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Time for DMOZ to change
Googles reputation hangs in the balance.

 12:00 pm on Nov 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

This post is why its time for the current situation with DMOZ and its relationship with Google to seriously change for the future good of the internet and Googles reputation.

1. it’s a known factor that back links help a sites position in Google and a listing in DMOZ is a back link.
2. DMOZ feeds thousands of clone directory sites with its data hence a link in DMOZ means thousands of back links get created to your site.
3. A clone DMOZ directory is duplicate content anyway and surplus to requirements yet they feature on the net in their droves and frankly most of them need removing. DMOZ assists in getting more junk on the internet by feeding these useless directory sites with its data and at the same time they give more back links out to the sites featured. We only need one directory and that’s Yahoo as far as im concerned.
4. DMOZ has a percentage of corrupt editors out for their own cause, where you have big money keywords you get corruption. Google adwords are very expensive in some sectors, so assistance in moving up the Google serps for a website for certain keywords by having more anchor back links is an advantage and of significant financial value.
5. As Google is now a public company it should not be connected in anyway to any site that is possibly corrupt or has a percentage of corrupt staff. It should now break away from using DMOZ data.
6. DMOZ by its own submission cant cope with the editing job anyway and has thousands of categories that are out of date with dead links, incorrect descriptions not been updated and often a bias to the editors own or friends sites.
7. DMOZ is not in anyway regulated, it has no management structure as such that is publicly known and is not accountable in anyway for what it does.

Now as I see it because of the weight given to back links by Google an editor is in some cases indirectly getting a nice payoff as they can decide who they do or don’t want in the category they edit. If a competitor comes to get listed they can simply ignore it, they can waffle around this factor as much as the editor likes but at the end of the day they decide.

Also, back links are highly valuable to a site especially in commercial areas. For a site to obtain as many “One Way” back links as DMOZ and its clones provide working without a DMOZ listing in its own right takes a long time and costs a site money as not all sites will give one way back links for free as DMOZ and its clones can.

As I see it, if you build a great site, you don’t want some idiot copying it do you?, yet in the case of DMOZ they not only let you copy the data but they actively encourage it, why – back links of course!

Having now worked on various sites over the last five years and seen some get listed, some ignored, some taken out I have come to the conclusion that DMOZ has certain corrupt editors within it and that DMOZ can no longer cope with the size of the internet and the submissions as a result.

Google and DMOZ should now take the following action:-

1. Google should delete Page Rank on DMOZ all together, just grey bar it out on every page so that sites are not getting unfair page ranked back links
2. All clone DMOZ or related clone directory sites should be removed by Google from its index on the basis that they are duplicate content.
3. DMOZ should adopt a policy of no follow code on sites listed and insist that no other site should copy its data.
4. DMOZ should deal with all listing requests in order of when they were submitted. I.e. a site submitted on the 1st Jan 2004 should be looked at before a site submitted on the 1st Jan 2005.
5. If an editor finds a site not listed they think should be, it should be added to the same list to be reviewed in date order after the first one has been dealt with.
6. If the editor is turning a site down it should give reasons, not keep webmasters dangling and advise what the webmaster should do to improve their site in order to get listed.
7. DMOZ should be regulated and have a proper management line structure and the public should know who they are. They should be properly named and be fully accountable for their actions.
8. All data in DMOZ including editor’s notes should be made wide open to the general public. Under the data protection act individuals have a right to know exactly what data and notes are made about them by companies. DMOZ clearly is in breach of the data protection act by being able to secretly write notes about sites which it keeps from the public view.

If DMOZ wants to gain any credibility it should adopt the above measures.

Meanwhile, if Google as a public company continues to use the DMOZ data and does not take action imo to clean up this relationship and the way it uses the DMOZ data, it will be a short matter of time until some serious corrupt allegations come to the surface which may ultimately damage Google’s reputation and its stock market value.

Its Time to act now...



 1:30 am on Nov 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

The ODP could be different if it were changed, granted.

