Who Needs A Directory When Search Is Powerful (And Profitable)?

from the times-change dept

When Yahoo first came on the scene they weren’t famous for being a search engine, but for having a massive directory of websites that was a cataloged by human editors. The search engine worked on top of that directory to help people find what they were looking for. However, times are changing, and the search business is a different world. Directories have become less useful (if they’re at all useful any more), as pure search has become much better (thank you, Google). At the same time, paid advertising via search engines has offered a much more compelling business model than “paid inclusion” in directories. Most people probably haven’t noticed because they moved beyond using directory-based searches ages ago, but the directory business looks like it’s finally going away. Yahoo won’t admit this, but many are wondering why they even bother having the directory at all any more (other than to get some cash out of those who still feel they need to pay to be included in the directory).

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Comments on “Who Needs A Directory When Search Is Powerful (And Profitable)?”

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1 Comment
Faisal (user link) says:

Directories are useful, but not in the way most pe

Yes, directories are generally not as good as something like Google for unstructured searches, but they can be very useful for structured searches. For example, if you want to find everything in a category of information, Google isn’t very useful since random sites on the web tend not to have text on the site which puts them in a category which matches a search. On the other hand, with a directory you can find the category and see what’s in it. Want to find all the competitors to a given product? It’s a lot easier with a directory (look at everything else in the same category) than with a search (you can’t usually search for “ProductX competitor”).
Perhaps one day Google’s engine will get smart enough to allow these kinds of searches, but for now the directory still remains useful.

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