In Partnership with AOL Search


Below are some general guidelines for listing sites in the Regional branch. They are intended to apply to the category as a whole, from the Country level downwards.

Given the general nature of these guidelines, it may be challenging to apply them to your specific geographic area. To make site listing easier and to ensure sites are listed in a consistent manner, editors should create Category Descriptions for every category from the country level on down. Category Descriptions should explain site listing at the more granular level to reflect your specific geographic area. Category Descriptions should support and supplement these guidelines, and should in no way contradict them. Take care to create Category Descriptions that are in sync with the rest of the categories in your area.. Consult fellow editors as necessary to make sure everyone understands and follows the same set of policies.

Guidelines for writing category descriptions.

Types of Categories & Sites to Include

These guidelines are a bit biased toward large country categories. For smaller country categories, you should follow the guidelines as they relate to your country's geographic taxonomy.

Country categories should include:

State, Province or Equivalent categories should include:

Regions or Equivalent categories at the state or country level should include:

County (US) or Metro Area (US) categories should include:

Locality categories should include:

Choosing the Right Category

It is perfectly acceptable and preferred to list a site only once in the Regional branch. However, sometimes a site has clear and explicit relevance to more than one category. This is usually true in only two instances:

  1. When a site has clear and explicit relevance to both a locality and broader coverage area.

    When a site fits the definition of what goes under a locality and a broader operational area (e.g. county, metro area, region), you may:

    1. Create categories at the local level, and create @links to these categories at the "operational area" category. Only list the site in the locality where the entity exists. Create category descriptions at each level to describe how sites should be listed and submitted. This should be done for common types of sites that can be found in a lot of localities. This method of organization is not preferred if the creation of @links creates a lot of single site categories.
    2. Alternatively, list the site in both places. There must be something on the site that clearly and explicitly makes it relevant to the locality and a broader area of coverage. For commercial sites, editors will have to use their best judgment to distinguish between advertising hype and true area of coverage when this is explicitly given. This method is most useful in cases where the use of @links is going to create a lot of one site categories and over categorization.

      This is generally the only instance where a site should be listed more than one time but at different levels in the hierarchy. The only other instance is the creation of Country- and Statewide Lists. Please note: this does not constitute authorization to double list sites in all cases, and editors should try not double list sites as a rule.

    Whatever method is used, please consider the user's perspective. It is reasonable to assume that users will be looking for information by location or area of coverage. If you use (a), creating and maintaining the @links and writing concise category descriptions and submission guidelines are critical in making this type of organization effective for editors and submitters. In any case, please create category descriptions at each level to describe how sites should be listed and submitted, and make sure to avoid excessive duplication.

  2. When a site can be listed in more than one category at the same level (e.g. more than one locality, state, country)

    In general, some sites for entities with multiple locations or areas of coverage can be listed up to two times at the same level, but if there are more than two instances, the site should be moved up to the next most logical, higher geographic level.

    For example, with localities, this general policy would be applied as follows:

    • more than one city in the same county or metro area or region ---> add in county or metro area or region as appropriate
    • more than two cities in the same state, but different regions ---> add to the state
    • more than two cities in the same region of the country, but different states ---> add to the region cat.
    • more than two cities across the same country, but in different states ---> add to the country

    Editors are allowed some leeway to list a site in more than two categories at the same level (locality, county, state, country) in unique and exceptions cases, but it should never exceed more than three. The only time a variation in this guideline would be acceptable is when separate editors add the same URL at the same level of the taxonomy, and when reasonable discretion was used to list the site. This guideline does not necessarily constitute permission to list a site multiple times, nor does it mean that you must list a site 2 or 3 different times. Again, editors are asked to use reasonable discretion and common sense when listing sites. Intentional over listing of a site and other forms of abuse of these site listing guidelines are grounds for removal of editing privileges.

    These guidelines do not apply to Real Estate sites; these have their own, unique guidelines.

Country- and Statewide Lists

Depending on the country, there may be very specialized cases where you may want to create a country- or statewide listing of resources that may include sites better placed (by definition) lower in the taxonomy (e.g. region, county, locality, etc.). These categories can only be created if:

Editors have 3 choices when deciding how to provide users with local information from the country and state level:

  1. Create categories at the local level and @link from the country/state level, even if the categories have 1 site in them.
  2. Create a countrywide list of sites and allow local editors to add them as well in the locality categories.
  3. Scrap the whole idea and make the determination that the sites are commonly found by locality, and a countrywide list would provide little or no utility to end users. Better to go with option (a) in this case.

Usually the decision will involve determining the difference between entities that can commonly be found in most localities, and those that are very specialized and can only be found in a few local areas. For example, a locality will not usually have more than one library, but many restaurants. A locality may only have only one cycling club, but many hairdressers. When these state- and countrywide categories are created, this is usually the only instance where a site may be listed at the country or state level as well as at a lower (e.g. locality) level. Editors should consult with other editors before creating such a category, and the editors should clearly define the scope of the category in the category description.


When not to create a country/statewide list:

Regional: North America: United States: New Hampshire: Travel and Tourism: Lodging: Bed and Breakfast

It would be inappropriate to add sites of individual Bed and Breakfast establishments to this category as these sites are very location specific and there is a developed network of @links and related categories that enable users to locate sites pertaining to a certain locality.

When it may be OK to create a country/statewide list:

Regional: Europe: United Kingdom: Society and Culture: Politics: Parties

Editors might consider building and maintaining a category that contained a listing of UK-wide political party sites regardless of the sites' location or regional focus providing that there was no equivalent category in the topical branch of the directory. This category may be suitable for such an approach. Although many of the sites relate to local branches of political parties, when added together, they form the fabric of the United Kingdom's political structure. Other reasons that such a category might be appropriate include: a further topical breakdown can be readily achieved, and the network of @links would be impractical to build and maintain, since there would be few localities/counties/regions that would have more than one or two sites.