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Best of the Web Directory is a commercial web directory providing websites categorized topically and regionally. Headquartered in Jericho, New York, BOTW also maintains offices in Orange, Texas, Rocklin, California, Studio City, California and Highland Beach, Florida.
Founded in 1994 at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, BOTW pioneered the web awards concept, recognizing the best sites online via an annual vote and presentation, highlighted by the announcements at the International W3C Conference in Geneva. The last awards were given in 1998, after which the site lay dormant until being sold. The award winners from 1994, 1996, 1997 and 1998 remain listed on the botw.org website.
In 2002 BOTW transformed into a general web directory, aiming to provide users with a spam-free categorization of websites. The company employs a team of paid editors that search the web for sites with original content, whilst considering user-friendliness and web standards. BOTW offers listings for both commercial and non-commercial sites, and places each site that meet their editorial guidelines in its most relevant topical and/or regional category.
Due to the manual editorial involved in the listing process, many search engines view listings in "quality directories" as a valued citation. Website owners report of submitting their sites to directories can increase their search engine listings.
Best of the Web also maintains the BOTW Media network, a network of dozens of blogs authored by subject experts.
In 2006, Best of the Web introduced its first lead generation platform, focused on the enterprise software industry. The BOTW Enterprise Software directory serves as a marketplace where users can search for software solutions and request additional information form a host of vendors. In early 2012, the Software directory was shut down.
In 2007, BOTW expanded their lead generation offerings with the Senior Housing Directory. Users are able to collect information on housing options for seniors throughout the United States and receive further information from selected vendors.
In 2008, Best of the Web launched their local search offering, BOTW Local. BOTW Local provides users with detailed business information for over 16 million businesses in the US. In addition to searching for local businesses, users can leave reviews and vote for their favorite businesses. While completely free to users, businesses have an option of a free version or an enhanced listing for a fee.
Diversifying again in lead generation, in April 2011 Best of the Web launched the Online Degree Directory, a resource for students and professionals to find information on online degrees and programs offered by colleges and universities in the United States.
BOTW allows site owners to submit their websites for an expedited review, and commercial sites are required to pay for the review. The company currently offers a choice of either a one time fee or an annually recurring fee for an editor to review the site for possible inclusion into the BOTW Directory. Review fees are non-refundable, and only sites that meet the editorial guidelines are listed.
Additionally, BOTW offers advertising in the form of category sponsorships. Category sponsors are highlighted at the top of their applicable category, and also receive enhanced placement in the BOTW search results. While sponsored listings undergo the same editorial review as directory listings, if accepted, the advertiser is granted more flexibility in category selection and more control over their title and description.
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