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First, thank you for bringing this to my attention.  I have listed NowNowNow in the Hyperlink Nodes Directory as a niche directory.

Second, Yes!  This is exactly what I’ve been yammering on about with decentralized search (or decentralized discovery, if you will.)  It’s not without some issues as you have pointed out and one issue is – will it scale, but it’s a nice effort that can be built upon.  Also it’s about individual people, which is what the Web is about.

Third, It’s a nice fresh approach to a blog directory, presuming it’s mostly blogs that have a /now page.  If you say “blog directory” everybody yawns, if you say /now page directory everybody perks up with interest.  /now pages are a good hook for personal blogs.

I’m curious how we might expand this sort of concept to other types of online directories? Is there anything else useful about how this is one is set up?


Going Conventional

You could replicate this with a good commercial Php directory script: just insist that the primary URL submitted be to the /now page and add whatever custom fields you need for bio information.  This would allow submission from the website instead of the two step email process.  It would also give the directory admin tools like dead link checking that help maintain the directory over time, plus a search function, the option to add hierarchical categories or leave it flat, the ability to sort listings in different orders, and an RSS feed of new listings.

A specialized personnel or membership directory script could be adapted too.


What is swirling around in my head is some sort of fusion of NowNowNow, and webmentions like can send, plus a conventional directory script for those backend admin tools.

  • I like the webring aspects to 1. it helps keep the directory current by requiring a bit of code on the page listed, if the code disappears you drop out. 2. Lets people optionally surf like a webring, 3. provides a link back to the directory – two way linking provides more traffic for everyone and frankly helps the directory to rank in search engine results too.  Downside: it is a mandatory reciprocal link which I’m not totally comfortable with.
  • sends a webmention to all sites that get listed.  Truly an indieweb directory by design. Trackback sending would be a nice backup to that because not everybody has webmentions.
  • NowNowNow provides submission which is 1. human reviewed, plus 2. URL submission that is more democratic than – any site with a /now page can submit. I say this even though I see email submission as problematic.
  • A conventional directory script would provide search, URL submission and other sorting options which would make things scale better and be maintained better long term by one admin.

Yes we need a 21st Century rethink of the conventional php directory script.  The above are some elements that could be incorporated.

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I ran across a web directory devoted to Neocities websites: Neocities Districts.  It’s a very attractive human edited directory. “Districts” are a nice nod to the nostalgia for old Geocities districts.

Neocities has a great internal search function to find sites powered by Duckduckgo.  But there is value in a directory like this one, in that you have a human editor sorting the wheat from the chaff.  Something no search engine crawler can really do.  If you want to find some interesting Neocities sites I suggest using Neocities Districts first.

I’ve added Neocities Districts to our Specialized Searching Category.

H/T: Web-Site-Ring.

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I’m still convinced that the most fruitful area for web directories is in niche directories, that is single topic directories.  For example: it could be about fishing, bass fishing, fly fishing, keeping tropical fish, or fishing in your area.*  (*Fishing in your area is more of a business type directory with addresses and maps, but that’s great too.)

What you are doing in a niche is: A. establishing yourself as an expert on that topic as it exists on the web, B. you want to either draw people in because of your knowledge, or C. draw in a community of people that share the same interest.  It’s the people of B or C that will use the directory.

But there are some things you need to look out for:

  1. You need to really like the topic yourself and have some knowledge about it.  Directory building is hard work and you need to stay interested.  You don’t have to be an expert, if you are willing to learn your expertise will grow as you build
  2. You need a topic that people are passionate about.  Passionate enough to make websites and blogs on the topic, not just post to Facebook.
  3. The topic needs to be filled with arcane knowledge that people want to share and find.  It can’t be a topic that one Wikipedia article can cover everything people want to know.  Topics like pen and paper role playing games, US Civil War history, various collecting hobbies, UFO’s etc. are all topics that amateurs write about and endlessly discuss and debate.  Those are the kinds of topics that generate blogs and websites.
  4. The topic needs to be broad enough to collect an audience, if you go too narrow you won’t find enough websites to list.
  5. You are going to need more than just a directory.  Combine your niche directory with a blog, wiki, knowledge base, big site of static pages, forums, maybe even three of these.  You need some other content that can be added to and updated to combine with your directory.  This is 2018 and  people don’t seek out directories like they used to,

Except for mentioning “fishing in your area” I’m not going to go into local business directories yet.  They are a slightly different animal and I’ll save that for another post.

Finally, don’t compete directly against Google and Bing.  Don’t fill your directory up with the same sites the search engines have on the first 3 pages.  Dig deeper.  Bring to light websites that the search engines overlook but are good sites.

If you have any questions just ask in the comments below.

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