Aviva Directory

Discussion in 'Jobs I Have Had' started by Ken Anderson, Dec 25, 2015.

  1. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    For the past several years, my wife and I have been working for Aviva Directory, sometimes working as many as fifty hours a week, but more recently we've been doing thirty hours a week each.

    My wife and I met while working for the Open Directory Project, which is now known as DMOZ, so this is something we've been doing for a very long time.

    We work from home, and set our own hours, although there are times when something comes up that needs to be done right away. We work thirty hours a week, but that can be done in three ten-hour days, six five-hour days, or any other arrangement. For the most part, we work on things that need to be done in order to improve the directory, deciding which things these are for ourselves, although the owner of the directory sometimes assigns projects.

    For the past year, I've been working my way up from the bottom of the alphabet, adding categories and sites to various state categories. Along the way, I learn a lot about the cities and towns that I am adding to the directory. Right now, I am working on the Lathrop, Missouri category. The business model is we add useful sites to regional and topical categories for free, which are available for free to anyone browsing or searching the directory pages. But, because we don't add every site that might be relevant to a category, other site owners will pay to have their sites added as well.

    For example, a specific town might have twenty motels, hotels or other lodging facilities. While building that category, I might add five of them. Usually, I'll choose the independent hotels or bed and breakfasts, whose sites are otherwise not easily found on Internet searches. Any of the other fifteen hotels or motels might pay to have their sites added as well, either individually or, in the case of a chain, something they will pay to have pages for thousands of their hotels added to the directory.

    A listing in a reputable directory will not only bring visitors to the listed sites directly, from people who are browsing the directory, but the listings will help their placement in search engine results as well.

    A few years ago, I was asked to fluff up the directory's Channel Islands categories, which includes the Bailiwicks of Guernsey and Jersey. What an interesting category that was, so much so that I even bought a novel that was based in the Channel Islands during the Nazi occupation.

    A few month ago, I came across a blog that had referenced these categories and thought they needed to be refreshed, so I spent another couple of days there, replacing bad links and searching for new ones to add.

    Every category has a brief description of the topic of the category but sometimes we write short articles as well, such as the one that I wrote for our Anabaptist category. The idea is to eventually have articles for most of the categories but that's a tall order. Most of our Paranormal categories have articles, but it'll take a while to have articles for each.

    We have never met our boss, as we have communicated only be email. Still, we have worked for him for more than a decade, and hope to continue much longer.
     
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    Last edited: Dec 25, 2015
  2. Holly Saunders

    Holly Saunders Veteran Member
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    Oh the channel Islands are beautiful.....they are also a Tax haven for many , many, multi national organisations as well as individuals...
     
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  3. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    Here's what I do for a living. Although I edit all over the directory, for the past year or so I have been pumping up the regional categories of Aviva Directory.

    I am working my way up through the states, from the end of the alphabet. I am currently on Missouri.

    I find a site that includes a good list of villages, towns or cities within the state, such as, in the case of Missouri, the state page.

    Beginning a the top of the alphabet, I do a Bing search on the city and the state. If I can find at least five web sites that are related either to the community itself or to businesses, churches, organizations, individuals, or anything else within that city or town.

    If there is already a category for that community, I will expand the description of the city or town, using whatever source I can find but being careful not to simply copy the description from Wikipedia or the official town site. I will then add more sites to the category.

    Otherwise, I will create the category as long as there are at least five sites that pertain to it. I will add subcategories as long as there are at least five sites for them, as well.

    For example, if there are at least five church sites, I will create a "Faith & Spirituality" subcategory, and add from five to eight church sites. I try not to add all of the ones that I can find, unless I can find only eight, because the business model is that those that are not added might be willing to pay to have their site added to the directory. This is especially true of businesses, such as hotels, restaurants, or law firms.

    When I add a site, I will enter the URL, give it a title, and give it a description, usually two or three sentences, one describing the business or organization, and another describing the site itself.

    Right now, I am on Richmond Heights, Missouri. As we don't currently have a category for Richmond Heights, I have done a search. I can see that Richmond Heights has a population of nearly nine thousand, so I am sure that I can find at least five sites to create the category.

    I will add the official town site and, if there is a Chamber of Commerce site, I'll add that, along with any sites for the town's police, fire or ambulance services, any economic development commission, schools, libraries or museums, since these will seldom pay to be included.

    I will also add a few random businesses or churches.

