Renewed ZEAL: Web
site promotion with Zeal.com
closed down in 2006)
There are LOTS of web
directories out there, and getting into them can be either very difficult,
very expensive or both.
Zeal is a another volunteer-supported web directory, similar to
the Open Directory
in approach. Zeal has been around for a couple of years, but until recently
it was a complete backwater generating very little traffic and was hardly
worth bothering with, despite the efforts of the editors.
Well, times have changed
and Zeal has become one of the more interesting directories on the web,
and one that anybody promoting a non-commercial web site needs to be aware
Put simply, Zeal merged
took a long, hard look at the way it worked and reinvented itself.
The merger is important
because Zeal now feeds non-commercial sites into the Looksmart directory
along with others - to quote Zeal itself: "additions to Zeal can be seen
on LookSmart, Microsoft's MSN, Excite@Home, AltaVista, media companies such
as Time Warner, and more than 370 Internet service providers. Zeal-LookSmart
content reaches 77% of US Internet users through the expansive LookSmart
When you realize that
getting your web site listed in Looksmart costs a cool $299, getting your
site listed in Zeal suddenly becomes very interesting indeed.
The process to get
listed is unusual, and a little time-consuming (but remember, we are talking
about something worth $299 here so it's worth the effort). In order to add
a site, you first have to register and then pass the Zealot Quiz, which should
be done after having a good look at the editing guidelines. The quiz has recently
been made easier, as it used to be very, very tough indeed.
Once you are registered
as a Zealot, you can submit sites to the directory for review. Some categories
are listed as "Commercial" so you can't submit to them, but a large quantity
are "Non-Commercial", and these are the categories Zealots maintain. Submissions
are normally processed within a few days - a much more reliable system than
the Open Directory. It takes about 24 hours to get into Looksmart after
that. Zeal is also pretty conservative when it comes to nudity, adult material,
inciting hatred and illegal activities - basically everything needs to be
suitable for a family audience.
Zealots gain points from
making submissions and edits. Once you have enough points and a high enough
quality rating you can edit non-commercial categories. As a Zealot you can
do as little or as much as you like.
How does Zeal compare
to the Open Directory? Well, both are fine directories. ODP feeds into Google
and many other search engines and portals. Zeal/Looksmart feeds into most
of the rest, so the two are complementary. (Dynamoo wrote about submitting
to the Open Directory in July 2001)
Most of the difference
lies in the way the sites are edited. ODP has a huge army of editors, each
responsible for one or more categories. Zeal has a much smaller number of
Zealots, some of whom don't edit categories at all but submit individual
sites across the directory for review by others. ODP editors therefore tend
to concentrate on their own categories, but Zealots are encouraged to add
good sites wherever appropriate.
In ODP more emphasis
is placed on building up the number of listings - as a result, many categories
can be utterly comprehensive, but with varying quality of sites. Zealots
are rewarded for submitting high quality sites and thus tend to avoid bad
ones, as a result the listings can often be of a higher quality but less
comprehensive. Both directories are good, but with a different emphasis.
The biggest advantage
ODP has over Zeal is that it will list commercial sites for free, assuming
that the category you submit to has an active editor - but for most commercial
sites the $299 Looksmart fee shouldn't be a problem.
From an editor perspective,
ODP is fun because it's such a huge project, but Zeal has much better editor
tools. Many Zeal editors are also ODP editors, but Dynamoo's advice is to
avoid editing the same category in both directories for copyright reasons.
And in both Zeal and ODP abuse of the system is not tolerated and will get
you booted - so read the guidelines carefully!