides of an argument are presented more people will post their own opinions.

#27 discountdomains

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Posted 01 July 2004 - 05:22 PM

I have been running a business directory www.allthebizz.com since March, and its amazing how quickly these things can grow. I started with 1 or 2 submissions a day and now its nearly 75.

Whilst I am a million miles away from Dmoz I can imagine how they got going.

Clare



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