How to Become a BOTW Editor

Occasionally I field questions on the topic of who edits the Best of the Web Directory products, and how one becomes a BOTW editor.

Posting about it here hits the following two birds with one stone:

  • A) To serve as a map for those interested in the role
  • B) It will serve notice we are in growth mode and could use more folks with the talent and interest in editing here.

What are the different editor roles at BOTW?

BOTW Staff Editors – Employees -
These are employees that work out of our New York Headquarters. Their primary functions include handling the commercial submissions to multiple BOTW products… including but not limited to the BOTW Directory, BOTW Blog Directory, BOTW UK and Ireland Directory, BOTW Local, etc….

They work under the same guidelines as the other editors, so sites they deal with are placed, titled and described no differently than sites handled by any other editor. Staff eds aren’t really the subject of this post… for that you have to talk to the guys at HQ. [See BOTW Careers]

The Nerd Herd – Contract Editors -
This team of contract editors does NOT work the commercial queues. The team is composed of dozens of longterm directory editors, most of whom learned the role and proved themself via many thousands of edits in a volunteer capacity at other venues. They do handle the Free queues (see prior blog post) for BOTW, BOTW UK, and the Blog Directory, but *most* of their edits come from hunting down sites they consider “Best of the Web” material.

They handle most taxonomy and hierarchy issues, quality control, add necessary crosslinks, and fill areas that would be under-represented if we relied solely on submissions. Several are responsible for monthly “What’s New” posts and Daily Editor Picks in the various directories. The structure of The Herd is extremely flat by design. They are a team of peers, and IMO probably the best collection of directory editors in one place.

They work from wherever they are (hence the reason I avoid using the cam on Skype) and are paid monthly based on the contributions they make. They do not have a “quota”, and though they try to pretend otherwise when staff’s around, most would probably do this even if they didn’t get paid for it.

BOTW Local Editors – Contract Editors -
BOTW Local is a free map-based service that directs people to brick and mortar businesses. The Premium Submissions to Local are handled by staff editors, and the guys editing the Free “Jumpstart” submissions were initially recruited from the ranks of the Nerd Herd. They handle many thousands of sites submitted for free to the BOTW Local’s “Jumpstart” queue monthly.

The documentation in Local promises an up/down call inside 6 months for free submissions, but the reality is the editors there have kept the time to a fraction of that… and are improving on already good response times as we’re adding additional support for them. Like the rest of The Herd, they’re paid based on what they do.

Volunteer Blog Editors
Volunteer blog editors are as the name indicates non-paid, but the program covers a variety of needs. Just as most of The Herd got into the directory world by volunteering to edit some area of interest and discovered they have a need to organize that borders on mental illness, I’m sure there are others like them (OK, us) out there.

The volunteer blog program allows even those without a history of editing to get into an area of interest and share the blogs they think are “Best of the Web” with others by adding them to the directory. Though they are doing so in a volunteer capacity, they are part of our editing forum and have an excellent chance to learn from some good folks.

They also put themselves into an excellent position to move into our paid editor corps should they show the desire and the ability.

How would someone join one of these groups?
If someone wanted to become a member of The Herd, our contract editor corps, there are two ways…

  • -1- Have an outstanding history of directory editing elsewhere and contact me directly. That’s an available option, and assuming a level of verifiable experience it’s a perfectly legitimate route.
  • -2- Enter via the Volunteer Blog Editor Program and do a sterling job… and whether you express an interest in being a member of The Herd or not, you’ll probably get an email from me asking if you’re interested.

CODISALS – aka: The fine print
— a) There is no monetary reason for doing it via method 1 vs method 2… as there is also a volunteer actions requirement in the Herd payscale at the start. The number isn’t large compared to what most of us did as volunteers ourselves, but FTR, in the very beginning the Herd pays the same as the Volunteer Blog Program… which eases paperwork in the event someone signs up and just doesn’t stick.

— b) Yes, you CAN add your own sites as long as they…

  • 1. Fit the criteria for an add
  • 2. Get no favors in titling/ placement/ description
  • 3. You have access to that section…

BUT… in the event that’s all an editor joins for, or if they go into freelance competition with the commercial queue, it would be dealt with swiftly. A single button can undo those adds. BOTW editors take their credibility personally, so I wouldn’t even have to find it myself.

How Much Does The Paid Crew Make?
The editors aren’t in danger of replacing Bill Gates on any list Forbes publishes, but it’s a lucrative way to engage in what was once our hobby. We’ll discuss specifics in a less public setting, but some make an excellent “2nd check” and some do it as a primary income.

They’re paid on production, so editors get a raise whenever they want, it becomes effective when they do.

Where to go from here if interested?

Those that need to contact me directly (ie – Method 1 above)
Use my email: robjones @ . I’ll repeat this is not the best route if you don’t already have heavy directory experience which is easily verified. Doesn’t mean we must know each other personally, just means this route assumes you’re seasoned, know the ropes, and there is info for us to go on available.

Those going the Vol Blog Editor Route:
Go to a category in the BOTW Blog Directory where you’d like to edit for starters, click on “Become an Editor” at the bottom, and fill out the quick online application. The Blog Dir has a fairly flat tree, but if you’d like to improve your chances of acceptance, start lower instead of higher. Doesn’t take long, and could lead an enjoyable past time sharing sites you discover with others… or even a career change.

That’s it… if interested, follow the directions above and we look forward to talking to you. Hope you have a great day. ~ Rob


5 Responses to “How to Become a BOTW Editor”

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  3. Christine says:

    Just a short note to say thank you very much. Exceptional tutorial. You saved me a heck of a lot of hair pulling!