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  1. #1
    SitePoint Guru clink's Avatar
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    Are Website Directories Dead?

    I remember for most of my time online website directories have always been a huge phenomenon. However, with the age of social bookmarking could they soon become obsolete?

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy bluedreamer's Avatar
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    I don't think they'll be obselete altogether. There are hundreds/thousands of general "made for adsense" directories about that don't have very many links, and I can see these fading away in time, leaving only the bigger directories worth running.

  3. #3
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    I think bluedreamer is right, but for different reasons. I rarely use a web directory to find what I want on the Internet. It's much easier to just go to Google or Yahoo and with the Google toolbar I can access thirteen different search applications.

    Monetized web directories have got to be hurting for advertisement clicks. Generally the only time I add a link to a directory is to get a backlink to one of my sites.

    One thing I think that most small directory owners could do to help them keep alive is to add more content. After all, they have a steady stream of websites they could review in a blog.

    They could use their stats to find out "what's hot" by the number of links clicked within any given time period.

    They could also encourage user feedback about the sites listed in their directory or run polls for different directory sections (what's hot and what's not).

    I think those things might encourage directory use and make the directory sites more interactive and entertaining for users.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  4. #4
    SitePoint Guru clink's Avatar
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    Yeah good points Shyflower, I agree that directories need to be a lot more interactive. I'm thinking AJAX...

  5. #5
    phpLD Fanatic bronze trophy dvduval's Avatar
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    I think over the last couple of years directories went through somewhat of a rebellious adolescence. People were able to make money quickly, and there was a big entrepreneurial spirit. Some people have been able to take their directories to the next level, and continue to benefit, while others did not follow through very well.

    There are lots of reasons to need a directory, and I can tell you that I have not seen a decline. Instead I have seen more innovation. For example, some of the directories that are cropping up now don't even resemble a directory in the traditional sense. Also, directories are getting more diversified in the information they index, and there is growth in niche and local directories. As for my script, we are doing much of what has been suggested above and more to allow for additional growth.

    As I stated earlier, directories went through a "rebellious adolescent" period over the last couple of years, but now I believe we are seeing a much more mature group of people in the industry. This is certainly true in my forum, and I am extremely happy to have made it to this point.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Guru clink's Avatar
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    Interesting post dvduval I think the web in general is seeing a growing maturity to be honest, and that is a very good thing. I just hope that in how ever many years time we'll be seeing quality websites everywhere. I do think that our 'circle' of people (techies) browse the better end of the spectrum - but there's still a lot of crap out there.

  7. #7
    phpLD Fanatic bronze trophy dvduval's Avatar
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    Thanks, clink.

    Yes, I think we are seeing mature sites starting to make up the majority of traffic. This has its pluses and minuses. Often what seems like a low quality site initially can mature over time. I've seen this in the directory industry. Someone "throws up" a site, and leaves it for dead, and then comes back later and makes it into something brilliant.

    I certainly have gone through this stage earlier in my web career. I put up quite a few sites. Some did well early on, while others I left incomplete for a long time. But then over the last couple of years, I have come back and done something with some of the older sites.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Guru clink's Avatar
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    Yeah I think that renovation of old sites has something to do with the 'web 2.0' phenomenon, it seems that more than ever the look/feel of a site is bringing in the customers.

  9. #9
    phpLD Fanatic bronze trophy dvduval's Avatar
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    No doubt that better designs have helped directories, and it is becoming much less common to see a directory with a poor design.

  10. #10
    SitePoint Guru clink's Avatar
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    At last... The era of 90s designs was horrible even at the time haha.

  11. #11
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    Good point Shyflower. I dont even remember ever using a web directory except to place my websites in. And I cant remember ever getting any visitors from directories to my site. Im not sure what service they really provide. But there is definate opportunities for directories to take. but as far as im concerned
    RIP directories

  12. #12
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Originally web directories where used to organize the websites that existed at the time to make finding content easier (read; Yahoo, Dmoz). Once the Internet grew too large this became impractical and search became the primary medium for finding content. Since that transition has occurred the role of directories has dwindled to become no more then an insignificant source of traffic for virtually every website. Their main purpose nowadays is for niche sites to provide a directory relative to their niche for the sake of providing good content to their users. But the days of the general directory are over for good.

  13. #13
    Web developer chrisranjana's Avatar
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    General *run of the mill* web directories may soon lose popularity but niche web directories with constantly updated content will survive for a longer time.
    Chris, Programmer/Developer,
    Laravel Php Developers, Ruby on Rails programmers,
    Moodle, Opencart, Magento, Geodesic Classifieds/Auctions,
    www.chrisranjana.com

  14. #14
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    I run a small, very niche directory with modest traffic. I used to work for a large directory with 1/2 million visitors/month (1700 hand-coded HTML pages AIIUGH!!!) but they were spending over $100k/month on AdWords.

