Monday, February 21, 2011

Reciprocal Link Please?

On a daily basis, I get emails requesting a reciprical link from some or other website.

Generally, the content of this email starts something like, "Dear Webmaster, I'm the webmaster of http://.... We came accross your website, and feel that it would fit perfectly with our website..."

Generally, I reply with "Thanks for the link exchange offer. Please feel free to submit your website to my web directory at After submission, you will be given a reciprocal link specific to your website which will allow it to earn credits for each click..."

Nine times out of ten I get a response similar to; "We do not want our link in a web directory"?

I have a few questions,
  1. The name of my website is "Craigs Directory", implying that my name... (wait for it)... is Craig and not webmaster - this leads me to believe that the message was generated by a service
  2. The second part of my websites name is "Directory", there is a clue there as to what it is.
  3. What's wrong with web directories? Google has one ( and so does Yahoo ( so there must be some value in viewing websites by category?
If you are going to be trying to email webmasters for link a link exchange, at least have a look at the website you want a reciprocal link from - you might learn something.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Where is everyone going?

Over the last few weeks, I have been monitoring the number of emails that bounce back to me and taking appropriate action on assotiated websites in Craigs Directory.

30 Days, 60 days, 6 months and 1 year after submission I send out update emails which let the user know the rank of their website. If the email bounces back to me, I set a "noshow" flag against the users website(s) which disables them in Craigs Directory (please see Where's My Website).

I have broken the results down into groups of 10,000 website listings. I'll let the graphs do the talking (basically, the red bit is the percentage that have bounced).

Websites 1 - 10,000

Websites 1 - 20,000

Websites 1 - 30,000

Websites 1 - 40,000

Websites 1 - 50,000

Websites 1 - 60,000

All Websites (as of 18-Feb-2011)

So, it seems, the older the website listing, the higher the probability that the email will bounce back - where is everyone going?


PS. Website approvals are now taking 2 - 3 months so I have changed my update email strategy to 6 months, 9 months, 1 year and 18 months. This could make matters worse.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Where's my Website?

Over the last week or so I have been monitoring the number of emails that bounce back to me after sending out "update" emails from Craigs Directory (see my previous post Are Web Directories Set and Forget?). Due to the number of bounces to date, I have decided on the following plan of action;

If an email bounces back to me due to an invalid account, then I update all the website listings using that email account with a "noshow" flag. The result is that;
  1. The website is not show when browsing by category
  2. The website is not show on the top 25 or latest links pages (if applicable)
  3. The website is not shown in the Top 9 of the home page or Category pages (if applicable)
  4. The website can only be found in the RSS feeds and by doing a search for keywords that match the website.

In some cases, the same email address has been used by SEO companies or they have provided a temporary email (on their domain) to clients - leading to hundreds of websites no longer being listed.

If the email bounces back due to a typo or something recoverable, then I will try to correct the issue and not set the "noshow" flag.

So, apologies if you suddenly find that your website is no longer listed in Craigs Directory. Please check your website (do a search for your website, i.e., let me know, and I will remove the "noshow" flag.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Are Web Directories Set and Forget?

As the owner of Craigs Directory I try to keep a good hand on the websites listed in my directory, but I have noticed a disturbing trend...

As you may know, Craigs Directory is slightly different to normal web directories in that it ranks websites according to the number of credits each website has earned. These credits are earned through clicks or purchases.

When a website is submitted to my web directory, I send the user an email thanking them for their submission. Once their website is approved, I send them another email informing them. So far so good. After that, I send the user update emails 30 days, 60 days, 180 days and 1 year after submission to keep them informed about the rank of their website (there is an opt-out link).

Obviously, there are a few emails which bounce back telling me the account does not exist, but the longer the period from submission to email, the worse this situation becomes. When is comes to the 1 year emails, I am finding that about 1/3 of the emails are bouncing back!

I have a few questions:

  1. Do people change their email addresses annually?
  2. Do people use temporary emails when submitting to web directories?
  3. If the email address is no longer valid, is the website?

I have a webbot which checks all websites in my web directory and removes those that no longer exist. But what do I do about those that still exist but I can't contact the website owner? Delete it from my index?


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Craigs Directory - A Few Cosmetic Changes

After a brief review of Craigs Directory by a web designer, I have made a few cosmetic changes on the home page, namely;

  1. Reduced the size of the "Web Directory" image
  2. Changed the "Welcome" text
  3. Reduced the thumbnail size of the "Top Ranking" websites and increased them from 9 to 12 (same done on the category selection pages)
  4. Removed the background colours of the information boxes on the right
  5. Reduced the size of the navigation links (top)
  6. Changed the base colour of the top navigation links

Please let me know what you think of these changes.