Wednesday, December 14, 2005

GoGuides.Org Redux

Shortly after the Search Engine Strategies San Jose 2005 Conference and Expo, I posted a message on the XODP Yahoo! eGroup extolling the virtues of GoGuides.Org and Best of the Web, and I invited the powers that be at each of these Web directories to put in their own two cents. Shortly thereafter, I heard back from Brian J. Prince, CEO and President of Best of the Web, who sent me a private e-mail thanking me for the plug on XODP, and sometime later I received an e-mail from Robert Barger, CEO and President of GoGuides.Org, who was apparently experiencing severe technical difficulties with his e-mail for several weeks after the San Jose show.

I met up with Robert Barger again in Chicago at the latest installment of Search Engine Strategies 2005 on December 6th and 7th, and I had a chance to discusss some of the issues that were raised about GoGuides at XODP. Specifically, as alluded to by XODP poster Brian Sammon, when someone visits the GoGuides website and is interested in becoming a volunteer GoGuide, they are more or less driven to the application page for people who are interested in becoming Submission Specialists. To be clear, GoGuides Submission Specialist program is a fee-based program that is *NOT* designed for volunteers. It is designed for professionals who work in the field of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

The Submission Specialist program is one of three ways paid submissions are processed at GoGuides. To wit, subject to GoGuides submission guidelines and the scrutiny of the powers that be at GoGuides, Submission Specialists are given access to the entire GoGuides directory so that they can process submissions for their clients and customers. If submitters have only one or a small handful of websites that they want to submit to GoGuides, they have two other fee-based options: Easy Submit and Express Submit.

GoGuides' Easy Submit program costs $69.95 and requires only the submission of a(n) URL along with a fee that is used (in part) to compensate a GoGuide who reviews that submission, writes an appropriate title and description, and finds an appropriate category for listing that submission in the GoGuides directory. If an Easy Submit submission is declined, the fee of $69.95 is REFUNDABLE. With Express Submit, a submitter pays a NON-REFUNDABLE fee of $39.99, and the submitter is obliged to write an appropriate title and description for his or her submission and find an appropriate category for it in the GoGuides directory. Like the Submission Specialist program, neither Easy Submit nor Express Submit are likely to be of any interest to people who want to volunteer to be GoGuides.

If you are interested in volunteering to be a GoGuide, an application can be found by following a rather obscure link found on a Web page that narrates GoGuides' site submission guidelines. However, I am informed and believe that the vast majority of GoGuides volunteer applications are rejected by the powers that be because monitoring paid submissions has become a full time enterprise for GoGuides President and CEO Robert Barger. Even so, volunteers are still a very important part of the GoGuides directory. To wit, the vast majority of paid GoGuides were formerly volunteer GoGuides who proved their commitment to quality control. I might add, quality control seems to be the primary concern at GoGuides, but virtually all GoGuides submissions are still processed in two days or less, and there is absolutely no backlog beyond three days.

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