Directories – useful?

In a discussion about a particular site and would you link to it or not I was appalled to learn that editors of some directories can\’t tell the difference between commercial or not, downgrade commercial sites with high informative content and live in an bygone area.

Particular some of the free directories that rely on \”volunteer\” editors seem to have forgotten to adjust their watches to the new time and must be deaf not to have heard the time signal from Google.

So I took a closer look at DMOZ

After digging round a bit I have to say who would use this? Titles do not reflect what is actually on the page, lots of dead links and redirects.
DMOZ gathers submissions than \”volunteer\” editors edit (usually the hell out of it) and plonk it into a category whose structure no longer reflects the real world.
The search throws up a list of sites whose categorization is all over the place.

From a users perspective: Do I really want just a list of sites that may vaguely reflect my search? Than to go to each and every single one to find out?

So my verdict: These directories are only link mules – yes if you attempt to and get listed you may get some links BUT than it\’s static. No chance to change a mspling or update with a more fitting title as the underlying content has been refined. Lots of start up directories take a feed, blast it in their database and never ever update any.
These directories are actually a scourge as they provide now own content and as such no added value. The perceived value is syphoned off real sites.

For fledgling sites they had the power to help them getting started but that is ancient history nowadays they sadly have the power to ignore them and even worse by doing so may hinder the progress of great content rich sites.

I hope the the big engines devalue further the \”power\” they give to general directories that are just collectors and regurgitators of information not adding any real value except still acting as what I call link mules.

Directories that highlight niche markets or pockets of information, directories or link collections (come on that\’s what they are) on the back of unique and desirable content are a complete different story.

I don\’t mind finding a directory of lets say \”solar power developments\” when searching for advanced solar power technology. But I do mind being confronted with directories when searching for \”Batteries\”. I want the commercial sites and yes OK the odd shopping compare site is rather nice as well. But do I really want a directory of battery related sites – I think not.

Enough ranted – Content is still king and great unique content can and will outperform link mule supported sites anytime.


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