Sometimes, working on a project is like travelling on the M6 motorway (or I95 for our US readers) on the night before a public holiday.
For some of the journey, you can easily cruise along in the fast lane at 80mph without any traffic or stopping. For the rest however- complete standstill as traffic grinds to a halt on busy exits and intersections.
We’ve spent the best part of this entire week on just one, seemingly miniscule problem – how to handle the problem of categorising the sites for sale our application lists. Here the dilemma:
- Some marketplaces (such as Webmasters Marketplace) do not support categorisation at all. We have a solution for this, but it’s rather complex and involves analysing the site itself for the evidence of certain key phrases, in addition to looking for code mark-up to establish the engine the site is built on (WordPress, Magento etc). This should give a clue as to a site being Ecommerce, Blog, CPA etc but it is by no means perfect. Initially, most sites will end up being uncategorised.
- Some marketplaces do support standard categories (thank you Website Broker!) which makes our job so much easier as we only have to join their category up to one of ours.
- And then there’s marketplaces that have no categories, and leave it up to the users to decide which tags they’ll append to their listings – I’m sure any seasoned site trader will know who the culprit is!
Number 3 causes the greater problem for two reasons.
Firstly, anybody can theoretically append any tag to their listing. Whilst this helps buyers potentially find sites that are too new or too niche to have their own category, it doesn’t help with general searching or reporting.
Secondly, having so many different tags (284 at last check) seems to be organised chaos. Can you imagine browsing through all of these as categories on a drop down list – a list probably the length of your 22” monitor! We had to take a step back to create a solution, and appreciate that it won’t ever be ideal.
We’ve created 18 top level categories (and welcome your feedback if we’ve missed anything)
Blog and Content Driven
Affiliate and One Page Sites
Software Download and Torrenting
Forum and Marketplaces
Online Community and Networks
Directory and Bookmarking
Video, Image and Tube Sites
Coupon and Discount Sites
Online Gambling and Gaming
These categories were created after some discussion and debate, but represent what we think people would like to see from a buyer’s perspective vs the challenge of keeping the list concise and simple to navigate.
Each tag is assigned to a ‘master category’ and new tags, as they are added, are firstly assigned to ‘uncategorised’ then later updated by a human editor. In the event of a conflict in tags, the first tag wins. This solution is far from ideal, but it allows you to browse sites by category and pull reports from the archives for “average sale price for Directory Sites with a page rank of 2 or above” for example.
As for the next step, we’ll inevitably have to create a contextual search of the sites themselves to fully ensure categories are correctly allocated. But until we launch, it’s back to the grindstone on finishing our ‘not-perfect-but-still-damn-good’ launch version!