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A Web Directory that Helps You Do, Not Find

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Gimpsy is a different kind of directory, listing only sites that provide online activity or help you accomplish a specific task. Gimpsy founder, Mordechai Chachamu explains why.

A longer version of this article explaining the benefits of inclusion in Gimpsy, and the directory's unusual paid inclusion program is available to Search Engine Watch members.
Click here to learn more about becoming a member
.

It only takes a cursory glance at Gimpsy's home page to appreciate that it is quite different from all other directories out there. When, why and how did it all begin?

Mordechai Chachamu: The inspiration to Gimpsy came way back in 1999. As many other inventions, it came out of frustration with existing technology. I was trying to buy something on the Net, and used the search engines to get to the right site. I spent many hours and visited many sites without success. I started to think 'Why can't I get the results that I want?' and it occurred to me that the reason is that the search engines don't understand what I want! Is there a way to make them understand? It was then that the idea of Gimpsy was born. Gimpy is built so that once you have made your intention clear, it provides you with a list of sites where you can accomplish them.

What is it that makes Gimpsy so unique?

The most fundamental difference is the categorization model. Every directory follows the footprints of the first major directory, Yahoo. The home pages of all the directories look virtually identical -- they all have Arts, Business, Computers, Health, Science etc. A Yahoo style editor that reviews a site tries to answer the question: What is this site about?

A Gimpsy Editor, on the other hand, has a different question in mind. He or she asks 'What can the user do on this site?' Thus, the home page of Gimpsy simply lists verbs, like buy, design, play, subscribe, trade, etc.

The slogan "Active Sites for Active People" is related to Gimpsy containing sites that provide an interactive online service. Can you expound on this further, explaining what kind of sites are actually included in Gimpsy?

Gimpsy is highly selective when it comes to site acceptance. It will only accept sites for which the question "what can I do here" is relevant. If the answer is "reading," the site is not accepted, irrespective if the information if of the highest quality and the content is the most authoritative in the field. Some site owners find it very hard to accept.

OK, but how does this help the searcher?

By insisting on accepting only sites that provide online activity, the user gets a unique search experience at Gimpsy. Just browse any category at Gimpsy and it will become obvious. For example, Buy > clothes > uniforms > sports, or Learn > how to > use the Internet, or Order > personalized > songs & videos.

They all present the user with a list of sites where the desired goal can be achieved online. A great insight into the variety of areas included in Gimpsy can be seen at the 'Category of the week' page, that holds all the categories that were nominated in the past.

In your publications you keep emphasizing the natural language search method. Why do you think that Gimpsy will succeed where others like Ask Jeeves have failed?

Quite simply, Gimpsy is the only general purpose directory where you can enter a normal English phrase and get relevant results. As I said, you just tell Gimpsy what you want to do online, and it will show you which sites provide that service. Look at the examples page, where the last 15 Natural Language queries are kept.

How do you overcome the geographical restriction? After all, a New York based pizzeria will not deliver their freshly baked pizza to Chicago.

Any user, even if not registered with Gimpsy, can set his or her preferences which includes location. Once the location is chosen, Gimpsy will show only sites that are relevant to that location.

How does that work?

As part of the editorial review of every site, the editor is asked to determine the site's "coverage." In other words, to answer the question: Which areas in the world are being serviced by the site? It is a common experience among the non-USA Internet users to find a great site that has just the right merchandise and the right price. Only after placing the order and entering the credit card details they discover the 'so sorry -- we only ship within the USA' notice. You will never have such an experience at sites found at Gimpsy.

Can you explain how the "My Gimpsy" feature works?

This section is for users that wish to make the most out of the directory. Following a simple registration process, they gain access to an online form that allows them to communicate directly to the Gimpsy team. Most importantly, perhaps, is the access to the "Favorites" facility. As the name suggests, you can add sites to your Favorites collection, similar to your browser's Favorites.

Unlike the browser, when you select a site from Gimpsy to be added to your Gimpsy favourites, it retains its classification in your private collection. Even if you have amassed a large collection (and some users have accumulated hundreds of sites), it is always easy to find them again.

What else can a user do to fine-tune the search results?

In addition to the usual preferences, many categories have additional "attributes." It would be easier to explain by example. In the category Buy > home & garden > window covering there are now 49 sites (assuming location is set to USA). On the right hand side, there is a drop-down list titled 'Covering Style'. Clicking on it brings up various types of windows covering, such as blinds, curtains etc. If you select 'shutters' the list of sites will shorten dramatically and you will see just 9 sites.

What are your future plans for Gimpsy? Where do you see Gimpsy in a year from now?

Gimpsy's mission statement states: Gimpsy will be the definitive guide to the world wide web virtual city. This encapsulates our desire to be the first choice for every user that wants to do something online -- and doesn't know which sites provide it. Thousands of people are bookmarking us every month, and the trend upwards is unmistakable. I expect that trend to continue and to gain momentum. We may not fulfil the mission statement in a year, but we intend to enjoy every moment of the journey!

David Wallace is CEO and founder of SearchRank, a search engine optimization and marketing firm.

A longer version of this article explaining the benefits of inclusion in Gimpsy, and the directory's unusual paid inclusion program is available to Search Engine Watch members.
Click here to learn more about becoming a member
.

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