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Editors Getting Offered or Expecting Compensation?
Brett_Tabke




msg:487486
 11:07 pm on Jun 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

I could not believe it when an editor offered to list a site for us for cash the other day.

Asking around, I was pretty stunned by some of the other editors and old pro's here when they told me this was now the standard MO for alot of tight categories.

Is this what the ODP has come too?

Have you ever:

- offered cash to edit or include a listing?
- offered cash and thtey accepted to edit a listing?
- as an editor been offered cash to edit a listing?
- taken cash to edit a listing?

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 4:50 pm (utc) on June 23, 2004]

 

willybfriendly




msg:487487
 11:13 pm on Jun 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

ODP curruption has been spoken to many, many times, both here and in other places. This confirmation of that fact is hardly surprising.

WBF

edit_g




msg:487488
 11:21 pm on Jun 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

I gave up, well and truly, when I saw all the entries for 'seo contest' sites...

Never heard anything about cash changing hands however, I guess the ODP should just start charging...

flicker




msg:487489
 12:28 am on Jun 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

It's very much against ODP policy, and you should definitely report it via the abuse channel (editors other than the meta in question will see the report, so it can't be suppressed).

I'm sorry to say that I can confirm that submitters do make bribery offers periodically. Which is really sad, because I really don't think getting an ODP listing more quickly is worth that much anyway, and the submitter is more likely to run into an editor who brings the smite down on his or her site than one who accepts the bribe. And even if the bribery does work, once the corrupt editor is reported by an annoyed attempted extortionee, the sites he or she has added are going to be gone over with a fine-toothed comb, the one you 'paid' for may be removed, and the corrupt ex-editor is probably not going to refund your money. I'd definitely advise against it as a submission strategy. And please *do* fink on the corrupt editor, anonymously if you're concerned about your privacy.

All of this in my completely unofficial personal opinion, of course.

iblaine




msg:487490
 12:36 am on Jun 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

How about been offered to be listed for cash? This has happened to me recently.

kevinpate




msg:487491
 12:42 am on Jun 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

As to all, simply put: nope

dauction




msg:487492
 12:44 am on Jun 23, 2004 (gmt 0)


You cant have a few thosand "voluntees" handling (directing that traffic/ $) billions of dollars in traffic.. it's the most rediculas set-up I have ever seen..

someday ..all the dominos wil fall

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 2:18 pm (utc) on June 23, 2004]
[edit reason] please see tos - #24. [/edit]

bakedjake




msg:487493
 12:54 am on Jun 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Was it a good deal?

PatrickDeese




msg:487494
 1:04 am on Jun 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Maybe OT, but I know an editor personally that was booted from DMOZ after a webmaster who wanted better listings (spammier titles which violated guidelines) accused him of taking pay for directory listings.

The editor was innocent.

motsa




msg:487495
 5:16 am on Jun 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Brett, if you actually have proof of being offered a listing for cash, you might want to skip the abuse report system and email it straight to staff. Or you can use the abuse system. Or you can do what most people do and that's nothing...but keep in mind that we can't deal with something if we don't know about it.

I personally know of no category where it is the MO for this type of thing to happen (it's really difficult for one editor to keep other editors from listing other sites). An editor accepting payment for a listing would be out the door quickly. And a submitter paying for a listing could find themselves blacklisted. Something to keep in mind.

ogletree




msg:487496
 5:30 am on Jun 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

As big and important as this board is a post like that from Brett will make some waves. I would not be suprised to see something happen after that post. I have to tell you I was quite shocked to see that post. I'm not shocked that it is going on. Too many people are willing to pay for there not to be corruption.

willybfriendly




msg:487497
 6:07 am on Jun 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Over two years ago I received an email from a DMOZ editor who was using his position as editor to promote his SEO business.

All information, including copies of relevant correspondence was forwarded to DMOZ.

It was not a direct proposal for pay for listing, but it was so strongly implied as to be clear what was going on. Pay for the "SEO service" and get listed as a side benefit.

No visible action was taken by DMOZ staff.

WBF

EliteWeb




msg:487498
 6:14 am on Jun 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

What category? :D Ive been offered cash to input items, I haven't I'd do it for free if the site was right for the category.

doesnt the editor know thats like commiting suicide? i mean your brett and you run a community site dealing with many issues now focused on the editor. suicide i say :P

stever




msg:487499
 7:25 am on Jun 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Six months ago, if Brett had posted that, I would have laughed it off as one of the occasional left-field hobbyhorses.

Even now 90% of me still has the inclination to do that.

But with the recent saga of a senior editor-owned site and the financial implications of those dmoz-wide listings, there's a good 10% of me that is certainly more willing these days to smell the smoke and wonder about the fire...

Edit: changed to de-identify specific site as per ToS.

blaze




msg:487500
 8:00 am on Jun 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Great, a way to get rid of annoying editors. Thanks guys!

cornwall




msg:487501
 8:47 am on Jun 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>I could not believe it when a meta editor offered to list a site for us for cash the other day.

Yes, this and indeed the converse form of high level abuse, delisting competitors, has been there since the start of ODP.

