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Gimpsy - An Overview


Gimpsy? That's an uncommon name! How did you get it?

Gimpsy was the name of our hamster pet. An energetic, friendly, cute and industrious little fellow, which is very appropriate for what we have in mind for this site. Incidentally, the 'G' in Gimpsy is pronounced hard, as in 'Gear' and not soft as in 'Gin'.

So what is Gimpsy?

Gimpsy is an Internet directory that categorizes sites in a new and unique way. Unlike other Internet directories, which categorize sites according to their subject, Gimpsy is concerned first and foremost with the service that a site provides.

What do you mean 'according to their subject'?

Imagine the World Wide Web as a huge virtual library, with millions of 'books' (web sites). As in every library, a user needs some assistance in finding a particular book.

Enter the book catalogue. In it, each book is assigned to a 'category' according to its subject (Philosophy, Poetry, Chemistry etc.) Usually, each subject is further divided to more specific areas (In Philosophy, for instance, you will find 'Ancient', 'Greek', 'Religion' and such like). In a 'brick and mortar' library, the book is located on a particular shelf. To find it, you search for it in the catalogue, which then directs you to the right shelf.

Similarly, an Internet directory is a virtual 'site catalogue' which defines virtual 'shelves'. In it, sites are placed in a given category according to their subject. For example,, a share dealing site, will be found in the Open Directory under the following category: Regional: Europe: United Kingdom: Business and Economy: Financial Services: Stockbrokers: Online Trading

How does that contrast with 'the service that the site provides'?

Here a different analogy will serve us better. Imagine the World Wide Web as a huge virtual city and you as a visitor touring it. As in a real city, there are shops and malls, estate agents, advertisers, broadcasters, banks, insurers, galleries, cinemas, schools, etc. If you are unlucky or naive you may also encounter thieves or con men.

Further imagine that you want to buy some shares. How do you find where such activity takes place? You can go to the Tourist Information Center and ask: "I want to trade in shares. Where can I do it?" You will be directed to the nearest share broker or given a list of brokers in the vicinity.

Gimpsy works in a similar way. The site will be found under the category: trade > shares. In Gimpsy the sites are examined and categorized only with respect to the service that they provide. The Gimpsy Mission Statement sums it up:

Gimpsy will be the definitive guide to the World Wide Web virtual city.

Is it not a Search Engine?

Not at all. Search Engines are more like the Index often found at the end of scientific books. Using it, you can find on which page a particular word or phrase appears. Likewise, Search Engines are indexing all the web pages that they come across. That is, they build a huge reference list that shows on which web page particular words appear. When searching for a page or site using a Search Engine, no semantical relationship is assumed between the words in the search phrase. See the following real-life examples of results returned by some Search Engines (names omitted):

Search phrase: 'buy a house'
Actual result: Audio House Used Compact Discs - offers pre-owned compact discs. Buys CDs for cash or credit.
Search phrase: 'buy computer books'
Actual result: Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators : Books by Kathy Schrock
Writing and researching reports using the computer has changed dramatically in the last few years. Save on shipping! Buy two books and pay only $4.50 shipping and postage.

Obviously, the results do bear some relationship to the search phrase, but not to the purpose intended by the searcher. In contrast, entering the same search phrases in Gimpsy produces a list of sites that provide only the required service. Thus, for the first search phrase you will get (among others) the site and for the second It is quite evident from the name of the domain alone that the sites actually provide the required service. If you need convincing, just try out any of the phrases in the example box on that page with any other search engine or directory and compare the results with the list produced by Gimpsy.

Obviously, some results generated by other search tools do match the user's intention. In some cases you will find that most of the results are appropriate. At Gimpsy, however, all the results are fully relevant every time. Quite a bold statement, coming from a small furry creature...

So will Gimpsy understand every search phrase?

Sadly, no. It will only recognize simple statements. The example box shows what types of search phrases are currently understood by Gimpsy. As the site continues to grow and develop, so will the number of Natural Language expressions for which it will return relevant results.

Having said that, Gimpsy does show remarkable flexibility. For instance, it will produce the same search results for all the following phrases:

'buy books on computers'
'buy computer books'
'buy books about computers'

That sounds great! So how do I search in Gimpsy?

