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!

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