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Above The Fold!

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Interview of Bruce Stone of Wow Directory

June 7 2004

Hello Bruce,

Thanks for taking the time to let me ask you a few questions. Lets get into the questions...

When did you come up with the idea for Wow Directory?

WoW is a long time dream come true. I have wanted my own directory since I started editing around eight years ago but my work schedule would never allow the time. I retired a year ago and started researching topic structures and directories and what webmasters wanted in a directory. From that research WoW was developed and launched March 26th.

What sets the Wow Directory apart from other directories?

WoW is actually 15,173 Local and Regional directories that contain the entire topic structure of the general directory with 16,484 topics. All submissions when possible are placed the location of the base of operation. They are then automatically cross-referenced to the state as well as the general directory. For example a submission to Albany, New York will be in Albany, New York and in the general directory giving the site three active links.

We also use static links and with over 249 million available topics the number of submissions in each topic will be less then the average directory. My research has shown that large topic structures provide poor indexing of websites and frequently will not give the submitter links.

If you ask a webmaster why they submit to a directory the majority will tell you they want links and search engine submission. From day one WoW was structured to give the webmaster what they need from a directory.

How are you able to process search engine submissions so much faster than other directories? Can people submit multiple pages of their site to the Wow Directory? As your directory fills up how do you intend to combat duplicate entries into your directory while still being able to provide that amazing level of customer support?

The way we process submissions is quite different then most directories. First and foremost we expect the submitter to make a reasonable effort to submit by our submission guidelines. Those who submit with flamboyantly promotional titles and keyword strings for descriptions are rejected on sight rather then taking the ten minutes to edit their submission. This in itself saves an enormous amount of time and gets the submissions from webmasters who make a reasonable effort to follow our submission guidelines into the directory quickly.

Editors work right out of my home office on a voice operated computer system designed for me since I’m a quadriplegic and have very low hand function. This also speeds work up considerably when you’re used to the command structure. We use multiple monitors so we can view the website and edit the directory at the same time without opening and closing windows. Submissions can be processed by dictation at an amazing rate but it does take several weeks to learn the voice dictation system and for it to learn your voice patterns and correctly interpret them.

Yes, we do allow page submission from websites as long as they are unique pages and can be placed in a separate topic. We recently added a website that sells promotional products that had a unique domain for every type of product to all the corresponding topics. This is done on a case by case basis and the page must be considered an asset to the topic and directory user and will be decided by one editor, myself to keep the policy as fair and consistent as possible.

Duplicate submissions are detected by the script. All URL’s are edited to use the same format and a duplicate will automatically by rejected upon submission or when edited to conform to our style guidelines.

Currently you have a free submission option for any type of website. Do you intend to continue this indefinitely?

WoW will always be a free service. We support the directory through modestly priced express reviews, advertising and sponsored submissions that we also treat as advertising. Sponsored submissions are allowed reasonable anchor text instead of the formal directory style guidelines. They will be limited to no more then 5 per topic.

When our database is sufficiently developed we will be opening it up as an open directory source. This technology is already in place and can allow for real time updating instead a waiting for an updated dump. In other words a site will be on all users’ sites the day it is submitted.

You built a comprehensive topical structure early. Why did you do it this way? How will you combat the changing meaning of language over time?

I think most of this was covered in question number two but to add to it. A lot of research went into what topics will and will not be used by studying topic structures. My experience over the years has shown me that topic structures built as you go ends up being excessively large and highly disorganized; especially in science areas that can be complex. As for how we will combat the changing of meaning of language over time. WoW is a development project that will never be completed since the internet is in a constant state of evolution. We have over 200,000 topics indexed by Google today landing us just below DMOZ and making us a very powerful webmaster resource but tomorrow we could have no indexed pages and will have to adapt to keep up with the continuing internet evolution.

If I wanted to start a new focused or general directory today what tips would you recommend?

Give the webmasters what they need. Links, good and fast service and as many pages index by the search engines as conceivably possible. This generates traffic, something directories have been poor in delivering. You’re not doing the webmaster a favor by accepting their site. They are doing you the favor by developing the database for you.

I don’t ever expect to see a profit from WoW but if I can build a quality and useful directory in a time when profiteering low quality directories are breeding like rabbits my dream will be fulfilled.

Thanks for the interview Bruce. Webmasters can submit their sites to Wow Directory for free at http://www.wowdirectory.com.

- by Aaron Wall, owner of Search Marketing Info

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