“I’m thinking about starting an Online Directory”

Just met another person looking to start an online directory. I didn’t want to be rude or anything, but I looked at him and simply asked, “why?”

I think to myself, has he never heard of Google? Or Angie’s List? Or Yelp!? Or for you 25 percenters, Bing? Why would you ever try to start an online directory when Google has become a verb!? In order for an online directory to work, you have to have traffic: visits, hits, return users. While not an online directory, Google is essentially a phone book.

So, he gives me his pitch, “Free business directory, free business network, free referral system, and we’ll give you a free website.” Again I asked, “why?” Thinking, I have a website already.

I’m not trying to lambast this guy, but he wasn’t adding anything new to the online search/online directory market. Pandora was one of the first online radio sites, but they’re losing ground to Spotify because of features like custom music lists. Pandora was first, but Spotify, in many ways, is better. To enter a market place after someone else, you have to add something that doesn’t exist. You can’t just copy someone else and hope to ride their coattails. 

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