To the majority of us Internet is defined by Google. It starts and ends with Google, or in general, a search engine. Search engines are the gateways to the internet, where we find the websites what we are looking for, utilize their services or buy a product off one of them and start afresh again on the search engine. Search engines have minimized the need to memorize the plethora of websites that are there on the internet and provides an easy access, as easy as counting One..Two..Three.
But what many people may not know is that search engines find their roots in web directories, in terms of organizing the content on internet. Web directories predate popular search engines of today. The Virtual Library (vlib.org) was the first web site to organize the content in a manner a web directory would. As a rule, web directories would maintain a topical list of websites, categorized under a homogenous category. They sought to classify the whole of internet under broad categories such as Health, Finance, Travel, Shopping, Sports, Business, Real Estate etc. Each of these categories, given their vastness, were divided into sub-categories such as Dentistry, Disorders, Diseases, Medicine etc under Health category, Lodging, Tour Operators, Transportation, Destination Guides etc under Travel category and so on. Subsequently, even the sub-categories are divided into, if you will allow the expression, sub-sub-categories and so on. Then, each of such categories were categorized geographically if appropriate.
The underlying idea was to put together a list of websites under a webpage that are direct competitors of each other. As the internet grew, the vastness of directories too grew and so were the number of websites listed categorically. Some could not keep pace with the internet and fell by the wayside and very few could. Notably, Open Directory Project (dmoz.org founded by engineers at Sun Microsystems in 1998) due to its ability to harness the social power by employing an army volunteer editors, and Yahoo Directory (dir.Yahoo.com in 1994), its ability being intrinsic to the power of well-known Yahoo! One may be surprised to know that Yahoo! In fact started essentially as a web directory and later scaled the heights it did, as we all know.
To an extent some directories could keep pace with the exploding size of the internet. But, internet started growing to a size, which directories could represent only partially. Search engines became inevitable to scout the internet to search its nether regions. What would take minutes to reach in a directory, took only seconds. Of the many search engines started, Google held the flag post and returned to users what they were looking for at the click of a button.
Yet, directories still hold their own utility. The fact that most of the well-known directories are human-edited, instils a kind of confidence in the websites lists, which search engines lack. The quality of a result in search engine is only as good as the ability of a person to use the right search keyword. Once on a right category, it is easier to find the alternative websites that are closely related to one another. Contrary to search engine results that are prone to changes from time to time, directory lists are usually constant, which one can bookmark. Search engines use the data from directories to organize their own data, given the human element associated with directories.
Directory Journal (www.dirjournal.com), a web directory, is emerging as a popular directory, with many salient features. It is an established directory, starting in 2007. True to being a web directory that lists websites under various categories, Directory Journal provides many interesting features, which most other directories do not. Such as, an interactive regional map, guides, articles of interest, popularity of listed websites, owner of a website through a whois service, the historical evolution through the popular Wayback Machine, traffic potential with the help of Alexa traffic rank and so on. If one is looking for information or to grow his business by listing the website, Directory Journal becomes a natural choice.