The Directory Biz is Not a Zero Sum Game

Not So Random Forum Thoughts
Anyone that’s reading this is no doubt a regular on one or more forums. With the admission I’ve shown rough edges plenty of times, the post below is commentary, not a sermon. Still, the concept below is sound, and the good news is there are some great guys in this industry. To them… Thanks!

ZERO SUM GAME: A contest in which there are a finite number of points, and the acquisition of a point for one player is the equivalent of a loss of a point to the other(s). You can only have one winner.

If I get a large piece of cake, it decreases the amount YOU can have.

The directory industry has two constituencies; submitters and surfers. In both cases the number of potential individuals is too large to quantify. Even if they were in small supply, neither will limit themselves to one provider. If a surfer can’t find what he wants, he looks elsewhere. Neither will submitters avoid all other directories because they’re in ONE. If you get good traffic or lots of submissions, it doesn’t stop me from doing it.

Sometimes one might get the impression that our industry is a zero sum game. Everyone’s seen a poster passionately detail the evils of some directory… only to find the speaker is affiliated with another directory, and speaks ill of ALL other directories.

We can’t agree on everything… but is it necessary to denigrate other directories? Didn’t dad always say if you sling mud, you’re gonna get some on you? We tar each other, we diminish the whole group.

THE GOOD NEWS: Heroes Still Abound

Fortunately there are plenty of folks that work and play well together. As an example, before coming to BOTW I noticed their results page offers the surfer links to the same same category in several other directories. Basically… “If we don’t have it… you might try these guys“. What? You pointed them to a competitor?! Cool.

I’ve always been impressed by the “rising tide floats all boats” people. Feels good to be around those who know putting others down won’t make ‘em any taller. Shows a confidence that doesn’t require bluster to support it.

It’d be nice to see *more* of this exhibited in forums, there are so many ways we’d all benefit. That said, there are a lot of heroes out there on the web that live the rising tide credo daily. To them I say Hey… I wanna be like you guys when I grow up. Thanks for being there!

BOTW Local Updates

A little more than a month later, and we have made some great strides with our Local Search offering. What a wild month it’s been.

We built out and opened up a couple of dozen additional cities, and now have more than 30 cities active. You can find a partial list of the activated cities here on our Browse by City/State page. We are trying to methodically roll the cities out, concentrating on providing the city content in a user friendly, intuitive manner. We’ll be tinkering some more with the layout of both the city index and the search results.

We introduced the Local version of the What’s New, modeled after the one we have been using on the web directory for years. As time permits, and higher priority items are completed, we’ll expand the page with additional metro-centric content, to further provide the user with relevant information.

Additionally, we added a cool feature known as the Local Observer. The Local Observer provides real time updates of all activity across BOTW Local. User reviews, thumbs up and down, new business listings, stars, and more. It’s a fun way to keep an eye on what our users are doing on the site, and to see where the activity is.

To date the spiders are receiving the site very well, indexed pages climbing daily. Though we still have “noindex, nospider” tags on the majority of our pages, a quick snapshot of a site index query in Google shows 533,000 pages indexed. We have seen a surge of business submissions, and while our programmers work diligently on our review process, we are currently experiencing a bit of a backlog, and the free Jumpstart queue isn’t getting the eyeballs that it will once we iron out all the details. Our editors are anxious to get in there though, so once we let ‘em loose, it should be a couple/few days to get up to date. We appreciate your ongoing patience :)

Business owners with reviewed listings have reported that they have seen some very impressive results for search queries for their businesses, and we have received glowing feedback from businesses and users alike. Our traffic continues to push ahead, and we are ahead of our growth goals. With new features planned for users we fully anticipate strong user growth to continue for the foreseeable future.

As we continue to strengthen our user base, we plan on introducing new features for businesses in the coming weeks. Enhanced interaction with users will enable the business owner to cost effectively reach users in their communities. BOTW Local is attracting people who want to know about businesses in and information about their community. Take advantage by getting involved now.

We hope you enjoy the new features and cities we have added, and we look forward to providing you with even more in the weeks and months to come. We welcome any feedback you have that would help us in providing users with a better experience.