Snap Unveils LiveDirectory

In the wake of moves by the Open Directory and Go to allow more user participation in constructing their directories, Snap has unveiled a new "LiveDirectory" system that allows sites to be added within minutes to its guide.

It''''s a significant move, because crawler-based search engines such as AltaVista and Go have moved away from the "instant add" features they once offered, due to abuse by spammers. But Snap''''s implementation, within a directory structure and with some submission tracking features, might prove more resistant to abuse and perhaps ultimately beneficial to webmasters and users.

"This is aimed at getting the newest sites in fast," said Paul Wood, Snap''''s Senior Product Manager for Search & Directory.

In the past, submissions were placed into a queue, for review by Snap editors. If approved, they were added to the Snap directory. Under the new system, submissions are made available nearly immediately in the "LiveDirectory" area of Snap. Over time, sites listed in this area that come to attention of editors are reviewed and, if deserving, promoted into Snap''''s "main" directory.

For instance, if you look for "coffee research," you''''ll see how the new LiveDirectory data fits into Snap''''s other search resources. First, you are shown any matching hits from the editor-reviewed main directory, under the heading "Top Web Sites." Next, any matching selections from the LiveDirectory appear in the "LiveDirectory Web Sites" area. After that come results from Inktomi''''s crawling of the web, in the "All Web Pages" section.

In the search above, examples from all three data sources appear on the same results page. In contrast, most popular searches will continue to be dominated by results from the main directory. For instance, a search for "coffee" brings up 11 pages of results just from the main directory alone. For this reason, spamming of the LiveDirectory system is likely to be more limited, as it offers far less chance of ranking well for popular terms.

On the other hand, for very specific queries, the system is now more likely to fall through to LiveDirectory information. As this has an element of human involvement, I suspect it will result in better relevancy than the former dependence on pure crawler-based information for backup. It''''s an interesting compromise between making the most use of your editors, allowing user participation and still providing comprehensive crawler-based coverage when needed.

As a searcher, you needn''''t do anything special to access the LiveDirectory information. Just search as normal, and if the main directory has no matches, relevant hits from the LiveDirectory will appear, as explained above. Snap may also offer a link at the bottom of the results page to "Find the latest listings" for your topic within the LiveDirectory.

If desired, you can bypass any main directory results and go straight to LiveDirectory answers. Simply do a search, then choose the "LiveDirectory" link in the navigation bar that appears just below the search box, on the results page. FYI, you can also use the other links to access results from other data sources. "All Web Pages" takes you to Inktomi-powered crawler results. "Pictures," "Audio" and "Video" take you to multimedia search results powered by Snap''''s editors, image search engine Ditto.com and Inktomi.

Why would you go directly to LiveDirectory information? You might wish to see the very latest entries for a particular topic, which haven''''t yet been reviewed by an editor. Just be aware that because they haven''''t been reviewed, the quality may be less than main directory listings. Also, at the moment, there is no way to browse LiveDirectory listings in the way you can browse main directory listings. They can only be accessed via the search results page.

Snap
http://www.snap.com/

Be aware that LiveDirectory was just recently integrated into the main site, so formatting and other ways of displaying the data may alter from as described in this article, as Snap fine-tunes the system.

Snap LiveDirectory
http://livedirectory.snap.com/

This is the LiveDirectory''''s home page, where you can search for any sites already listed and access the Update feature.