Best of the Web Wishes a Happy Birthday to the Nerd Herd

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Best of the Web celebrates two years of contributions by its outstanding pool of professional directory editors.

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Quite simply, these editors know what works. Their outstanding contributions have been fundamental to our growth over the last two years and we feel the team’s unique skills and experience will continue to be a huge asset for us in the future.

It’s been two years since Best of the Web broke new ground with its recruitment of some of the directory industry’s finest; since then its team of professional editors, affectionately known as the Nerd Herd, has continued to grow and to lead the directory’s focus on quality resources for users.

The original Nerd Herd was a small, carefully chosen squad but the ranks quickly expanded. The Herd now comprises several dozen well known editors from across the world, all having extensive admin, meta or editall experience at ODP and all sharing the common goal of building an outstanding ontology and filling it with the brightest and the best websites available. A small team of volunteer editors is also on board, working mainly in the blog directory.

The Nerd Herd is responsible for hand picking and listing websites across the directory and for editorial review of non-commercial submissions. The team’s experienced eyes and discriminating standards drive the commitment to list high quality sites, while a collective and intuitive understanding of directory structure means the team is ideally placed to resolve ontological issues and eliminate category overlaps. “The Nerd Herd came on board with an unrivalled knowledge of sound directory practice, ontology, structure and categorization,” explains Greg Hartnett, BOTW President. “Quite simply, these editors know what works. Their outstanding contributions have been fundamental to our growth over the last two years and we feel the team’s unique skills and experience will continue to be a huge asset for us in the future.”

From all walks of life and covering a variety of fascinating professions, each Nerd Herder offers a unique view, maximizing BOTW's appeal across the board. As “Claudiadot” notes, “It’s great working with folks who have their own areas of expertise, whether it be science, medical, different areas of business or regional topics. Over the years, we’ve all become experts in certain areas and that adds to the overall value and quality of the directory.” Tasmania-based “Sjmcn” adds “I know we all take a real delight in seeing BOTW products develop so successfully. We relish the trust placed in us by management to do an excellent job and the freedom we’re given to do things right has helped us build a fantastic directory where the over-riding concern is quality.”

Keeping BOTW search results interesting and fresh is a big role for the team and editors regularly focus on current events, anniversaries and hot topics in order to ensure that the directory boasts the most relevant, most up to date and most thought provoking links on whatever’s making the news at the time. Choosing the daily “editor top picks” highlighted on the What’s New page is part of the role for Nerd Herder “Irasplinky” who says “I find three little gems a day and hope that searchers will view these sites and learn about a topic what they might not have considered exploring. I love to find odd, quirky, interesting, important or beautiful sites to add. I might choose a website because of its outstanding design, unique topic or a current event/trend, but I always like to make the choices interesting in some way.”

A UK based team of Nerd Herders has overseen the launch of the BOTW UK and Ireland Directory using the trusted flavour of the original directory with categories organized to reflect localized British and Irish needs. As UK editor “Merlin” puts it, “We’re all extremely proud to be flying the flag for BOTW over here. We had the freedom to organize the UK directory in a way that makes sense for our British and Irish users and it’s a real buzz to highlight fantastic websites relevant to the UK audience.” With the addition of editors from Australia and New Zealand, the Oceania categories in BOTW are also growing significantly and once again, the knowledge of local professionals on the ground is proving invaluable.

Rob Jones, the original “Nerd Herd Shepherd”, began working for BOTW on a contract basis in late 2007 but is now a full time staff member, his appointment reflecting the weight attached to the Herd’s overall contribution to BOTW’s growth and success. Other members of the Herd have diversified within the directory structure, too, making important contributions to BOTW Local and to the Blog Directory in addition to their roles in the main directory.

Among many memorable moments for the team, BOTW was proud to welcome back “Lmocr” from an extended tour of duty in Iraq and equally proud and grateful to wave off “Tania” as her unit left for Iraq. The Nerd Herd is a close knit, supportive team, hot on mutual trust and mutual respect. Whether editing pretty much full time or fitting in the work around families and other work commitments, and whether based in the US or anywhere else in the world, the one thing they all share is their passion for the directory. “It’s a great feeling to find unlisted sites from small towns and help put them on the map, so to speak,” comments Irasplinky. “A museum site that might never be discovered, for instance – one that took me, an experienced searcher, quite an effort to ferret out – that’s how I make a difference. That aspect is what really floats our collective boat. That’s why the Nerd Herd edits.”

About Best of the Web
A true internet pioneer, “The Internet’s Oldest Directory” began in 1994 as an awards site where users voted for the best websites across a spectrum of categories. It has evolved into a comprehensive editor-built directory, categorizing and describing content-rich websites across the net. In addition to the now classic Web Directory, BOTW offers a localized UK and Ireland Directory, a comprehensive Blog Directory, and a Local Search Directory which drives millions of page views monthly. For more information visit the BOTW Blog, the official site for everything Best of the Web.


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Robert Schmid
Best of the Web
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