Feeds

Directory sites doomed, says survey

Need to take a leaf out of Yahoo's book

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

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

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.