Robert Freeman's whole Media, Business and Technology thing. Sorted.

What are online directory services for?

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Old world solution looking for a problem?

This article about directory business Thomson Local, has made me wonder: In the world of online search, what are online directories for, and why are they still here?

I just got a new phone and wanted to buy a sturdy cover for it.  Did I nip over to Yellow Pages and search for a phone cover manufacturer?  Of course not! I didn’t even imagine that was an option.  I got onto Froogle.

I can sort-of see the point of having a directory for niche products or services, eg. rental property mortgage brokers. But when it comes to things like Dentists, isn’t that what a website + search engine, and (increasingly likely) a professional social-networking profile is for?

I always think of an online directory as something which was useful, not not after search engine spiders came along.

What are directories offering that search engines don’t? It’s interesting that Google and Yahoo both keep their directory sites (although they’re now dynamic and constantly re-indexing).

Presumably it’s wise for business to list in as many places as possible, but I don’t think I’d pay a directory service for that simple service.

Genuinely, am I missing something?  If you know the secret of a web directory’s success, please let me know.


Written by Robert

12 April, 2007 at 7:31 pm

Posted in Business

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