According to the latest figures generated by Mark Davies at Victoria University (http://www.mcs.vuw.ac.nz/~mark/netsites.html), there are 6868 distinct organisations having TCP/IP connectivity, with entries under the New Zealand portion of the DNS name space up from 6419 a month ago and up from 2215 exactly one year ago.
On top of that there were 99,787 separate Internet addresses listed in the New Zealand portion of the DNS. Although this tremendous growth is great for ISPs, Web designers, Internet journalists and other assorted snake oil salespeople, all of these users are cluttering up what once was a well-ordered cyber-community. In short, the New Zealand Internet scene is getting crowded.
The challenge facing Web site sponsors is to ensure that their sites are sign-posted in the appropriate places. The challenge for punters looking for New Zealand-based information is to know how to use the tools to find what they are looking for. In the past year we have seen a comparative growth in ways of both listing sites and resources to find what you are looking for.
AccessNZ (http://www.accessnz.co.nz/), one of the first New Zealand-oriented directories, now has more than 1835 listings of Web sites with especially good coverage in tourism, education and entertainment. Many of the listings are accompanied by annotations. Registering your site is easy with on-line forms and self-categorising.
Yahoo (http://www.yahoo.com/Regional/Countries/New_Zealand/) now has 1964 entries for its New Zealand section, with especially good coverage for regional sites. It also has a number of business-oriented sites. Again, registering your site on Yahoo is simple.
Another good directory is Ara Nui (http://www.lincoln.ac.nz/libr/nz/) from Lincoln University. It is stridently non-commercial and a great resource for education, community, government and cultural sites.
There are two very good search engines dedicated to NZ sites — Anzwers (http://www.anzwers.co.nz/) and SearchNZ. Both are “moles”, which means that they burrow into Web sites in the NZ domain space and build indexes based on key words in the text. Anzwers is powered by Inktomi, one of the innovators in search technology.
I’ve found Anzwers to be very effective when searching for specific names or events. Search NZ (http://www.searchnz.co.nz/) uses “fuzzy logic” search techniques, so it is very good for subject-oriented searches. You can register your site with both services, but whether or not a person can find it is a function of how well they do their search.
NZ Explorer (http://nzexplorer.co.nz/), maintained by Binary Bros, is another search engine that does key-word searches. It has more than 170,000 key word-indexed pages at its disposal. There are also quite a few commercial business directories that run from very good to total rip-off, but don’t confuse a business directory with a search engine. A very good one, however, is the New Zealand Business Directory (http://www.nzbd.co.nz/), which has excellent coverage over a wide variety of disciplines.
All of these resources have been around for a while and are relatively stable in respect to technology. They are all growing in respect to content. It is essential that you register your site with as many directories and search engines as possible if you want to maximise Web traffic to your site.
There are also other options, such as the new page listings at Aardvark (www.aardvark.co.nz), which monitors new sites.
If your site is worthy in some respect, a good tactic is to nominate it for a SODA (Site of the Day) award at www.soda.co.nz. With all the competition out there for surfers’ online time, you need to use every tool possible to get your site noticed.