DMOZ = Trouble

Google: Stop using DMOZ information, please
Open Directory or DMOZ (Directory Mozilla) used to be the proud and trustworthy partner of Google. The most popular search engine has been sourcing some of its search results from Open Directory for years and continues to do so without imminent signs of changing that relationship as of the moment.

It was fine with me to be repeatedly rejected on my editorial applications no matter how good my intentions were — to update the outdated links in directories where no one was monitoring. The perception I had was that this group, though working on voluntary basis, has a very stringent procedure of selecting editors. And I don’t deserve it.

The problem with DMOZ is that its reputation has been tarnished over the years.

Submission Woes
Many SEO professionals try to explain the benefits of getting listed in Open Directory. It is reputable and one link listed in Open Directory beats a hundred of listings from obscure “Made for Adsense” directory websites. Clients easily buy the idea. But when the work begins, it’s where trouble begins to surface.

  • You need to find the exact directory where the site should appear.
  • You must adhere to the contents of your site when filling up forms for title and description as it “increases” the chances of getting included
  • Sometimes no specific confirmation email goes into our inbox that the submission is successful. It’s a natural instinct to make sure things are done and we are tempted to resubmit our forms.
  • Resubmission means spamming to some editors who will automatically reject applications without much consideration.


Application for Editor

When we come across a category with no editor taking charge and we feel we have the capability to manage it, it’s good to try to apply. After all, as DMOZ describes its application process:

Everyone is welcome to join the ODP. All you need is an interest or passion and a computer. While there are no specific pre-requisites, we seek people who have a genuine interest in building a directory that is free of commercial interests and favoritism. Fairness and objectivity prevail here. Those who still believe the Web should be free and accessible to all, without bias and unnecessary noise, will most enjoy the ODP experience. Potential editors should demonstrate a keen eye for spotting quality and useful sites, attention to detail, and possess good grammar, spelling and communication skills.

This statement was built during the early days of DMOZ. Maybe editors come and go and the quality of DMOZ work diminishes and some editors could be tempted to take advantage of their positions. Recently a popular blogger, Jeremy Shoemaker got an extortion letter from a rogue DMOZ editor, demanding US$5,000 from him or his website will disappear from its listing. It’s similar to kidnapping your kid in exchange for a sum of money.


No ODP

I don’t know why Google still treats them a cut from the rest in terms of providing search results. It is evident that Google uses them because of the introduction of the “NOODP” tag which to me is a temporary relief from the whole problem. By introducing the tag, it could only mean that Open Directory could still be used by search engines (at least Google) for a while.

That’s both good and bad news. The good news is that we are aware that this is a special directory whose inclusion of our sites means we’re virtually assured of one strong inbound link for a good PageRank measure. The bad thing is that getting there is a monumental task most of the time.