    If, during my search, I come across a few church sites, a few restaurant sites, a few retail store sites, or any other type of site, I will do a more definitive search to see if I can find at least five of any of them. Sometimes, I'll add a category for four, but usually five is the cut off point.

    Richmond Heights is more difficult than most cities or towns. As an inner-ring suburb of St. Louis, some of its businesses or churches have St. Louis addresses, so I have to actually look them up on the map. Additionally, some Clayton sites carry Richmond Heights addresses.

    I see that there are negotiations underway for merging Richmond with Clayton, so if I were unable to easily find at least five sites for the category, I might not bother, since someone would have to go back in and change it if the two towns were to merge.

    As it is, it looks like I'll easily find at least five sites but I won't take the extra time that it would take me to determine which of the sites with a St. Louis address are actually in Richmond Heights.

    So, for Richmond Heights, I will create the category and add five or six sites that I can find easily, and then go on to the next town.

    I will make a point of mentioning Clayton in the Richmond Heights description so that if the two cities do merge, someone searching on Clayton will find this category as well, which is what I did when I created the Clayton category a while ago.

    This is how the Richmond Heights category came out. Some cities are much larger, with several subcategories.

    That is what I have done for a living for the past couple of decades.
     
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  4. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    I've been in Clayton, Missouri. My son lives across the river from St. Louis so we there a lot. Plus all the nicer surrounding areas of St. Louis.

    Missouri is a pretty state in my opinion, it's just not mentioned a lot as a trip destination.
     
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  5. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    I have worked for four of the six directories listed in this article.
     
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  6. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    That seems like it would be a very interesting thing to do, @Ken Anderson , and I would guess that both you and @Michelle Anderson enjoy the variety and learning so much about lol of the different areas that you do research for.
    The webpages you linked to look like they would be really helpful; but I have never heard of this directory before, let alone ever used one.
    Is it hard to find that kind of online work like you are doing ? I think that this is something that would be a great job, once a person learned how to do it.
    I don't have the kind of computer skills that you have; but if I did, this would be something that I would enjoy doing, too.
     
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  7. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    Directories aren't nearly as popular now as they once were, although there are hundreds of them. Some of them are one-man operations, and many of them are all but worthless. The better ones have been around for quite a while and employ people who have been doing this for quite some time, mostly those who began as volunteer editors with the Open Directory Project, now known as DMOZ. My wife and I met while working for the ODP, as it was known then. Actually, we began even before it became the Open Directory Project. She started in 1998 as one of the first editors, and I started some time after that.

    At that time, most people used directories to find what they were looking for on the Internet since search engines were clunky. Now, most people use search engines although the better directories still get human visitors. Nevertheless, a listing in the better web directories will enhance a site's placement in the search engines so they still have a place.
     
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  8. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    @Ken Anderson
    The list of categories for Missouri fails to list the town of Black, a not inconsequential town when compared to Bunker, which IS listed. Just so you know! :)
     
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  9. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    Black is an unincorporated community, while Bunker is an incorporated city. We don't exclude unincorporated communities if we come across them, particularly when they have their own post office but, just now, when I looked, I found only three sites for the category in the first six pages of Bing results. Black was on the list that I used but since "black" is also a word, every site relating to anything black in Missouri shows up in the results. So I get sites about black bears in Missouri, including the Missouri Black Bears, race issues in Missouri, black studies, black squirrels, school sites referencing blackboards, and even schools that have black uniforms. It probably didn't seem worth the bother. If someone from Black, Missouri were to submit a site to the directory, then we'd revisit the issue.
     
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  10. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    I have been popping into the forum frequently every day, and try to post at least a few times a day, but I haven't spent a lot of time here, creating new topics, etc. I have been working on the Paranormal section of the directory, and that's sort of a difficult one because, while I enjoy some parts of it, such as ghosts and hauntings, it takes a lot for me to gather up a lot of excitement for clairvoyance, Atlantis, crop circles, and some of the other sections. I still have to work on crop circles, cryptozoology, Illuminati, occult, subliminal messages, time travel, totem animals, and UFOs, which seems like most of them, but there were a lot of subcategories to clairvoyance and paranormal research. That will be the case in cryptozoology too, but I sort of enjoy that one. Although there are sites in all of these categories, some of them are no longer good, and I am expanding the category and site descriptions, and adding new sites, and probably some new subcategories.
     
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    Last edited: May 24, 2017
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