The ODP could be aligned to serve webmaster's needs, and that would indeed be a radical change, granted.

There is about 540 degrees of difference between the dmoz intention and your intention, granted. You don't want your content copied, and ... I want my content copied by anyone who thinks it's useful. That's why I contribute to the ODP and other sites with a similar attitude. Your content is your own, and you have the right to allow (or forbid) copies. AOL has the same right, and neither of you have any control over the other's decision. And that's OK by me.

Now, I've claimed (in many places, and at length) that a large dose of randomness in priorities makes a much more robust directory building methodology, and a much less biassed directory. You may not be persuaded by that: you might prefer some rules that you could manipulate -- all the rules proposed in this thread are ludicrously easy for malicious webmasters to game. (And the simple fact is, obviously malicious webmasters account for over 90% of our site submittals. I can't speak for "all webmasters" (and I categorically deny your aspersion that I ever did!) But you must admit that there are malicious submitters out there -- that's where ALL the abusive editors come from!

And I think you'd agree that there's a great deal of perceived randomness in review times. The difference between us is how we interpret this acknowledged fact. I see randomness, you see abuse.

But -- can the ODP be other than random? It is plainly absurd to think that any queueing system could serve up site suggestions from a dozen sources through half-a-million different queues to ten thousand queue servers -- and NOT look random! It takes a fairly sophisticated analysis to figure out how best to allocate a stream of cars to, um FOUR queues (lanes) on a highway. And you want to do that for five hundred THOUSAND lanes, with "vehicles" ranging in speed from one foot per hour to a thousand miles per hour, given that each vehicle could only operate in certain combinations of lanes AND could run orders of magnitude faster if it were in the right lane? And you expect to be able to predict either the optimal algorithm or the behavior of any particular algorithm intuitively? The mind boggles at a fraction of the complexity. (Don't believe this? Talk to ANYONE who's taken a course in Operations Research! Well, LISTEN to them, actually.)

But the fact is, the ODP structure WILL appear random to you. That is not just perception! So far as I can tell, it IS about as close to random as any human activity gets. And, for what it's worth (for whatever I can add), I tend to randomize my priorities when I'm editing.

Thus, there's no rational reason to see randomness as evidence of abuse. If you're interpreting it that way, it has to be either ignorance or malice. Don't take my word for it. Go, take an OR course if you have to (after the requisite Statistics and Calculus and Linear Algebra coursework.) Or try to design an optimal algorithm for something dead-falling-off-a-log simple: ten-story building, two elevators, random people moving around. You won't ever say a WORD about what's intuitively "fair" again!


 1:41 am on Nov 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'd be fine if they called it the
"CLOSED directory project".

It's nearly impossible to be included in many categories for the reasons you mention, most notably opportunistic editors.

there aren't enough editors

Of course there are not - DMOZ rejects hundreds (thousands?) of great editors applications per day.

With all due modesty I'm Oregon's top authority in some unedited and not very competitive small sectors and have been rejected (or just not received a reply) many times - I've stopped wasting my time applying.

DMOZ defenders should simply overcome what I think is some odd, academically elitist and paranoid vision of editor applications and enlist the thousands who are asking to help. Although I don't want to have anything to do with them anymore, I'm sure there are thousands who would be willing to edit.


 1:45 am on Nov 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

They both need to change by doing all or some of the points in my opening post. Other posters have made other suggestions which could also improve matters.

A good start for DMOZ would be using no follow code on the links and not list sites more than twice and stop feeding clone sites with duplicate data.

A good move by Google would be to stop using the data for its directory and to stop providing page rank to DMOZ and all its clone directory sites. This would then eliminate the desire for spammers to wish to be included in DMOZ to gain loads of backlinks for SEO reasons.

They could then move onto the other points.

This tread is to explore ways that the current DMOZ set up could if possible be improved - but it looks like current editors like it the way it is.