Gimpsy was designed to be as easy to use as possible. Just type in what you 'want to do' and click on 'find' (or press the 'Enter' key). Alternatively, you can click on any of the categories in the highlighted window on the Home Page.

If you care to look under the hood, you will find that Gimpsy wields tremendous power (you wouldn't have thought it possible for a cute hamster, would you?). The following examples illustrate some of the more apparent manifestations of it.

Say you entered the search phrase 'open personal bank account'. If you live in the US, it will be of no use to check the '' site, as it only accepts UK residents! Similarly, UK users have no interest in checking out American bank sites that exclude non-US citizens. In Gimpsy, once you set your location in the 'Preferences' page, you will only see sites that 'cover' your place. In other words, Gimpsy will only list sites that are serving your country or region.

Another example. You want to 'download a video player'. There are more than 10 sites that offer that service. As it happens, you are running the 'Linux' operating system and you want to get the software free of charge. Not a problem. Use the Filters provided and select...

Operating system -> Linux
Payment -> freeware

Click on the 'Apply' button and you will get a much shorter list of sites that provide the service 'download a freeware video player for Linux'. Neat, isn't it?

Do you intend to include every web site?

Absolutely not. Gimpsy only covers sites that provide an interactive online service. If a site is only a repository of information, such as a newspaper, it will not be included. Even a store that has its catalogue online, but does not allow users to shop online - will not be included. That's why we have coined the slogan "Active Sites for Active People". Gimpsy provides excellent service for the active people, that want to accomplish something online.

How are the search results ordered?

The first few entries in the search result may be (but are not always) 'featured sites'. You can tell that they are, because they are distinctly highlighted. There are several ways for promoting a site to become a 'featured site', including paying for it. If you are a site owner or just want to learn about this aspect of Gimpsy, follow the link Gimpsy help - Site Owner. The order of all the other sites is randomly generated and changes once a month.

Randomly??? That IS odd...

In Gimpsy, all the sites listed in a search result are directly and fully relevant to the user. On the other hand, sites placed higher in the list get more visitors. It is unfair to penalize a site that happens to begin with 'z' and reward the 'AAA' sites, as do other directories. Gimpsy gives sites a fair chance to be in a prominent position!

If sites pay to be featured, why don't you show the amount?

Unlike other directories, which get paid for every time the user clicks on a site link, Gimpsy has a different commercial agreement with the featured sites. The site pays a lump sum, which is unrelated to the number of users clicking on the link. The exact amount is commercially sensitive information and is not disclosed. However, since Gimpsy does not directly benefit (from your decision to click on a site, nor is the site owner charged) for you doing so, you are left free to make your choice without such considerations.

What are the advantages of registration?

When you register, the following benefits become available to you:
  • You have the option of creating your own mini Gimpsy directory online, in which you can place sites that you like. Not only are the sites saved online (accessible from anywhere), but they are also categorized in the same way as they were in the public directory.
  • You may choose to receive news and other information from Gimpsy
  • You can actively participate in shaping Gimpsy, suggest changes, make comments and help in other ways.
  • If you are a site owner and your site is listed in Gimpsy you will be able to 'claim' the site and promote it within the directory.

I have a question/comment/complaint/suggestion/... What can I do?

Gimpsy is eager to hear from you. Once you register, you will have access to the feedback page. Just try it and you'll see why we pride ourselves by the customer service we provide. Anything you say will be seriously considered and treated with utmost courtesy and confidentiality. You are assured to get a timely reply.

I would like to learn more about Gimpsy. Where can I go next?

That depends what particular information you are interested in.
  • To deepen your understanding of Gimpsy and find out how to get the results you seek, see the help file "Learn how to use the Gimpsy directory effectively."
  • As a site owner, you may be interested to know how to "Promote your site in Gimpsy." That information would also be valuable to SEO professionals.
  • If you are curious to know more about us, you can "Obtain background information on the company and the Gimpsy team". From there you will also have access to the Gimpsy Press Room and the Comments and Reviews page
Help - site overview v5.doc

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