It is inevitable that any system with the method of "promotion" that ODP uses, that is a mix of hours put in and the use of political sponsorship, will produce a higher proportion of problem senior editors.

"Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" To be fair, the vast majority of senior editors are doing a great (unpaid :0 ) job. But the removal of bad metas has never been a strong suit at ODP. Basically the system makes it difficult.

The fact that this complaint is being made by BT will mean that it is taken seriously. But removing that one meta will not solve the problem. I suspect the only solution is to have "proper" management overseeing the ODP, but without the commitment to expenditure by the ultimate owners (which I cannot see) to fund a professional management structure to run the thing, then I really do not see any alternative to the present system and its occasional problems

What an interesting book Lord of the Flies is!

percentages




msg:487502
 9:15 am on Jun 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

>Have you ever:

>- as an editor been offered cash to edit a listing?

Yes, It was a weekly occurance 18 months ago, before I quit the rediculous system Dmoz operates.

Today, as I predicted 18 months ago, Dmoz has minimal affects on SE placements.......still too much for my liking, but minimal in historical terms.

Any support Google gives to the ODP is a complete nonsense IMHO. Google should attempt to protect its reputation by ditching all relationships with the ODP ASAP.

It only takes one bad apple to spoil the whole cart, but in the ODP's case the cart has numerous bad apples.

flicker




msg:487503
 1:31 pm on Jun 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm really left wondering why these illicit transactions make sense for anyone involved. I'm quite proud of the ODP and use it as a search tool frequently, but I agree with the poster who said a listing's value is highly overrated in SEO circles. I've said this before, but the competitive commercial categories have a gazillion sites in them, usually broken down into alphabet bars. Is there *really* a strong SEO benefit to being listed in a category like <snip>, which no one ever browses, along with 300 other sites? I don't think so. As it's free there's no harm in submitting, but I think it would be foolish to pay for such a listing regardless of whether it was ethical or unethical. If you're going to pay for a link, go pay for one from a high-PR site with fewer than 100 links on a page and no risk of another editor finding your link and deleting it!

Meanwhile, from the editor side, the amount of money that's being offered as bribery is just pathetic compared to the number of hours it takes to get into a position to list anything in a category like that. You could literally make more money working at McDonald's than you could as a corrupt editor. It continues to surprise me that some people give in to those instincts. Man, if you're going to go to the dark side, at least do something lucrative like embezzle from a bank or rip off the California energy company.

And finally, it *really* surprises me that these rackets last more than two days--why aren't more of the involved parties ratting each other out? If I received an email extortion attempt from anyone about anything, I'm sure I'd be irritated enough to report them. If I were sleazier, I'd probably pay, keep records of the transaction, and then blackmail the corrupt editor with it. These are risks I'm surprised anyone finds worth it, particularly over a silly link.

I disbelieve that the FBI cares a whit, though. It's only an internal infraction. As far as the FBI cares, every single editor could charge for their services. It's only our own internal workings that disallow this.

Anyway, all that said, I'd encourage anybody who receives a real extortion attempt and has documentation of this to please turn the person in. Don't waste your money; don't risk your listings; don't encourage unethical editing. It's definitely not the only way to get into spammy areas, and it's almost certainly not the best way, either.

*my two cents, not an official statement or anything*

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 2:26 pm (utc) on June 23, 2004]
[edit reason] please leave the specifics out. [/edit]

donaldb




msg:487504
 2:16 pm on Jun 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

I really don't understand why people don't use the "Open Directory Public Abuse Report System" (search on that if you want to find the URL) to report these situations. I know that most naysayers will never believe that we do take these situations seriously, but we do. I can honestly say that any editor, all the way up to meta, is going to be investigated if there is any allegations of abusing their privileges as an editor. If there really is abuse going on the editor is going to be booted. It does happen and it does get looked at.

blaze




msg:487505
 2:17 pm on Jun 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

For the right category, you could probably ask a certain amount.

Besides, maybe they go corrupt because they get tired of the way the whole thing operates and see it as a way to 'flame out'.

It's funny how the ODP talks repeatedly about not caring what webmasters think ..

.. except when they want help policing their directory.

Brett_Tabke




msg:487506
 2:26 pm on Jun 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

> critic

wrong.

The Open Directory Project is the best thing to happen to the internet since Mosaic. -me 1998

> the category ***

again, please take any specifics up with the ODP through channels.

trillianjedi




msg:487507
 2:59 pm on Jun 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

- as an editor been offered cash to edit a listing?

Yes.

- taken cash to edit a listing?

No, but ironically I listed them anyway as they had a good site.

I have heard a lot about this happening though, albeit in very limited circumstances. It's possible the situation has got worse now that everyone knows the main SE algo is currently based (in a narrow sense) on anchor-text and a listing in DMOZ frequently results in 40-50 backlinks with that anchor.

I'm interested in hearing the answer to BakedJakes question:-

Was it a good deal?

TJ

flicker




msg:487508
 4:37 pm on Jun 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

>It's funny how the ODP talks repeatedly about not caring what webmasters
>think... except when they want help policing their directory.

