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Are Top sites really Tops?

Amit Sahay has visited the "Top Sites" site, and files this report:

Top sites - Breaking the ice!!

top sitesIt is often seen that big names spell disappointments since they always fall short of our expectation. Growing dissent creates a demand in market and this makes way for entry of new and better products for eg. Topsites.com.

Who is Top Sites?

Top site is well classified web guide in diversified fields spanning over three and a half million sites with an average traffic of 11,189 per week. Assets Editors in more than 230 countries are working towards making Top sites the most comprehensive web directory. This participatory method has helped in creating a realistic web directory created and used by true net users.

Cost benefit analysis tilts the scale in its favor as unlimited advertising at $ 5 per month is good enough deal for a virtual market place. Advertising is the most costly constituent of any marketing plan and thus has to be chosen judiciously so getting the desired exposure i.e. 70,000 pc's per month at an economical rate i.e. $ 5 per month is definitely a win-win deal.

Feathers ruffled

It is very obvious for Top sites to elicit negative response from big colleagues as it stands to threaten their 'domain' so understandably some negative publicity is being associated with it but then with humanistic approach and realistic participation, Top sites is geared up top scale new heights.

What is real?

Something about this review seemed like we should have heard of this site before. So we decided to take a look and see what the hooplah is all about. Yes, this is a cleanly created site, and it appears to function flawlessly. There are indeed a lot of sites here -- but very few we had ever heard of.

A directory administrated by humans

Another site with the "humanistic" approach has been around for years and has been a trusted directory for most web users. Of course we're talking about DMOZ.org.
      DMOZ is a 'community' project web site that employs "volunteers" who actually validate the claims of the person submitting the site. Over the years, DMOZ has built a highly regarded reputation as a "Directory" site because it is not influenced by advertising or payola from those wanting the top rankings. It is also not influenced by sites like About.com who regularly register thousands of pages and inter-link those pages in an attempt to corner the market on certain keywords. Because DMOZ listings are indeed checked by an individual knowledgeable in respective fields of concentration, no single site can grab the spotlight.
      When Google came into the top search engine position, however and began utilizing the directory services of DMOZ, things began to change. Many of their categories have closed because they don't have the man power to keep up with registrations. So as each day passes, DMOZ has less and less current listings.

Looks are deceiving

The review of Top Sites certainly caught our attention. But on a closer look we're discovering the sites there are really not the "Top Sites". And, as Sahay says:
"It is often seen that big names spell disappointments since they always fall short of our expectation."
We agree 100%.
      A quick check of Top Sites revealed that it is owned by the same marketing firm who owns the "Able Solutions" (AbleCommerce.com) site, in Vancouver, WA. Further investigation showed that those listed in Top Sites are not necessarily 'top sites' as the reader might expect, but rather web sites using the AbleCommerce ecommerce solution.
      So, we took the next logical step -- register the Design Center. Obviously having been called a "Top Site" by Publish Magazine, Macworld, ZDNet, and USA Today, the Design Center should be a likely candidate to be included in the "Top Sites" site, right? Wrong.
      When we went to register we were met with this screen stating that "ONLY Able Commerce sites may be registered in Top Sites" -- which sort of skews this entire critique. While Top Sites is certainly a cleanly designed site which functions perfectly, it seems to be somewhat misleading in it's published mission statement. How can it market as a fare and true directory site when only it's own customers can be listed.

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