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DMOZ - question on the "affiliate" policy
need advice from editors on what qualifies as affiliate site
sdani




msg:476605
 3:43 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

Greetings,

I understand that many senior editors of DMOZ often visit this board. Can someone clarify if a price comparison web site for a perticular product will be treated as affiliate web site.
Its basically a price comparison search engine, which has its own local catalog, where users can search the exact product they are looking for (restricted to only one product type). Once they select the product, they can click the comparison button, and prices from various online retailers are listed, WITH LINKS TO BUY from those web sites.. these links DO contain afiliate ID.
Since there are others who are doing the same stuff (about 30 in the subcategory of that product) and since it has affiliate links, should I assume that the site will be denied based on "not unique" and "affiliate" criteria?

Am asking this because I have been waiting for almost 4 weeks now to get listed.

 

rafalk




msg:476606
 3:51 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

Four weeks is not that long at all to get that kind of site listed.

Whether it's listed or not entirely depends on exactly how different the site is compared to it's competitors. Unless your site offers something that others don't, it won't be listed.

dmorison




msg:476607
 4:03 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

Unless your site offers something that others don't, it won't be listed.

What? That is not official DMOZ policy, shurely?

windharp




msg:476608
 4:11 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

You maybe should read http://dmoz.org/guidelines/include.html [dmoz.org] where it states:

Is the site's content/information identical to other sites? - A site should not mirror content available on other sites. "

dmorison




msg:476609
 4:18 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

That policy cannot possibly be applied to commercially inclined listings / submissions.

windharp




msg:476610
 5:22 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

Of course it is. If you read the guidlines (link above) you will specifically find that we do not list
- Affiliate sites
- MLM sites
...

for exactly that reason: No unique content. We are building the directory from the users point of view. No user wants to see hundreds of links to exactly the same content. So we don't list the same content several times.

Why is this so hard to believe? Remember that a directory is built for the user, not the webmaster.

[edit]

To get back to the first question: A price comparison website can be unique, of course it can. If it has its own database (=unique) of a reasonable size (=content) and the editor feels that the results are as good / better than others (=quality). See [dmoz.org...] for the main category with sites for that topic.

sdani




msg:476611
 5:39 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

thanks windharp .. I think my site would qualify based on your criteria. This gives me hope to wait for few more weeks.

martinibuster




msg:476612
 5:50 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

If you read the guidlines (link above) you will specifically find that we do not list
- Affiliate sites... for exactly that reason: No unique content.

That's an excessively broad statement.

With a statement like that, where does a website that has reams of useful and unique content, as well as the odd Amazon affiliate link fit in?

Not all affiliate sites are cookie cutter productions. I've come across many sites that are obviously labors of love, that are exceedingly well crafted and full of information that the creator is obviously enthused about.

I often visit websites that have great "unique" content that answer my questions, and then some. Plus feature the Amazon link off to side somewhere.

Surely you don't mean to say that a piddling Amazon link is enough to exclude an otherwise useful website from dmoz?

dmorison




msg:476613
 6:07 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

for exactly that reason: No unique content. We are building the directory from the users point of view. No user wants to see hundreds of links to exactly the same content. So we don't list the same content several times.

So is the interpretation that DMOZ would not list said content at all?

My problem here is with prohibiting competition by choosing to list only one website that is no different or better than others who have also requested listing - other than that they "got in first".

And by prohibiting competition you are not working for your users by any stretch of the imagination.

I guess it's the "commercial Internet" conundrum facing Google as the web moves from an information thing to a commerce thing.

Marcia




msg:476614
 6:07 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

I've seen a couple of sites that are predominantly affiliate links. And when I say predominantly, I mean big-time. And those sites are in a non-commercial informational category with a hefty PR that's fed to other sites they own from those. Their Google rankings ROCK. Those two have the same owner and/or affiliation with each other, and are both in the same category.

They probably started out as informational sites and worked their way into affiliate creep over time, but at this point in time the original or informational content is miniscule percentage_wise. Those sites never would have gotten in, in their current condition, not even in a commercial category.

martinibuster




msg:476615
 6:16 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

Those sites never would have gotten in, in their current condition, not even in a commercial category.

Well, that would be the fault of the category editor, or the editors up the food chain, for not revisiting and trimming the "weeds" from their directories.

A regular culling would be a "good thing" (I have to take a vacation from the Martha Stewart show).

