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In Defense Of DMOZ

Last week, WebProNews featured an article concerning the submission/approval process of the Open Directory Project, DMOZ. Featured in the article were comments from various forums about negative experiences people had while waiting for their site to be accepted or denied. After the article was posted, there were immediate reactions, pro and con, concerning DMOZ, editors, and the approval process.

Do you have anymore DMOZ stories? Discuss at WebProWorld.

In fact, the WebProWorld thread had to be temporarily locked because the discussions were getting out hand due to personal attacks. The thread was moderated by cpb, also a DMOZ editor. After reading through the thread, it becomes apparent that the understanding of ODP operations and standards are subject to one’s beliefs. If a person feels a DMOZ editor has treated them unfairly, they will garner ill will towards the directory. And if an editor has worked their butt off during the editing process, they will be very defensive of DMOZ. Both sides have valid points.

One of the many quotable statements from the thread came from cbp when he stated the duties of a category editor: “An editor’s job is not to review sites. An editor’s job is to build a category of resources – reviewing submitted sites is just one of many sources editors use…” His statement hopefully goes a long way in clearing up some misconceptions about submissions. There is NO guarantee your site will get approved, whether it’s a quality site or not.

Getting sites “approved” was not the goal of the previous article; the aim was to shed light on how some people have had negative and perhaps unethical dealings with editors. I should have included this in the first article but, if you have an indication that your submission was treated unfairly, or in an abusive manner, you are encouraged to contact the DMOZ hierarchy through this link and by selecting “Abuse Report” for the subject.

If have submitted your site, don’t keep resubmitting it. This is considered spam. Again, cbp offers some advice about submissions and discusses how repeating the process can hurt you: “Every time you submit, you usually overwrite the previous one with the new date – you keep moving your site to the back of the pool if the editor sorts the unreviewed by date.” He also provides these guidelines for those waiting for DMOZ acceptance:

How to get listed in DMOZ:

1) Have a site that would really add value to the category and has lots of unique content.

2) Write a perfect guideline compliant description and title (I list them quicker and initially ignore the spammy ones as they require more work)

3) Submit once to the one best category

4) Check at resource zone after a month to see if waiting (tech problems do happen)

5) NEVER resubmit, unless told to by an editor

6) Forget about it. There is nothing more you can do. Move on. Promote your site elsewhere.

Because of DMOZ’s stance of building a directory with quality content, not a place to submit your site for immediate approval, these ideas and guidelines are quite valid. If you are concerned about your site being accepted into ODP, go to the Open Directory Public Forum and post your inquiry there. This seems to be the only way of communicating your feelings because DMOZ editors are encouraged NOT to answer emails concerning the acceptance process.


While there are measures set up to ensure that editorial abuse doesn’t go unpunished (if it can be proved), another question rears its head: should editors that have a competitive interest in a certain category be allowed to supervise that category’s approval process? Cbp made a point in saying that he included his competitors into his category (without them submitting), but is this the norm? Will every editor who has competitive interests do the same? That’s a hard question to answer.

But, there is no denying DMOZ as an effective directory. Google collects most, if not all of their directory listings from DMOZ. That alone indicates some level of quality. There are, according to cbp, around 2000 sites that are accepted into DMOZ daily, which illustrates that most of the editors ARE working. Not to mention that the directory boasts an inventory of close to 5 million sites. If you plan on submitting to ODP, keep in mind that there is no guarantee of acceptance. Use the contact methods that they provide to find out the status of your submission. If you don’t get accepted, move on, or improve your site and try again.

Since he did an incredible amount of work moderating, I’ll leave the last word to cbp. “An editors job is not to review sites. An editors job is to build a category of resources – reviewing submitted sites is just one of many sources editors use. Submitted sites are the worse source of new sites for an editor. It is really an inefficient use of an editors time.” Or, submit it and forget it.

Discuss this at WebProWorld.

Chris Richardson + The WebProNews Team

This article is taken from the WebProNews newsletter, click here to visit them.

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