Best of the Web 17th Birthday Promo

The Year Was 1994
Sheryl Crow assured us “All I Wanna Do is Have Some Fun…”. Kurt Cobain of Nirvana had a good year on the charts, despite dying in April. Newt Gingrich and his Contract for America crew staged a coup in the US House of Representatives. I acquired outstanding tickets to the new Ballpark in Arlington, just in time for Major League Baseball to go on strike and end the season before I got to use them.

“What IS the internet?” ~ Bryant Gumbel, Today Show, 1994
And in the tech world… NCSA Mosaic introduced a more user friendly browser, making it easier for non-geeks to access the then fledgling Internet. From that effort sprung a new company named Netscape. And if you think the internet has always been here, take a look at this clip of the Today Show as Katie Couric attempts to answer Bryant Gumbel when he said “What IS the internet?”.

Best of the Web is Born
In April of that year an awards program was launched at the University at Buffalo to let those already on the web vote on which sites they considered “Best of the Web”. The awards were announced in May at the International W3C Conference in Geneva. The awards were to serve two purposes:

  • Promote the Web to new/potential users by showing its highlights
  • Help information providers see what they can do with HTML/HTTP

The awards ran until the late 1990′s, and later BOTW was purchased from the founders by the current owners and turned into a general directory, BOTW.org. The goals are still largely the same, we provide users improved access to the best sites on the net, but it has developed into a family of products.

Current offerings in addition to the BOTW Directory include the UK & Ireland Directory, BOTW Blog Directory, BOTW Local, BOTW Verticals Software Directory, the recently launched Senior Housing Directory, and finally our brand new Online Degree Directory.

Contests & Such… are you missing anything?
If you’re interested in the history you can view the original awards in our archive, but for keeping up with little things like promos, contests and the like, you really should keep an eye on BOTW via Twitter or Facebook. Those tend to have a few spur of the moment “gimmes” that don’t make it to the blog, so if you miss ‘em, don’t blame me, you’ve been alerted now. :)

BOTW Birthday Promo
Anyway, in honor of turning 17 Best of the Web is offering its biggest discount of the year: 25% off on ALL directory submissions. You’ll save $100 on submissions at the Lifetime rate (usually $399.95), and about $40 on the annually recurring rate (regularly $149.95). These savings are also available for category sponsors. All customers get a 30-day free trial for their first sponsorship, and the discount will knock off $12 on the monthly renewal rates (normally $49.95).

To obtain these savings, use this promo code:  BDAY25

This code can be used multiple times, but is only valid until April 30. Take advantage of this year’s biggest discount by submitting today.

That’s all the news that’s fit to print, hope you guys are having a great week. ~ Rob

BOTW to Acquire DMOZ

Finally Happening…
Best of the Web is happy to announce they’ve reached an agreement in principle to purchase the DMOZ Directory (Aka – ODP) for an undisclosed sum.

Though a nondisclosure clause prohibits the parties from disclosing details prior to finalization, discussion of some facets of future plans for the venerable directory product are still an open topic.

The New Dmoz to take on Google?
There will be massive changes on the user side, including a highly functional state of the art search interface that offers an option to search the Dmoz database only or to combine results with a metasearch of major search engines. It is hoped this will evolve into dmoz going head to head as a competitor in the search engine field.

New Dmoz Logo Contest
In celebration of the move to compete as a major search apparatus as well as a directory, there will be a makeover of the external appearance, with a green and blue color scheme and a new logo. The logo will be selected in a contest (open to he public) after closing of the transaction. Those that want to get a headstart need to be working with ideas that incorporate a monkey, a tree, and the letters Dmoz.

Things We Cannot Yet Discuss
Though plans for managing and monetizing the new acquisition are already settled, these are subject to the aforementioned nondisclosure clause and cannot be announced until after the sale is complete.

It is known that the sale only includes the assets including the name, the database, and the interface… but does not involve the existing volunteers that work the database. Unconfirmed rumors indicate they may be sold to Yahoo, though the legality of selling humans in a post 14th amendment world may limit that transaction to those outside the continental US.

Stay tuned to this space or Twitter… http://twitter.com/botw/
We’ll use this blog and Twitter to provide additional news as it develops. Please be sure to take into account the date of this announcement when discussing it with anyone (as in Happy “April Fools Day”) , and for those of you that just read headlines and skim… fellas, you’re on your own.

Hope you guys have a great weekend. ~ Rob

BOTW Offers Free Beer

Hey, now that I have your attention, I’ll point out it wasn’t just a line to get your attention this time. I understand our crew really *will* be providing free beer at SES New York this coming week.*

SES New York will be talking place March 21 – 25th, and as always the BOTW crew will have a booth there. This is the 12th year for Search Engine Strategies “SES Conference & Expo Series”. It will be at the Hilton New York in NYC. If you’re going you’ll be among 5000 or so internet professionals gathered to get Search Smart. Full details on the site linked HERE.

