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.
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.
Is Gimpsy more "spider friendly" than other directories? If so, how?
Well, you can get an objective indication for it at the directory section of Strongest Links. From about 80 directories, Gimpsy is ranked 7th in the world in total "saturation." But that's not the full picture. If you check the "info" page of the leading directories, you will see that Gimpsy is much more balanced than many other directories and is indexed well in all the search engines. The advantage for the site owner is that a site listed in Gimpsy is likely to be spidered and indexed by many search engines -- not just Google. As you know, getting indexed by some search engines is a notoriously long process, unless you are willing to pay for inclusion.
Does Gimpsy contribute to the PageRank of sites listed in it?
Indeed it does. First, unlike many other directories, Gimpsy allows sites to be listed in several categories, which means that a site can have several links to it. Moreover, each directory page contains just 10 sites by default. In addition, each site has its own detailed information page, which links only to it. Many sites can see their back link from Gimpsy at Google, even though the home page has, at the moment, a PageRank of just 6.
Is submission to Gimpsy free?
Gimpsy provides a free submission option. There are no strings attached -- totally unconditional. However, as the queue for review is now very long (by the way, we operate on a strict 'first come first serve' basis), a free submission is likely to be reviewed after about 4 months. As we are becoming more and more popular, the queue length is likely to go up.
You must get tons of spam submissions. How do you effectively deal with this?
First of all, we ensure that it would be nearly impossible to use a script to submit sites to Gimpsy. Only hand-submit works. Then, we make it very clear that we are very stringent in our editorial process and we will not tolerate spam. So far, I can't say that it has become a major problem.
You do offer a paid option as well. What are the advantages of using the paid option as opposed to the free option.
Our approach to the paid option is to provide maximum value for money. We promise (with a full money back guarantee) that a decision will be taken within 72 hours. We offer additional benefits too. For example, every site accepted through the paid option is promoted to a prime position for 90 days. Interestingly, every one knows how important it is to rank high in the search engine result page, but they don't think that the same applies to directories!
Our internal statistics show that nearly 70% of all the referrals went to sites listed in the first 10 places. Thus, a paying site will not only be included faster, indexed by search Engines sooner and enjoy a higher PageRank, but is likely to get many referrals too.
In addition, we also provide 90 days free use at the Strongest Links site (http://www.strongestlinks.com), which in itself is worth nearly as much as the current submission rate of $40.
Besides the paid submission option, are there any advertising opportunities on Gimpsy and if so, how do they work?
Here, too, we have chosen a unique model, which we believe is the best for users, site owners and Gimpsy. It works as follows:
- Every category has a limited number of prime positions, to be auctioned on a monthly basis.
- Site owners can submit a sealed bid for one of the available places.
- On the first of the month, all the bids are opened and ranked according to the bidding sums.
- The first place goes to the highest bidder, second place to the next one and so forth, until all the available places have been taken.
- All other sites are randomly reshuffled.
That's it. The winning sites will enjoy a significant boost in visitors - without any additional payment.
Is Gimpsy's mission to be different in every aspect? Why not use Pay Per Click (PPC) like everyone else?
I see you want to extract some venom from me... OK, then :). I believe that PPC is, quite simply, evil. It is a recipe for dishonesty. Every day thousands of site owners are losing vast amounts of money to unscrupulous PPC engine owners. I am not saying that all the PPC owners are blatantly cheating, although some certainly do, and I have experienced it myself.
The problem is that the PPC system makes it so easy for competitors to harm each other, by using either automated scripts or employing an army of "clickers" from India, as was just recently revealed. They get paid, the PPC owner gets paid and only the site owner is left with a hole in his pocket. I believe that the Gimpsy model is superior and hope it will become a blueprint for others too.
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.