DMOZ backlinks are the main reason why i believe that DMOZ gets the bad publicity that it does and this should be the first area looked at imo.


 1:53 am on Nov 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

In most "how to take over the ODP for SEO purposes" discussions, the "nofollow" option is one of the more popular "brain-dead fascist rule" proposals. There are two things argued in its favor:

(1) It would somehow serve the ODP purposes. This is always accompanied by such a total misunderstanding of the ODP purpose, that there can't be a closely reasoned response. Suffice it to say, it doesn't serve any purpose for which I contribute to the ODP. And there, logically, we'd have to leave it: at least, until someone mentioned some purpose that actually had anything to do with the ODP.

(2) It would somehow cause spammers to abandon the ODP like rats leaving a sinking ship. This may be true in the extreme case -- it might kill off the ODP altogether, in which case everyone would leave. (And I wonder if that's not the ulterior motive in making the proposal.)

But assume for a moment that the proposal WOULDN'T kill the ODP. Would the spammers leave?

Now, I've never created one affiliate doorway spam site (let alone hundreds), -- so I'm not that kind of expert on the spammer mind. But -- I've REVIEWED tens of thousands of the sites (as well as not a few cases of spammer-turned-ODP-editor activity), so I think I have at least a behavioral grasp of the species. And -- in their own (self-centered, greedy, antisocial) way they use the same techniques that ODP editors do. Randomness.

Now, each spammer thinks he acts rationally: he has notions of what works and what doesn't, and he acts accordingly. But (despite all that is said in forums like this) most of what is true isn't known, and most of what is known isn't true. People have different notions, each differing in some (immeasurable) way from reality. Thus, each acting according to their own notions, the total result is that some loon somewhere is stupid enough try ANYTHING. After awhile, EVERYTHING gets tried: the result is an assault from all directions on ANY information system on the web. A result that might as well be random, even though each single spammer acts very predictably. And (just like editors copying the successful editors' techniques for finding good sites) spammers copy the successful spammers' techniques for obtruding tax-extracting doorway pages three hundred sixty degrees (more or less) around every actual information source. So, regardless of what empirical rules Googletechs dream up, SOME spammer (for no doubt exactly the wrong reasons) is already producing doorway pages that EXACTLY mimic Google's latest notion of what a genuine site looks like. You all couldn't do this knowingly -- the Google algorithm is much too complex. But none the less, you achieve the same practical result (not, perhaps, in your own pocketbooks, but all together you depress the world economy by the maximum practicable amount.

If this is true, and I believe that it is, would spammers-turned-faux-editors abandon the ODP because of some petty change in the HTML of the public pages?

Some would, thinking that change spelled instant doom for the ODP. Others wouldn't, thinking that the change really wouldn't be significant. (I've argued elsewhere at length that the change really wouldn't cause either any good at all, or as much harm as people hope. So these spammers, at least, would be reasoning correctly based on my understanding of the facts.) And finally, some spammers would try to get into the ODP based on the logic that the exit of other spammers would leave more opportunities for them.

I could be wrong about the effect of the nofollow rule. But the point is, there are enough spammers around to adapt (in a process that is near-as-no-never-mind random) to whatever HARMLESS rule changes anyone (the ODP or Google) could make.

Chance. It's a nastier enemy, and a better ally, than you can ever imagine, because when all is thought and said, your imagination is still limited by logic.

Lord Majestic

 1:56 am on Nov 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

A good move by Google would be to stop using the data for its directory and to stop providing page rank to DMOZ and all its clone directory sites.

This move will put DMOZ into oblivion - I dare say that had it not been for Google promoting DMOZ so hard for so long, and especially extra PR that DMOZ links seem to get, then DMOZ would have been gone ages ago.

Note - I am rather indifferent as to what exactly will happen and my words are result of objective analysis rather than my feelings towards DMOZ.


 1:56 am on Nov 29, 2005 (gmt 0)


Great post your message 31, but like mine it doesnt change anything.