SES New York, March 21 - 25, 2011

*  Traditionally our group returns exhausted from all the hard work,  mysteriously without photos.  If you take any juicy pictures of said work, send the negatives, we’ll split the profit. :)

Anyway, to those attending… have a great time, and stop by and have one on us.

Hope you have a great week. ~ Rob

Directories: The Mark Twain Syndrome

Rumors of My Death…
Mark Twain once ran into a situation that paralleled an experience of his fictitious Tom Sawyer character… ie – he was reported as dead,  and was in the unique position of being alive to hear it. His response was to send a note, something along the lines of  “Rumors of my death have been greatly exagerrated”.

Strangely it happened again, when a ship on which he was traveling experienced a delay and there was speculation that he’d been lost at sea. Hearing the tale after he reached port, he penned a news article announcing a personal investigation into the matter…

“You can assure my Virginia friends that I will make an exhaustive investigation of this report that I have been lost at sea. If there is any foundation for the report, I will at once apprise the anxious public.

I sincerely hope that there is no foundation for the report, and I also hope that judgment will be suspended until I ascertain the true state of affairs.”

On a Related Note… I hear “Directories are Dead”
That one gets repeated occasionally in webmaster forums. Funny thing is if you pay attention it’s almost always stated as grave fact by somebody that just happens to want to sell his own personal site promotion program… *guaranteed* to make your website run faster, jump higher, and attract supermodels.

[Be the first on your block to buy, kids, supply is limited!!!]

In one recent case it was stated as fact by a guy that was touting massive numbers of forum sigs as the new road to marketing a website. My thought there is that I DO notice forum sigs, and agree 100% having a site in the sig of your personal ID is ONE excellent marketing tool, *provided* it is… (A) the real thing and (B) your posts are frequent and knowledgeable, and (C) in the right forums. Nothing wrong with that. I personally generate direct traffic to sigs I think look interesting.

BUT Spam is still, as always… edible
All the above considered, the guys selling the idea of creating thousands of fake profiles (especially by bot) are ignoring the fact that any forum worth reading will regularly delete those as spam. Just as Askimet and other plugins of that genre are rapidly reducing comment spam in blogs, improved moderation software (and moderators familiar with the tactic) are rapidly making spam profiles a waste of time.

Even if such links remain after the ban, there’s the dubious honor having your site promoted by a character that has “BANNED” beside his name. Doesn’t do wonders for reputation or credibility.

Spam and The Law of Unintended Consequences
As an added bonus, in forums I’ve moderated, once a site has been promoted by spammy methods, the mere mention of that URL tends to raise a red flag about any member that later mentions it as a valuable resource… a direct result of the previous spam attempt.

Somehow I’m thinking that *can’t* have been the intended outcome when somebody paid a guy to promote the site in forums, but that’s the reality of letting your site be associated with spamtastic promo methods.

Consider the Source (and observe poultry product safety)
Basically the “directory is dead” stuff is often tossed out by guys that wish it were so in order to get folks to put their eggs in a different basket. By a no doubt fortunate coincidence, the guys saying so are almost always in the business of selling such baskets, and will gladly provide you alternative basketry as soon as your credit card clears.

When it comes to getting a website in front of people, I don’t think ANY one basket is a safe place for those future hatchlings. If somebody says their special method is a great replacement for all others, just put your hand on your wallet and back away.

Meanwhile over at a different analogy…
Even directory submissions, though a valuable tool for getting a website in front of folks, should be just ONE of many clubs in your bag. Face it, no professional (or even a talented amateur) goes golfing carrying just “their golf club”. There’s a reason.

Oh well, returning to the original theme…
If you hear reports of my own death, please tell my wife to quit fantasizing. :)

Y’all have a great day. ~ Rob

20% OFF BOTW Submissions

Just what you’ve been waiting for… 20% OFF
First BOTW promo in months… and it works in the BOTW Directory, the BOTW UK & Ireland Directory, and the BOTW Blog Directory. If you’ve been waiting for a break, here’s your chance to submit to one or all of these premium directories at a substantial discount.

This is UNLIMITED thru End of Month
You may use this for multiple site submissions, submissions to multiple directory products, or any combination of multiple and submit you want. As long as it’s still February 2011 and you’re submitting to the directories named above, this discount code works. Nice eh?

20% off BOTW Submissions in February

Procedure to Submit Site
To submit your site for consideration, go to the appropriate category in the directory to which you’re submitting and click on the link at upper right that says “Submit Site”. Follow the prompts from there. If you need a hand picking the best category, you’ll find some tips here: Selecting a Category When Submitting.

Be sure to enter the Promo Code: FEB20
This discount program IS commisionable for BOTW resellers, so resellers, we look forward to working with you on these.

Note to Serial Procrastinators:
Don’t feel bad, I never started my homework on time either. Why waste a good weekend when there’s Sunday nite? Figured it’s worth mentioning February is only 28 days long…  plan accordingly. [Yeah, having an odd month in the year is evil, but nobody asked me.]

That’s all the news that’s fit to print. You guys have a great week, and get those submissions in while they’re cheap. :)

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