January 4, 2003
Table of Contents
Quote of the Week
Featured Resource - HTML PICTURE
Staff Article -
SUBMITTING YOUR SITE TO THE OPEN DIRECTORY
Guest Article -
VAMPIRE MEETINGS AND HOW TO SLAY THEM
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Quote of the Week
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- Romain Gary
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YOUR SITE TO THE OPEN DIRECTORY
by: Cary Christian
With the major search engines charging for inclusion, the Open Directory,
which charges nothing for inclusion if your site qualifies, has never looked
better. Additionally, the Open Directory provides you with a backdoor into
many of the major search engines at no cost since it provides core results
to more than 350 search engines, including Netscape Search, AOL Search,
Google, Lycos, HotBot, and DirectHit.
WHAT IS THE OPEN DIRECTORY?
The Open Directory Project (ODP) is a web directory of Internet resources
maintained by volunteer editors who evaluate sites for inclusion in the
directory. Yes, that's right. Every site included in the Open Directory is
reviewed and approved by a human being! No spiders or robots, no trick
search engine optimization techniques, just honest to goodness evaluation by
a real person.
You can find the Open Directory at
http://www.dmoz.org . It looks a lot like a search engine, but it is
not. Sites that are reviewed and make it into the directory are listed in
categories that start out broad and become more specific as you drill down
into the listings. The sites you find in a category have been deemed to
logically fit into that category. Sites do not make it into a particular
category or subcategory because of their use of meta tags or other
This levels the playing field for you. You don't have to be an SEO expert to
get listed. But you do have to have a site that adds something of value to
HOW WILL MY SITE BE EVALUATED?
The goal of the ODP is to create a directory that is useful to its users. As
a result, the editors are selective in granting their approval. You should
be aware of the ODP guidelines prior to submitting. The following types of
sites are NOT deemed appropriate for inclusion in the ODP:
1. Mirror sites - A mirror site is identical to some other site
online but simply has a different URL. For example, if you have an affiliate
site, your site will contain the same content as every other affiliate of
that program. This type of site is known as a "Fraternal Mirror" site.
2. Sites with overlapping and repetitive content, even if not
technically a mirror site, will not be accepted. Since there may be quite a
few sites with similar content to yours, you can avoid this problem if you
make sure you include original content along with your more widely-available
content. (This is a good practice from a marketing standpoint anyway)!
This category of sites that will be rejected includes product sales pages
where the manufacturer of the product should be listed instead. Again,
you'll need to supplement this type of site with your own original and
3. Similarly, you should not attempt to submit your site to multiple
categories using different URLs.
4. Sites that redirect - If your URL simply redirects to another
site, your submission will be rejected. This is true even if your redirect
is "cloaked" so that it is not readily apparent that a redirect is being
used. The editors will catch this.
5. Sites under construction will be rejected. Your site should be
complete and all the links should be working properly. However, if your site
is not complete but contains original content that cannot be found elsewhere
online, it might be accepted if the editor believes your content adds value
to the users of the directory.
6. Affiliate marketing sites - This includes sites that offer little
other than affiliate links, the "fraternal mirror" sites we discussed above
and MLM representative sites. These sites won't be listed because of all the
duplicated content. The main site of the affiliate or MLM program might be
listed, but the affiliate or representative sites will not be.
If the URL you're submitting is an affiliate link, forget it. If it's a
fraternal mirror? Forget it. However, your site will not be rejected just
because it contains affiliate links as long as you provide original and
useful content as well. If the editor deems your site to contain useful
information when the affiliate links are ignored, your site should be
7. Needless to say, sites with unlawful content will be rejected.
8. Sites built totally from search results will not be accepted. ODP
site listings must take the user to a specific page.
If you've created a site that offers useful information and does not violate
any of the above prohibitions, you're ready to submit. Otherwise, create
some original, useful content for your site before submitting. Let's look at
an example of this.
Assume you are selling brand name physical products on your site. If your
site consists of sales pages for the products you sell, you're not going to
get your site listed. The manufacturer of the products you sell can get
listed, but not you.
However, you've discovered some very unique ways to use these products that
people generally do not think of. So you get busy and write some articles
and tips and place them throughout your site to help your customers learn
how to enjoy your products to the fullest extent. Congratulations! You've
just created a site that contains useful content and that will likely be
accepted for inclusion.
READY TO SUBMIT?
The hardest part of the process is creating a site that the editors will
believe is worthy of inclusion in the directory. Submitting is the easy
part. Simply navigate to:
and follow the directions. You'll find a brief description of the above
prohibitions followed by four easy steps to get your site submitted.
STEP 1 - Determine whether your site is appropriate for submission.
We've covered that above.
STEP 2 - Do a search in the directory to make sure your site is not
already listed. This is simple enough. Do a search on your company name,
site title and on your URL.
STEP 3 - Identify the single best category for your site. This is
perhaps the hardest and most important part of your submission process. You
need to get this right not only to have your site accepted, but it has a
major impact on your target market being able to find you after you are
listed. Spend some time with this step. It really is important.