How about you meet the webmasters half way and propose to your colleagues at least the no follow idea?.

Any move that could help DMOZ restore some credability has to be good - wouldnt you agree?

Currently, the volume of backlinks as a result of one listing let alone several in DMOZ is cause of a lot of the corruption issues and needs to be ended.


P.S i just read your last post after reading this and i dont agree with you. Giving Spammers no commercial advantage in Listing in DMOZ would stop a high volume of spam submissions overnight imo.

DMOZ should be about being a usefull quality resource not about being a directory that gives thousands of backlinks to editor sites - this is one of the main problem issues


 2:06 am on Nov 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

It's time for Google to stop supporting an organization that corruption is a known quantity.

Just discount the backlinks from DMOZ and all the clones ..it's as simple as that.


 2:11 am on Nov 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

joeduck, the ODP is as far from "elitist" as you can get. I applied for a category with NO academic qualifications; I've hardly EVER edited in a category for which I had or claimed formal academic qualifications.

Your problem, much more likely, is that you ASSUMED the ODP was elitist, and you tried to puff yourself up to seem elite -- "the most qualified expert on #*$!" is MUCH too elitist an attitude to survive in the ODP community. (I've been consistently amazed at the wealth of knowledge in the ODP community, but there is an almost perfect absence of emphasis on formal credentials.

But emphasis on your own qualifications is frequently fatal to applications. "I claim to be God's gift to Widget Crafting" is not a particularly unique qualification. In fact, it's frequently found on some of the most slovenly stupid applications. We don't care what you claim -- we want to see what you can DO. People who emphasize their qualifications (as if we could believe the word of a complete stranger) forget that CLAIMING is not DEMONSTRATING. Don't say "I know all the good businesses in this industry/county/whatever!" Show your ability to find good sites by finding three of them we don't have already. Don't say "I know all there is to know about this industry!" Show how you can pick sites that clearly fit this category better than any other in the directory. Don't say "I speek and rite good!" Show good writing skills in your site descriptions. Don't say "I'll be fair to everyone that measures up to my high standards!" Exhibit honesty in treatment of your affiliated sites.

Don't talk about credentializationing. Do well something good. And you'll eventually find out that some of those people who invited you to participate in community consensus-building and directory-reorganizing had qualifications that made yours look like the offscouring of a diploma mill -- and other people whom you learned to respect for their erudition had picked up almost everything they knew from reviewing sites.

And "Professional" doesn't mean you're any good. It means you want money. "Amateur" doesn't mean you're not any good. It just means you care about doing it. Everybody who's worth anything to society is both a professional and an amateur -- usually at different things -- anyway.


 3:31 am on Nov 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

Lord Majestic, no, I don't agree at all that "anything that improves credibility is good." Credibility can be manipulated easily: you can get most people to believe you by simply telling them what they want to hear.

In fact, I think this illustrates the enormous gulf between our notions: Instead of credibility, I think that anything that improves ACCURACY is good. And I believe that, eventually, in any society at all sane or just, credibility tracks accuracy.

I don't ask you to agree: I think we've hit on the radical difference between techie and marketroid here. But I ask you to observe: assuming accuracy was the goal, what would editors do?

Well, surely they'd create ways of reporting inaccurate listings, and they'd tend (within the limits of randomness) to review and act on reports of inaccuracies much faster than on other suggestions.

So if you think there's corruption -- is that just the evil that lurks in YOUR mind, or can you spot even one case? We'd like to know! If it's just your malice, there is nothing that we can do to change that, and we'll happily let you stew in it. But if there is some objective problem, then ... there are all SORTS of things we can do with that! We can fix the specific case, look for similar errors made by others, double-check other actions by the same party, spot patterns, and, maybe, occasionally, even discuss changes in editorial policy.

