27 April 2005

The price of independence

How depressing!

I had an email yesterday evening from the MD of a new hotel accommodation website who's noticed that I list them on Travel-Lists. (They are new this month so I don't suppose they get many referrals in their stats yet!) He emailed to thank me for the listing and to offer an affiliation deal - a commission on sales to people refered by us - quite a good deal actually.


It's a fairly regular occurance, and I always have to bite my tongue when I turn it down!

We've had an exchange of emails and I had to explain my policy on affiliations is because I'm swimming against the tide. In order to claim total editorial independence from the travel companies that I list...

  • I don't do affiliations
  • there are no paid-for listings
  • I don't take submission review fees
  • and, worst of all from my point of view I don't do reciprocal links... which really hurts my search engine rankings!

The 'upside' is that I get to legitimately claim that travel-Lists is "the only truly independent travel directory on the internet".

Sometimes (times like these!) I wonder if it's worth it. Charging visitors a subscription to access quality content instead of charging companies to advertise themselves in a directory is definitely 'swimming against the tide'.

(In some quarters it is seen as offence against god and the Internet! Two years is not an unusually long time to wait for a listing in dmoz, particularly in a popular category, but I've long suspected that the reason Travel-Lists is not listed, and not likely to be, is that that Open Source Movement find the subscription business-model too distateful. Ironic really, because I consider dmoz to be the only other fully independent directory, but not quite as independently aloof as me when it comes to inclusions policies!)

It is certainly nothing like as profitable, as just caving in and taking the money like every other professional (non-hobby) directory on the net. Never mind if the public only ever get shown clients, members, or advertisers when they research their holiday options on the net...rant! rant! rant!




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