VMOptions Web Directory Logo

Check out our Google+ Page for announcements and useful links.

2013 Administrative Review Fee Increase

October 22, 2013 08:26:10 PM

As most people know, 2013 has been quite an interesting year for internet marketing professionals and those who operate online businesses. From Twitter’s upcoming $1 billion IPO to Google’s constant algorithm updates, the online landscape is getting more challenging for businesses to navigate. As the result of these changes, many businesses have found that adapting to new trends is the key to their success online. We too must adapt to the changes occurring online, which unfortunately has added a significant amount of labor to the administering our web directory. Effective immediately, all submission review fees are increasing by $10 per review. Below we will explain why this price increase is needed and offer a little insight into why administering a web directory in 2013 became even more challenging.

There are few companies that can impact businesses across all industries as Google can. Google, which controls over 67% of the search and 1/3 of the global online advertising markets, has challenged the internet marketing techniques that were common for many years with their algorithm updates this year. From algorithmic to manual penalties, Google’s advice to these people is to remove “low-quality directory or bookmarking site links” so that their website’s performance in Google will improve. While it is difficult for some individuals to ascertain what a low-quality directory may be, relying on the example links that Google provides in Webmaster Tools does not make the task any easier. Even DMOZ, which Google duplicated for many years as the rebranded “Google Directory,” was listed in Webmaster Tools as a sample link that should be removed. Although John Mueller of Google responded that listing the DMOZ link was “a mistake on our side,” it adds to the unreliable information that many webmasters are receiving. This unreliable information has led to confusion and many people are drawing conclusions that Google despises all directories, social bookmarking websites and forums. This is wrong. There are some web directory owners who are working hard to provide the internet with a quality resource, including these paid directories, and they should not be classified in the same way as people often generalize the directory industry as a whole.

While Google is accurate in stating that many directories and social bookmarking websites are low quality, they all are not. “You are what you eat” is a good expression that can be slightly modified to accommodate websites by saying “you are what you post,” which is a responsibility that we all share in as webmasters. For years our web directory has taken a unique approach to editing. Our editors write. Upon review of a submission, our editors look at the page being linked to and describe it in our own words. While this may offend some, we feel it adds value for users, those websites listed within our web directory and us. Considering the amount of effort that goes into each review, we feel there are very few directories out there that work as hard as we do to earn each submission review fee.

Just as other web directories, we do get link removal requests. The changes Google has made in 2013 have been a significant burden on publishers of all types, and our web directory is not exempt from the ill effects of Google’s changes. However, we have publicly stated on our guidelines page that well over 90% of the link removal requests we receive are fraudulent. In fact, over the course of 2013 we have removed less than twenty listings that were initiated by legitimate user requests. Why have we received so few legitimate link removal requests? We believe our editorial integrity is mostly what separates our web directory from others, but this integrity comes at a price.

As any good web directory would do, we often reject submissions from low quality websites. Although 99.9% of the submissions we reject receive a full refund on their review fee, providing we do nothing with it, we do have some users that do their best to bypass our bans and force-feed their submissions on us. Some malicious website owners have even gone to the extreme to “blast” our directory with links complaining about how we rejected their submission, and others threaten us on a daily basis. These acts place us in a difficult position as we try to maintain a suitable level of quality in our web directory, yet perform the labor required to deal with abuse to preserve the standard that both users and submitters expect from us.

Many website owners, who were harmed by Google’s algorithmic updates in 2013, have used other techniques to remove links that point to their websites and internal pages. Some webmasters have made subtle changes, such as adding www to their URL and generating a 404 error to their penalized pages. Although this was recommended by John Mueller of Google a while back, the practice still continues. For us, as a publisher, we feel that we must make even minor corrections within our web directory to maintain a suitable level of quality. Over 2013 we have modified or removed hundreds of listings simply because of redirects and non-existent websites. This too has added to the growing administrative effort that is required to maintain this web directory.

2013 has definitely challenged web directory owners to step up or step aside. While many web directories have closed or changed owners, VMOptions continues to push forward by listing quality websites within our web directory and refusing listings to those who would taint our efforts over the last six years. As we move forward, we remain grateful to your continued support over the years and your understanding in why our submission review fees must be increased.


VMOptions Staff

Subscribe to this Feed
RSS Feed