(You think that doesn't happen? I KNOW it happens. Several years ago somebody got my e-mail address and started feeding me weekly lists of a particular kind of abuse -- he found several cases a week. Eventually I saw the deeper pattern -- I'm ashamed to recollect how long it took -- and a few months later, there was editorial consensus on a new class of "unlistable sites." It happens. I'm not the only editor that's been on the receiving end of that kind of work. I detail that case partly to honor the work of that anonymous persistently-non-editor.)

But credibility? Essential for politicians and other con men, no doubt. As for the ODP, don't trust it, check the links yourself, and complain where something has harmed accuracy (and eventually I think you'll notice the result deserves credibility. But in the end, your notion of ODP credibility is a figment of your own imagination (no reflection on you -- your credibility is a figment of my imagination also.)

Therefore, if your state of mind is out of whack with reality, that's not the ODP's problem. And if your state of mind is realistic (with regard to the ODP), then the real problem is ACCURACY (rather than your state of mind, no matter how sound it is.)

Lord Majestic

 4:03 am on Nov 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

if your state of mind is out of whack with reality, that's not the ODP's problem.

Well, you sure got that right and I fully agree here - my state of mind is certainly out of this world :)

I an not sure however where you got all this stuff on me and Credibility - can you show message where I talked about it?

IMO credibility is not an issue as far as DMOZ and me are concerned - the issue is that humans can't beat good algo SE like Google and that's pretty much the end of it as far as search engines are concerned - lets not forget that a directory is a primitive search engine and this brings me to the crux of the arguement - DMOZ, which is I think the best attempt at human edited directory, despite being the best humans can do, is still not good enough to be used as primary search engine. Issue of credibility is secondary here - if it can't scale well, then it won't work well regardless of how credible it is.


 4:30 am on Nov 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

"No Follow" for the ODP is a great idea.

If links from the ODP are worthless (in an SEO sense), there is far less benefit for the spamming masses or an abusive editor to try and manipulate the ODP.

The editors that would flee dmoz following such an introduction are the same wily prey that some metas hunt with poison darts. If enough editors departed to bring down the ODP as a result of the No Follow, well, that result is self-explanatory. (This could possibly be balanced by far less problems with screening new editors) And lest anyone delude themselves, the reality (for a webmaster) is that a dmoz link is NOT for traffic, but for the benefit of the site in the search engines.

The No Follow tag and the self-stated goals of the ODP go hand in hand. They claim to not care a lick about how the search engines see/view/value a link from the ODP, so here they have a *golden* chance to prove it. With No Follow, those that view the ODP as a valued, non-biased resource would see NOTHING change. The odds of a spamming seo type sneaking in to pack cats with doorway trash would least be reduced, possibly even dramatically so.

The "walk like a duck / smell like a duck" test for me is, do the ODP editors want to give up the power that comes from providing a search engine valued link?

Just think of the time & effort the metas could devote to actual editing if they didn't have to answer queries here or in other fora from ignorant, angry, or rejected webmasters. The No Follow would, at worst, REDUCE this annoyance, if indeed it is an annoyance for them.

To summarize, the No Follow would not harm the ODP when measured against any of their publicly stated goals. In fact, it is a hand-in-hand approach to solving what they claim is their biggest problem. No doubt, a few/some/many editors will find the loss of power, position, or prestige untenable, and will reject the idea.


 5:23 am on Nov 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

Lord-Majestic and Rich, my apology for quoting one of you and attributing it to the other. (You may distribute it however you wish.) It was in fact Rich that asked whether I cared about credibility.

As for ridgeway's "nofollow", it is indeed a looking-glass-meets-1984 world where imposing arbitary limitations on other people is described as "giving up power", whereas not attempting to placing any restrictions on them is called "exerting power." And in order to "prove you don't care about search engine results," you deliberately act to change search engine results! And "prestige" is, um, "dealing with ignorant, angry, and frustrated people: just like working at the Walmart customer service counter. All that described with a straight face even. "It's not black, it's the new high-absorbancy flavor of white!"

Do you really find people who fall for that?