Well, why should THAT surprise anyone? Some things are much more important than others. We don't really care if you don't like our color scheme. We don't really care if you think you should have more keywords in your site's description. But we care a lot if one of our editors is trying to extort money out of you. :-D

IITian




msg:487509
 12:39 am on Jun 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

>I could not believe it when an editor offered to list a site for us for cash the other day.

Difficult to judge unless we know the exact circumstances. Was there a bait by Brett, "Hey pal, if only I could get this site in DMOZ tomorrow, I am willing to pay **** dollars." or was the meta just joking after getting drunk in some post-conference pub?

I want to know the whole story.

IITian




msg:487510
 1:09 am on Jun 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

>Okay, let me get this straight - a "bad egg" ex-editor just happened to guess, at random, that a new site had recently been submitted to DMOZ in a competitive niche - and decided to contact the webmaster / owner out of the blue in the hopes that he could extort money and then not do anything?

Was this the actual sequence of events? I don't recall Brett stating this in this thread.

rfgdxm1




msg:487511
 1:15 am on Jun 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

>Was this the actual sequence of events? I don't recall Brett stating this in this thread.

Exactly.

blaze




msg:487512
 2:58 am on Jun 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

A lot of this thread is the result of the antagonism that seems to be built into the ODP system.

At some point, people become editors just so they can mess with the ODP. By treating webmasters so poorly, they are motiviated to get onto the directory, get their website in, and then go crazy because they really don't plan on continuing and see nothing better to do and didn't like the directory in the first place.

A lot of webmasters don't bother help policing the ODP, because they have been antagonized so much by boorish editors and a boorish submittal process.

All this anger is simply boiling up and causing a lot of grief for everyone concerned.

AOL needs to recognize this and revamp their process so everyone gets treated in a more respectable way so that the process doesn't foster all of this frustration.

flicker




msg:487513
 4:00 am on Jun 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

Blaze, where on earth are you *getting* these ideas? The statements you are making literally make no sense. You're really just guessing wildly, aren't you?

>At some point, people become editors just so they can mess with the ODP. By treating
>webmasters so poorly, they are motiviated to get onto the directory, get their website
>in, and then go crazy because they really don't plan on continuing and see nothing
>better to do and didn't like the directory in the first place.

Do you know of *anybody* who has ever done this? I certainly don't. No one who wants to get their website listed with us that badly would jeopardize it by pointlessly 'going crazy.' Those people log on, add their site, and then never come back. Different problem entirely. And besides, we log everything, so it would be extremely easy to restore any damage such a person did anyway.

>A lot of webmasters don't bother help policing the ODP, because they have
>been antagonized so much by boorish editors and a boorish submittal process.

No one is asking webmasters to 'help police' the ODP, we were suggesting that if a corrupt editor tries to strongarm them into giving him some money, they should turn him in. This is more akin to recommending that people call the police when muggers try to rob them than asking them to police anybody else. We're not asking for a favor, we're telling everyone that we'll investigate, vigorously and well, any misdeed which is reported.

>All this anger is simply boiling up and causing a lot of grief for everyone concerned.

Your anger seems to be causing you to hijack threads on different topics periodically to continue to complain about our submission process, but I don't know that I'd call that 'grief,' exactly.

Seriously, what has any of this got to do with the topic, which was 'how widespread are ODP bribery attempts/offers' and the corollary 'what should be done about this'? You don't mean to tell me you really believe that the person who tried to extort Brett was in fact some poor webmaster who had been so unhinged by lack of a prioritized review system that he decided to spent many hundreds of hours toiling over the directory to gain enough ODP access to make bribery offers to SEO's, just to get back at the directory? Because, you know, Ockham's Razor would really suggest the cash as a far more sensible motivation for that one. (-:

moishe




msg:487514
 6:36 am on Jun 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

All I know is; no matter how many times i spend hours researching a topic that has an open editor position so that I can submit several sites that I think would be relevent to the topic, I ultimately get turned down. I have lost faith in the ODP. All I want to do is participate more on the web, but apparently I don't have the right credentials to join the "elite" at DMOZ. Seems like a bunch of snobs to me............

I have seen people comlain in WW of it taking a year to get into the ODP, you think they would want more help from people who want to provide it.

To answer the original question, I have never been asked to pay for a listing, nor have any I have submitted in the last 6 months been put in.

As to my own site, the ODP has a PR of 3 for that specific page, shoot, I got 2 PR5 and 1 PR4 backlinks today alone, what do I care about a silly PR3 from a bunch of snobs?

cbpayne




msg:487515
 8:10 am on Jun 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

>I have seen people comlain in WW of it taking a year to get into the ODP

...how many complain? What about the 1000 or so that get added every day - never seen them come and say thank you. In the category I edit, no site has waited more than 12hrs (I check 2x a day)

Also, I have NEVER EVER, seen one single complaint about DMOZ from its users about a site that is not listed(webmasters are not users).

>Seems like a bunch of snobs to me............

Just because your application was not good enough...hmmmm

> what do I care about a silly PR3 from a bunch of snobs?

So if its that unimportant, why are so upset about not getting in? ... people would not come to these threads to bag DMOZ if it wasn't important.

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