A couple bad apples are no reason to chop down the tree- and no reason to exclude quality websites with unique content that feature a couple affiliate links. Heck, even Yahoo isn't averse to accepting those sites for free.

sdani




msg:476616
 6:20 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

dmorison,
I guess this "not unique" condition is imposed by those who got in there first and now trying to stop the competitors to show up.
Probably their lobby is strong enough.
And, I personally do agree that if the directory is being created for the users, ALL the webmasters should be included as long as they are not just copying someone else's stuff. The yellow pages in my town lists ALL autobody shops although none of them is providing "unique" service.
sdani

steveb




msg:476617
 8:57 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

"The yellow pages in my town lists ALL autobody shops although none of them is providing "unique" service."

And how is that relevant? The ODP doesn't list businesses. It lists original and unique resources on the Internet. If one tow shop has a webpage with nothing but a phone number link, and another has information about the company, its liability policies, and an original article on the history of towing in Podunk, then the second site should be listed. The first is worthless as a web resource.

The issue is that people with unoriginal, usually crappy, websites don't merit what better sites spend the time to earn. Build a better site, and then a directory that focuses on website content might list you.

dmorison




msg:476618
 9:04 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

The ODP doesn't list businesses.

The ODP lists thousands of businesses. Take..

[dmoz.org...]

..as a starter for 2,952.

steveb




msg:476619
 9:08 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

Perhaps you should read more carefully.

For example, do you think it is some amazing coincidence that each of the busineses listed has... a... website?

hutcheson




msg:476620
 9:10 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

"The yellow pages in my town lists ALL autobody shops although none of them is providing "unique" service."

And how is that even _true_? Each autobody shop offers a unique set of locations, employees, skills, and tools. That's what MAKES a service unique. Joe-Bob's Hope Garage in Arkansas is NOT interchangeable with Luigi's Paint Shop in Podunk, New Jersey!

So, of course, DMOZ is happy to list websites for autobody shops (in their locality) because EVERY one of them IS offering UNIQUE service.

dmorison




msg:476621
 9:19 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

do you think it is some amazing coincidence that each of the busineses listed has... a... website?

No - because they are web based businessed.

Web based business are using DMOZ as an advertising channel. It's #3 or #4 on the SEO list. Why the denial?

[edited by: dmorison at 10:13 pm (utc) on Aug. 27, 2003]

sdani




msg:476622
 9:19 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

<<So, of course, DMOZ is happy to list websites for autobody shops (in their locality) because EVERY one of them IS offering UNIQUE service>>

I don't think the same attitude is shared by all other DMOZ editors who have posted in this thread. I think they have interpretaed some meaning of unique. Editors have also mentioned quality ***compared to competitors***. Reading through many pages of guidelines and FAQ, I don't think *quality compared to competitors* is / was a criteria at DMOZ which is somehow adopted by editors.

rogerd




msg:476623
 9:39 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think the "first to be included" issue is overrated here. Certainly you aren't submitting a site that has content identical to your competitor's, right? The main offenders I see in the "identical content" category are webmasters who clone their own site and submit it under different domain names.

The problem affiliate sites that I see have little or no original or even useful content, but lots of links. I don't think any editor would deny a listing, say, to a site featuring original book reviews because it had an Amazon link.

At the risk of starting another whistleblowing argument, I know as an editor I'd never object to someone pointing out that a previously included site had morphed into content-free affiliate spam. If you are concerned that your site is being rejected while your competitor has snuck in an even worse site, let the editor know. Many editors don't have time for frequent in-depth reviews of listed sites, and such input would no doubt be appreciated.

Here's an idea that might be interesting. Google seems fairly adept at identifying duplicate content. Perhaps they could generate a monthly list for DMOZ of listed domains that appear to be identical or nearly so. If that list was broken down and distributed to editors, it might clear out a bunch of spam, even when the dupe sites are listed in different categories.

hutcheson




msg:476624
 10:27 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

Without addressing the whistleblowing argument, the ODP does distribute free whistles at the official abuse-reporting site.

The definition of "unique" content depends on what kind of content you have. If you have a unique service provider (auto repair shop), then by definition that business's website contains unique content.

If all a site has is information about other service providers that already have their own websites, then the bar for "unique content" is obviously VERY high, and RISING with every site we review.

The confusion is between offering an advertising service to businesses (i.e. affiliate sites) and offering a product or service to consumers. We list the latter, and not the former. Any confusion involved is merely the result of people who are doing the latter, but deceitfully trying to pass themselves off as doing the former.

kctipton




msg:476625
 11:18 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

Although we can figure out which domain you're talking about, we're dangerously close to trying to evaluate your site for you right here and now.. I don't think WebmasterWorld wants that sort of discussion.

