The Best of the Web (botw.org), one of the internet's original website directories (created in 1994), has decided to tackle the blogosphere in a big way—by introducing a hand-edited blog directory. Although the directory was soft launched on November 12 of this year and officially launched November 15th at the WebmasterWorld Search Engine and Internet Marketing Conference in Las Vegas, the directory boasts over 5000 blogs. The Best of the Web blog directory is located at blogs.botw.org.

The search portion of the Best of the Web blog directory is still in beta, and should be "ready for release within the next 30 days. We are still tweaking the post functionality of the search – grabbing current content from the directory…kind of like Technorati does, without all the spam", according to Greg Hartnett from Best of the Web.

According to Hartnett, "we have been interested in blogging for about 18 months, and have been monitoring it closely for the last 12. We came up with the concept of the blog directory in July of this year, and began development shortly thereafter. We were able to draw off the experience of building the BOTW directory, and minor modifications of the underlying code enabled us to deploy an admin interface for it within days. From there, it was a matter of figuring out some of the taxonomy and filling in the blanks."

Right now, there are currently just over five thousand blogs listed in the Best of the Web Blog Directory. According to Hartnett, they plan on having close to twenty thousand blogs listed when they beta launch the search portion of the site. Since Best of the Web has been around since 1994, they have the directory submission process pretty much down to a science. Just like in the BOTW Directory, each blog gets manually reviewed. While they welcome new websites at the BOTW Directory, only blogs that are a minimum of six months old are considered for inclusion in the Best of the Web Blog directory. Additionally, the blogs must be current—with active posts, and all blogs must be relevant to the category in which they're submitted. They also must contain unique content—there is zero tolerance for spam blogs, often referred to as splogs.

Currently, all submissions to the Best of the Web blog directory are free of charge. According to Hartnett, "in the here and now, the submission flow is still at a level where our editors can review the submissions in a pretty timely fashion. Additionally, the level of spam submissions that we are receiving aren't in the danger zone. Once the submissions get to a level that it makes sense, we will introduce a submission fee. Market forces will dictate exactly how that will work and what how much it will cost."

According to Best of the Web, "we see blogging as the most recent killer-ap--a new medium for the transmission of information to the masses in a conversational format. Unlike websites, which tend to be more commercial in nature, and definitely much more of a monologue in terms of information flow, blogs tend to be more informational in nature (though corporate uses for it have become more mainstream), and by definition facilitate a conversational atmosphere between author and audience. So, you have not only readers, but active participants in your informational stream. As active bloggers, we saw a gap in the market--no place that was (a) committed to providing a directory of quality blogs, and (b) providing tag based search that wasn't crushed by spam. We saw the opportunity to use our experience building the BOTW directory to marry a quality directory of blogs with a killer search product. The blog directory stands alone from the BOTW directory for the following reasons: (1) the difference between the mediums (blog versus website) is great enough that they warrant separation; (2) BOTW directory uses its own proprietary site search, while the blog directory uses a tag-based post search."

Founded in 1994 at the University of Buffalo, Best of the Web has been a pioneer in recognizing the best sites online. From the initial concept of Web Awards, BOTW has transformed into a general directory spotlighting the web's premier destinations. All sites listed in the directory are examined by our team of editors, and only if qualified are granted inclusion. Editorial review ensures that all sites are appropriately listed in their most relevant category. BOTW currently employs more than 70 paid editors, many with experience at other major directories including Yahoo, DMOZ, Looksmart, and About.com. BOTW remains committed to building a comprehensive directory of content rich, well designed websites, categorized both topically and regionally.

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December 2, 2005





Bill Hartzer currently runs a Strategic Online Marketing Consultancy that includes services such as search engine optimization, social media marketing, and online reputation management.

Bill Hartzer formerly managed the Search Engine Marketing division of Vizion Interactive and MarketNet, leading interactive marketing and website design firms in the Dallas, Texas area.

Hartzer is a successful writer, blogger, search engine marketing, and social media marketing expert. During the past fifteen years, some of his many accomplishments include: Search Engine Marketing Manager, Vizion Interactive, Search Engine Marketing Manager, MarketNet, Search Engine Optimization Strategist, Intec Telecom Systems PLC, Webmaster, Intec Telecom Systems PLC, Founder, Dallas/Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Association, Owner/Author, Corporate Web Site Marketing, Administrator, Search Engine Forums, Frequent Speaker, Search Engine Strategies Conferences, Frequent Speaker, WebmasterWorld's PubCon Search Engine and Internet Marketing Conference.








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