    Directories have their place, but I think niche is the way to go, and lots of added features are important. Blogs, tools, articles, content are all needed to keep things going - a simple listing of businesses isn't going to cut it these days. Also, get the vendors involved - they are the experts.

    Dave

  15. #15
    phpLD Fanatic bronze trophy dvduval's Avatar
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    What we are seeing now with directories is many are following a path similar to what Yahoo did. First, they we a general directory. But later they started adding more features and sections that interested an increasing number of users. And now they are a full fledge portal. For the general directories that are thriving, it is the ones that are becoming more than just a directory that are thriving.

  16. #16
    Bad Ass Mother F#$%^& Devious's Avatar
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    No... Far from dead. Google is losing it's edge.

    Directories are the future.
    Logo Design & Identity Branding Consultant.

  17. #17
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devious View Post
    No... Far from dead. Google is losing it's edge.

    Directories are the future.
    I'd love to hear your reasoning behind this statement as it contradicts what everyone is saying and very clear trends.

  18. #18
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    Directories will stay even with the big companies have taken over most of the hits. But local directories is still in much use. Some of these directories are even linked to Google or Yahoo when the content you are looking for is not found in their site.

    If I were to create my own directory, I would concentrate on the local sites in my area.

  19. #19
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    Some directories are good because they are listed in SE. I think, this is the main reason they are good
    "si-AdPlace Pro" - Text Ad Software

  20. #20
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xelav View Post
    Some directories are good because they are listed in SE. I think, this is the main reason they are good
    They may be listed in the search engines but they get so little traffic that they send you very little traffic. In fact, most directories you submit to will send you no traffic ever. The only real benefit here is that you may get a backlink out of the deal but keep in mind that the backlink will be worth very little and really only benefits new sites that have little to backlinks or sites that target very niche or very long tail keywords.

  21. #21
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    I think there will actually be growth in smaller, more specialized directories as the web grows. thousands of people join the internet every day.

  22. #22
    SitePoint Guru clink's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stymiee View Post
    They may be listed in the search engines but they get so little traffic that they send you very little traffic. In fact, most directories you submit to will send you no traffic ever. The only real benefit here is that you may get a backlink out of the deal but keep in mind that the backlink will be worth very little and really only benefits new sites that have little to backlinks or sites that target very niche or very long tail keywords.
    I definitely agree with this post... directories do serve very little purpose in my opinion. They are in theory a good idea, but not all that effective.

  23. #23
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    Directory software is growing up too. Edirectory - www.edirectory.com is a case in point. It is a complete portal solution. Unlike many of the other link and linkbid scripts on the market, it is not designed for those contemplating a generalized spam link farm. By the way, and before anyone starts jumping up and down, I want to state that I am not connected with edirectory in any way - other than as someone who respects and admires the work they are doing to take directory software to new levels. In my opinion, their product is nothing short of excellent!

    As DVDuval knows, I've never been a huge fan of phplinkdirectory. Not because I dislike him personally, as has been suggested in the past. Far from it - I respect his entrepreneurial pursuits! However, in my opinion, scripts such as phplinkdirectory - which provide only limited info on the sites being linked to, display no images, request reciprocal links, and include a linked site's pagerank as standard features, encourage people to construct spam link farms. I know there are exceptions to this rule. And I know the script can be modified. But when all is said and done, you'll struggle to find one site using phplinkdirectory - irrespective of the mods applied - that even comes close to having the functionality of a site built with edirectory's out-of-the-box script.

    Fortunately, google has picked up on the explosion of spam link farms and are helping to remove the motivation underpinning the entry of many into the generalized spam directory business. This isn't a bad thing for most of us. After all, the idea of webmasters having to submit their sites, which oftentimes represent far superior offerings to the psuedo-authoritative spam link farms they feel obliged to submit their site to, is repugnant. For many, it's demeaning and demoralizing. And, as google have noted recently, an abboration that should not exist!

    As many have suggested, the future for comprehensive directories - those which go significantly beyond providing pagerank-inspired links to everything under the sun, from toilet paper to adult DVDs, is not over.

    But the bar has been raised!

  24. #24
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    I don't see how they were ever a big thing. I never use a web directory to find anything. I use the Google mostly.

    I own a web directory and from what I see most of the traffic is from people that want to put up their link. It's true that I can market to them..but actual searchers are rare.

    Of course, if google picks up the pages and rank well, it's a different story.

    -Quade
    Free Report Makes You More Profit - Seven Adword Secrets
    http://www.sevenadwordsecrets.com

  25. #25
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    Not dead. If you try niche directories you can get good PR in Google. One link on skaffe.com can put you on top of Google. Front page!


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