The Death of Zeal


Zeal, the directory that Looksmart bought in 2000 for $20 million is to be closed at the end of the month.

Three things that boggled me about Zeal:

  • You could submit your own pages at the page level, while writing your own title and description - useful for ranking top 3 on MSN a couple years ago. Didn't they expect people to abuse that?
  • They have over 1,000,000 pages from an old trusted authority domain indexed in Google. How is it possible that they can't break even on that?
  • The Google AdSense ads currently on do the following:
    1. Make far less than they could otherwise make due to poor color theming, sizing, and positioning.
    2. Probably ticked off and pushed away some Zeal editors.
    3. Foster distrust from advertisers. Not using their own ads shows Looksmart's lack of trust in their own technology or product. Why would they use a default AdSense banner over their own in house ads? And if they don't put their own ads on their own content sites then how shady do you think the sites that qualify for and publish their ads are?

    Anyone want to bet on when Looksmart closes shop?


Goofy Test

If they got rid of that goofy test you had to take I might actually have bothered submitting something.


I best start spidering then. It's always been on my todo list.

I liked the goofy tests

Actually I liked the Zeal test (speaking as a Zealot) was great training on how to properly submit to helped me to be a better DMOZ editer, and helped me in knowing the best way to submit to the Yahoo directory...

but beyond that, how can they just shut it down?
Would anyone in their right mind "shut down" a site with 90k backlinks (yahoo linkdomain) (including ~250 .edu backlinks)??
Shit, I'd buy it for a few thousand least they'd get something out of it....why just shut it down...ok, abandon it...but shut it down???


I don't get it, never did understand the whole LookSmart/Zeal/Furl thing or why it's still here as they all just invoked major yawns.

They're using nutch for something, probably Furl, and I got into a flap over a comment I made about them not setting the user agent and probably firing someone probably from Furl or Looksmart and replacing them with OpenSource, pretty amusing.

"shutting down"

What does that mean? Will the directory be gone, will it just be closed, or?

You mean

I will never get a chance to finally pass my zealot exam. Oh well ...

Too bad

I spent some time in Zeal some years ago. I really liked working there and thought the tests were a great idea. At least you knew the editors had some idea of what a title and description should be. ;)

was that $20 million in cash

was that $20 million in cash or stock options? if it was stock options that would make it worth about $100,000 today.



Mercy Killing

After MSN dumped them, it's more like a mercy killing that should have come a long time ago.

I remember I tried to be a

I remember I tried to be a zealot once a long time ago. The "test" I was to take broke. And, their design interface was terrible: very difficult to use.


and so its gone. Everyone got their DB dump? :)

What a loss

Were any of you still submitting to Zeal? I gave up on it about three years ago. I remember being turned down because a non-commercial site I submitted linked out to some sites which were commercial. It was a directory. A non-commercial, niche directory. Of course it linked to commercial sites.

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