As for "the biggest ODP problem", I'm not sure what you're talking about. Every surfer's biggest problem on the net is ad-hype doorway domains -- are you imagining that if we changed the HTML on dmoz.org, that all spammeisters would take down their pages immediately?

I don't think so.

Do I think that any substantial number of spammers are so stupid as to believe that the Google directory would lose a single solitary whit of value as page rank passing because the ODP changed its HTML?

I find that hard to believe.

But your mileage may differ.

If you care about the ODP mission, and if you really think your notions would help someone accomplish that mission, then no doubt your efforts to implement those notions in pursuit of that mission will eventually be noticed. And if you're right, your success will spur people to consider how you might best be imitated. And if you're wrong, the ODP will look for other examples to imitate. Either way, the ODP will be benefited (whether by ignoring your misapprehensions or imitating your successes.)

In the meantime, there's no rush. Accuracy, not gullibility, is the keyword here: Experimentation, not speculation. You think this is a good idea, you can prove it. I've got a couple of other things that I think are likely to be more productive, I'll try them out.


 8:01 am on Nov 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

As i understand it, nofollow was designed to alert search engines that the site owner does not vouch for the quality of the link.

So nofollow is ideal for links given in forums, such as WMW or in blogs.

But it is exactly the opposite for a human-edited website like DMOZ. Editors do vouch for the quality of links.

Why should they attempt to confuse third-party tools like search engines by saying otherwise?


 11:37 am on Nov 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hutcheson - So if you think there's corruption -- is that just the evil that lurks in YOUR mind, or can you spot even one case? We'd like to know! If it's just your malice, there is nothing that we can do to change that, and we'll happily let you stew in it. But if there is some objective problem, then ... there are all SORTS of things we can do with that! We can fix the specific case, look for similar errors made by others, double-check other actions by the same party, spot patterns, and, maybe, occasionally, even discuss changes in editorial policy

And if that corruption is from a meta editor? Dare I even suggest such a thing - What then?. What exactly is the pecking order at DMOZ, who is accountable to whom? The reality is that it’s a closed directory, totally unregulated with no one accountable for any of the actions they take. No one is named or known it’s a secret club. It’s not “Evil in our Minds” just think for one second that it might be even remotely possible that you COULD have a corruption problem?. Open your mind to the suggestion that you COULD have an issue and do something major about it to totally eliminate ANY possible risk of that factor – use the no follow!

Also, many errors in sectors don’t get fixed. I’ve come across many webmasters that have submitted information to the category editors involved to point out faults in the existing listings, broken links, out of date descriptions, deliberate anchor links etc and ZERO action is taken. Why, because the editor may either like it the way it is, or they have moved on now and they have their own sites firmly listed – so where can a webmaster tell you this and be confident its even being looked into especially with the links on your directory being so ineffective?.

Hutcheson - As for "the biggest ODP problem", I'm not sure what you're talking about. Every surfer's biggest problem on the net is ad-hype doorway domains -- are you imagining that if we changed the HTML on dmoz.org, that all spammeisters would take down their pages immediately?

No, I dare say even the most subtle spammer on the web would no doubt still be trying to introduce more trash to the net in the same way that someone may work on building a computer virus to trash the net – The point is that its not up to you to POLICE the internet – The search engines have their own ways of dealing with these problems and in all do a fairly good job. Your primary objective is that of building a quality directory resource. Don’t reward sites with zillions of back links and spammers won’t be trying to list with you!

Victor - But it is exactly the opposite for a human-edited website like DMOZ. Editors do vouch for the quality of links.

This Victor is half the problem. An editor will also vouch for their own site and friends sites they list in the directory aswell!. Its not that the editor can vouch for the quality of the link that’s the issue, it’s the fact that by doing so it starts a cycle of producing zillions of backlinks which in turn can lead to a biased pushing in the natural Google search engine results of certain sites.

