Community Directories
July 25, 2006, 11:59 am
Filed under: media, Podcasts

The age of directories is upon us, but directories aren’t enough.

It’s almost a waste of time to try and discover anything new with Google or any other search engine, the web has gotten too large. Search engines are great tools if you know what you are looking for, but to go out and discover new things…forget it.

Alternatively, there are many efforts underway to create directories with a taxonomy of items from commerical directories to blogs to podcasts. These generally fall into two categories: 1) webcrawling, automatic discovery, or 2) human selected sites based on preference or recommendation. The former are exhaustive but non-discriminating and depending on the topic being covered they can be just as hard to use for discovery as Google. The latter are naturally more limited in scope, but may miss out on some of the best content in the category because of the creators reach and exposure.

It will be very interesting to see what impact this has on the evolution of community directories.  If the technology currently available via RSS and OPML is leveraged to allow a broad spectrum of individuals to collectively assemble directories, complete with rating/ranking and commentary we may approach a happy medium… broad reach, deep experience in the category and human value added first and second order information about content.  There are still a lot of pitfalls to the approach, but there is still more promise than in automated search and indexing.

At Podcast.com we are building the infrastructure necessary to facilitate community directories for podcasts both audio and video. Beyond community directories, we’re building tools to allow both active participation and passive consumption. It’s more than just a recommendation engine. We’re looking forward to seeing communities connect with the content that matters to them, and to seeing people connect with communities that feel right. 



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