You need to make it clear what the Unique Content on your site is. If an editor can't find it, I doubt it'll get listed.

Marcia




msg:476626
 12:32 am on Aug 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>Google seems fairly adept at identifying duplicate content.

Google isn't adept at identifying duplicate content. There are sites that occupy two spots each on the first page of search results that are 100% identical except for the domain name.

In one case the site is in two ODP categories, one right above the other with one site, just a different domain name. In another case there are two domain names with listings in different categories, but one redirects to a secondary homepage/landing page of the other. Two listings each, two domain names - same site visitors get to.

Google has a long way to go with automatically picking up duplicates.

Dynamoo




msg:476627
 1:23 pm on Aug 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

If people *read* the editors guidelines instead of just hypothesising, you would see:

General rule of thumb: Look at the content on the site, mentally blocking out all affiliate links. If the remaining information is original and valuable informational content that contributes something unique to the category's subject, the site may be a good candidate for the ODP. If the remaining content is poor, minimal, or copied from some other site, then the site is not a good candidate for the ODP.

Personally I think this is very clear in the vast majority of cases. Sites like price comparison sites and also shopping review sites are always problem areas, but for most sites the guidelines are cut and dried.

martinibuster




msg:476628
 2:07 pm on Aug 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Dynamoo hits it on the head! Great answer!

Night_Hawk




msg:476629
 5:16 pm on Sep 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

I know this reply is a bit late but I want to get this of my chest.

My site has been online for a couple of years, a few months ago it vanished from dmoz, when I asked why I was told that other sites sells the same products and my products are not unique.

This is sad to hear, after all there are 100s of distributors for the same line of product, do have to invent a new product to be able to be listed in dmoz?.

"We are doing it for the users not the webmasters", I have to question that, give the users what he wants and let him/her choose where he want to buy from instead of having one site only listed in dmoz, (by the way, that one site listed in dmoz belongs to an editor for that category).

My site is total independent, I am using my own images, database and content, my crime I am getting my products from a local supplier.

Dmoz editors, look at the site that get submitted based on their content and if it provide value to the customers and DO NOT tell that I need to sell this or that to have your approval of being listed in your directory, after all there was a lot of work spent designing, developing and maintaining the site and to be told this is an affiliate of another site is an insult.

This how I feel and I hope google will get their own directory instead of using dmoz in the very near future.

victor




msg:476630
 5:29 pm on Sep 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

give the users what he wants and let him/her choose where he want to buy from instead of having one site only listed in dmoz

This request should be directed towards the product supplier or manufacturer.

Their site should list all their online (and other) outlets. DMOZ only needs to list the manufacturer/supplier's site. Everyone gets what they want and the directory isn't cluttered with "me-too" sites.

Night_Hawk




msg:476631
 5:58 pm on Sep 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

"DMOZ only needs to list the manufacturer/supplier's site"

Totally agree, but the problem is dmoz is listing a competitor site.

heini




msg:476632
 6:07 pm on Sep 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Nighthawk, you seem to be mixing a general point with a personal point.
The general point is that obviously the ODP (for understandable reasons) does not want to list sites which are mere affiliates. Point is debated in the thread above.

To your specific case all I can say is, if you feel there's abuse going on, please take it out with the ODP. They have their channels, and you can also try to contact higher editors directly.

victor




msg:476633
 6:48 pm on Sep 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Totally agree, but the problem is dmoz is listing a competitor site.

That's probably because the site has unique information that makes it listable in its own right.

If it truly is only a sales outlet for the manufacturer/supplier, then it does not deserve a listing. Report via the usual channels (the ones that cannot be mentioned at WMW) and someone at DMOZ may take action.

ogletree




msg:476634
 7:28 pm on Sep 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Everybody knows that DMOZ is full of SPAM. Every SEO company I have talked to has a DMOZ editor on staff. As long as DMOZ has value it will be spammed. Just like Google. Once they both just become huge spam listings with worthless results people will go elsewhere. DMOZ is worthless without it's value at Google. The algo they have was good but now it is just too easy to spam. Once everybody figures that out and the coperations get in free results will just go away. I think the era of Googles and Yahoo's is going away. I actually think that Yahoo will win becasue they offer more than search. Down the road the only search engines will be all PPC. The current model of free listings falls apart when there are too many people that want to be at the top. It's just a matter of time.

This 44 message thread spans 2 pages: 44 ( [1] 2 > >
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