Feeds

Directory sites doomed, says survey

Need to take a leaf out of Yahoo's book

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

As New York publisher Primedia agrees to a $5 million deal to buy About.com, a report out this week warns pure online directory sites may be a dying breed

Bricks and mortar Primedia hopes to harness About's Web presence, while About aims to gain access to Primedia's battalion of sales staff and exploit traditional advertisers through the marriage.

But pure online directories, unlike About, will have to make a few improvements to their business models if they want to survive, according to New York agency cPulse. It claims these sites are showing some of the highest levels of customer dissatisfaction on the Net.

In the second quarter of the year, customer satisfaction levels for these services dropped 22 per cent from the previous quarter. Twelve per cent of respondents to the survey said they would never return to a directory service again, while another 15 per cent said they'd rather find other ways of finding information online.

"The days of pure hierarchically-based, drill down information retrieval are waning," said cPulse exec VP Jody Dodson.

"Unless directory sites immediately make the transition to the best search technologies, it won't be too long before they become artefacts."

The way to stop becoming a dotcom directory dinosaur is to follow Yahoo's lead and incorporate a search engine facility (it uses Google), cPulse claims. The research, which involved quizzing more than 10,000 directory visitors between January and July this year, found such hybrid sites were fast replacing pure directory sites. It also reckoned pure directories would soon be obsolete because most Websites in the future will offer some kind of intuitive search capabilities anyway.

Users also complained that search technology on pure directory sites still left a lot to be desired - dissatisfaction in this area rose 39 per cent from the first to second quarter of this year.

"Many directory sites are not keeping up with the advances in technology," said cPulse analyst Michael Hochster.

"Pure directory sites must immediately incorporate flexible and forgiving search technology. Flexible searches allow users to search by many relevant variables."

These 'forgiving' searches let users enter partial or inexact search keywords and don't need 100 per cent accuracy.

Another gripe about directories was that categories were not clearly labelled.

To survive, directory sites must do two things, the survey concluded: "Make the transition to the right search technologies immediately, and continue improving fundamental directory attributes like category labelling and search variables, remembering that visitors still demand the shortest path to the information requested".

According to uPulse, sites classified as 'pure' directory include: e-fool.com, worldwebexpo.com, gap.com and sneaker.com.

Examples of hybrid sites are: about.com, 4anything.com, handilinks.com, business.com and landoflinks.com. ®

Related Stories

Primedia swallows About.com
Google in lead as search wars hot up

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.