In one example I have seen recently a DMOZ editor has listed three connected sites with perfect anchor text. IE “UK Blue Widgets”, “Pink Widgets” rather than the sites domain name abc.com and the link is to an internal site page, not the index page– The net result being that the site is ONE in Google SERPS for both of these terms. The site is not the oracle on UK Blue Widgets; it’s not a dedicated site to UK Blue widgets it just has a section on it and has more anchor word backlinks to that section than any other site as a result of DMOZ and clones – that’s why it ranks!

The point is that DMOZ concept has loads of holes in it like this, by using the no follow tag it would cure this issue almost overnight. Lets say that the editor in this example made a genuine mistake, forgot that they should be listing the index page of the site, they also didn’t realise they were listing the link as an anchor search term rather than the sites name and they had no idea of the effect of this action – With the no follow tag it wouldn’t effect search engine results. DMOZ would also benefit because users and webmasters would put it down to a genuine mistake by an incompetent editor rather than possibly assume that the actions were to be some how possibly corruptive.

DMOZ COULD take up a number of initiatives to improve the directory overall which would be a great thing for the future of the internet. Many webmasters could help DMOZ in this quest by bringing ideas forward, not all webmasters are out to con or scam you which is what you constantly maintain. The sad fact is that I don’t think it’s likely – Nothing here is going to change, without any movement on behalf of DMOZ editors. From the comments made by DMOZ editors in this tread I now genuinely believe that DMOZ can not see or is not prepared to even consider that the directory in its current structure needs change.

The only option left is a call for Google to disassociate itself from the directory all together and zero page rank DMOZ and its clone directory sites – I’m now in the camp with some other posters here that believe that trying to get DMOZ to even consider change is like flogging a dead horse.

Good luck all – thanks for some great comments debating this issue.


 11:48 am on Nov 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

In one example I have seen recently a DMOZ editor has listed three connected sites with perfect anchor text.

What was DMOZ's response to your abuse report?


 12:04 pm on Nov 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

recently I send a spam report for a page that had!102 listings in DMOZ!
Anyway the page vanished from Google index obviously not for the DMOZ listings but for the spam tricks they used.But 102 listings means that those guys or guy is a DMOZ edittor.


 12:44 pm on Nov 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi Victor,

What was DMOZ's response to your abuse report?

The webmaster didnt file an abuse report it was sent to the section meta editor. The site still has the same anchor text links in dmoz.

The issue is not about pointing out one or two links for specific cases but perhaps if open resource had a thread for all webmasters to submit details of site listings that should be removed for various reasons that might help you improve the quality of your directory especially if it was in the open forum where webmasters can see if action is taken or not?

As nothing is going to change at DMOZ i cant see any point in discussing this issue further. We have had loads of threads at WW on similar issues regarding DMOZ over the last few years and the situation remains the same.

I stand by my OP but as i posted recently and i post again, i now think that asking for a change is like flogging a dead horse!


 1:06 pm on Nov 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

Rich, my friend... just when you had me convinced that the 'no follow' tag was the ODP's only hope!

Spammers would indeed stop bothering editors with wothless submissions.

Shorter queues might allow the ODP to catch up on submissions and be reasonably up-to-date.

Hutcheson believes that suggesting a 'no follow' tag is tantamount to wishing to ODP to choke off and die.
I wonder if that's not the ulterior motive in making the proposal.

But she also says that editors are 'category builders' not 'site suggestion processors' so that site submissions are not necessary to the health of the ODP.

Furthermore, editors regularly start threads in the dmoz internal forum to discuss ditching the site submission tool altogether.

Many editors and metas, including hutcheson (indirectly and/or occasionally), see no need for site submissions.

While RichTC has converted me to the benefits of a 'no follow' tag, we'll shake hands that there is no point flogging the dead horse.

As an aside, I have >10K dmoz edits under my belt and won my fair share of Mozzies.


 2:09 pm on Nov 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

>Spammers would indeed stop bothering editors with wothless submissions

No, they wouldn't. Spammers spam everything. I have a messageboard with nofollow and no toolbar PR and I still got so many spam posts on it that I had to turn off unregistered comments.