STEP 4 - Once you've located the category you want to submit to, go
to that category and click the "add URL" link at the top of the page. If the
"add URL" link isn't there, you haven't drilled down into the subcategories
enough and you'll have to get more specific.
Once you click "add URL" you will be taken to a page and presented with a
short and simple form to complete. Read the page carefully as it will give
you information about the category you have chosen that will help you be
sure you have selected the most appropriate category.
Remember that search engines are going to be accessing your ODP listing.
Therefore, some search engine optimization concepts are applicable (related
to your site title and site description) when completing your ODP submission
If possible, include keywords in your site title. For example, our Peak
Small Business Center might better be titled "Small Business Resources." You
don't have to change the name of your site, just the "title" meta tags in
the header of your page.
When writing your site description, do not include promotional language or
hype. Write your description dispassionately. Simply describe what your site
has to offer. Again, use your site's keywords in the description.
All that is left is to read the very short submission agreement and press
the submit button. You're done!
It may take anywhere from four weeks to several months for your site to
start appearing in search engines that use ODP data. But when it does,
you're going to be SO glad you did this!
Copyright (c) 2003
VAMPIRE MEETINGS AND
HOW TO SLAY THEM
by Peg Kelley © 2002-2003
Meetings can be like mythical vampires - sucking the life out of intelligent
and creative people. And sucking the funds out of businesses. Unfortunately,
there are too many of these meetings in business today.
A UCLA study said the "typical" meeting includes nine people. What are
the dollars associated with this? Suppose the average salary of meeting
attendees is $40,000. Their hourly pay is about $20.00. Nine people for one
hour costs $180.00. Not bad, right?
But consider the implications. People don't spend just one hour a year in
meetings. A 3-M survey in 1998 reported people spend between one and 1.5
days per week in meetings. They also said 25% to 50% of those meetings was
wasted. Conservatively, say 25% or two hours per week is wasted in
meetings...times nine people. 18 hours a week. Times $20.00 an hour. 18
times 20 times 48 weeks = $17,280.00.
This is a conservative number. For only nine people. How many people are in
your company? And how much time do they spend in meetings each week? These
figures do not include the preparation time, fringe benefits, meeting and
travel expense or, worst of all, opportunity cost. Really, what could these
people have been doing for your business if they weren't tied up in
ineffective meetings week after week?
So, what can we do about these vampire meetings?
First, look at your regularly scheduled meetings. What is the objective? Are
they all really necessary? Can the agenda be covered via paper or email?
Does everyone have to be there for every meeting?
Once you know this meeting must be held with these people, set a
meeting objective. Share it with people before and at the start of the
meeting. Post it on a flipchart. Typical meeting objectives might be:
Generate ideas to overcome our funding problem, Gain understanding of our
new retirement plan, Get updates on three key projects, etc. The advantage
of having a clear objective for your meeting is that people will police
themselves and stay on-topic. And if they don't, you can point to the
objective and say, "We have 30 minutes left and still have to achieve this
goal for this meeting." Knowing and sharing the objective is a wonderful way
to manage the group's energy and focus.
Another way to keep your meetings productive and efficient is to manage the
people dynamics. One of the most common energy drains is when one person
talks and talks and others never get to say a word. If possible, have a
meeting facilitator whose job is, among other things, to make sure everyone
gets appropriate airtime. When you do not have the luxury of a
content-neutral facilitator, then the chairperson must manage the group. In
this situation of one dominant personality, the chairperson can enforce
brevity for all. Explain that you want everyone to give his or her thoughts
in a sentence first and then elaborate on it. So, when that individual
starts his/her comments with an unfocused beginning ("20 years ago, I worked
at a company and there was this woman named Ann.."), you have the permission
to step in and say, "Could you give us your point in a sentence first,
Paul?" Being even-handed in implementing this approach is vital.
Another technique for this situation is to paraphrase the speaker's point.
Interrupt when he or she takes a breath and say, "So you're saying that."
and when they agree, you turn to the rest of the group and ask if anyone has
anything to add or a different perspective. Thus you use the power of
paraphrasing to help the speaker be concise while taking back the control of
How you close a meeting is very important. Much like mythical vampires who
fade away at sunrise, many meetings tend to splutter to a close when the
allotted time runs out. We've all been in meetings where the chairperson is
trying to set up another meeting while attendees bolt for the exits.
Energize participants by doing this, instead. Five minutes before the end,
call a halt to discussion and revisit each of the agenda items and state
what was decided. Then identify next steps with specifics. "Sandy, you will
investigate prices for this, right? When can you have it done?" Then set the
date for the next meeting.
By pointing out what has been accomplished, identifying next steps, and
setting the next meeting, you will create a sense of momentum and people
will feel the time spent was productive.
Like a wooden stake, these tips will slay pale, unproductive vampire
meetings and replace them with lively, effective ones. Attendees might
actually look forward to your meetings! And you will, too.
Peg Kelley, MBA, has been a professional meeting facilitator for 25 years &
is co-author of the booklet "39 Secrets for Effective and Enjoyable
Meetings" available at her Facilitation Plus website at
We hope you have enjoyed this issue of the
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