I don't like the idea of people putting nofollow on sites with valid links to relevant sites. That messes with Google's "link vote" algorithm just as much as blackhat spam stuff does, by reducing the ratio of real links to spammy ones.

What Google REALLY needs to do is make sure that a link from the ODP doesn't get counted 3251 times just because a lot of people mirror the directory. I'm pretty sure they already do this, though. The ODP clones show up as "supplemental results" in Google's index, which means Google must be treating them as duplicate content. And GoogleGuy has stated repeatedly that an ODP link isn't treated any differently from any other link--why would he lie about that?


 2:12 pm on Nov 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm a little confused here.

I don't see what problem with DMOZ would be solved by using the nofollow attribute in a way that it was not designed for.

If your issue is that Google would be producing more relevant SERPS if DMOZ has nofollow tags, them the solution is simple....

....Submit a quality report to Google (there is a link "Dissatisfied? Help us improve" on each Google SERP). Tell them they should treat all links from DMOZ as if they had a nofollow attribute.

If you are right, they'd be mad not to do it.

But, if you are wrong, DMOZ would be mad to waste all the hours needed to implement your suggestion.


 2:13 pm on Nov 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

Spammers don't know that GoogleGuy said that dmoz links have no special value?

A 'no follow' tag, and a clear statement announcing it on every directory page should send a message, loud and clear.


 4:22 pm on Nov 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

>Many editors and metas, including hutcheson (indirectly and/or occasionally), see no need for site submissions.

Well, there is no NEED for site suggestions. But ... can they be used to build a better directory? And the answer is ... yes, occasionally, and yes, even indirectly sometimes.

See, the ODP isn't driven by NEED (demand-side). It's driven by the SUPPLY side: a supply of reviewers, a supply of good websites, and yes, a supply of ways of putting the two together. The ODP doesn't NEED me, or any other single editor, or any other single resource), and yet, the broader it can cast its nets, the more fish it catches.

And you have to get out from under these false dichotomies. Suggestions are not ALL spam: when you're dealing with reality, you have to deal in detail. Is THAT website an affiliate doorway, or not? Is THIS editor abusive, or not? Is THAT site submittal spam or not? It's fatuous to speculate about the percentage of anything that's good or evil. You can't know the real percentages until you've looked at enough of them to know how to take a representative sample -- and taken and analyzed that representative sample. And after you know the real percentages, you STILL don't have any information that will help you deal with any single instance of reality! It's like any other form of prejudice -- "all niggers are lazy, and all frenchmen are cowards" -- it prevents you from dealing with reality.


 4:48 pm on Nov 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

>A 'no follow' tag, and a clear statement announcing it on every directory page should send a message, loud and clear.

There are at least four distinct kinds of spammers' reactions, at least. The source of the majority of our submittal spam don't listen, no matter how loud and clear you speak.

Then there are some, and this is not an insignificant number, that will just assume we're lying because our lips are moving (after all, that's how they operate, and, they suppose, doesn't everyone?)

Then it is conceivable (although I think unlikely) that there are some spammers that listen to loud and clear messages. (No, sorry, that's not fair, I KNOW there are a few that listen. But anyone who's read any ODP forum thread will see how few of them there are.)

Then there are spammers who listen and say, "but ... every major ODP licensee and a lot of the clones still pass page rank: spam on, and %*$* the messages!"

It is evident that only one of these classes will be at all put off by the proposed announcement. And one class might even be attracted!

This, or something close to it, is the analysis that formed the current consensus in the editing community. Any analysis that completely ignores the reactions that (to our certain knowledge) the vast majority of spammers take, cannot possibly have any weight whatsoever against it.


 7:49 pm on Nov 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

Chantal, are you bucking for ex-ODP?

Presenting well reasoned arguments concerning possible improvements to this monolith are a sure way to get the Spanish Inquisition to begin stacking cordwood and splashing around copious amounts of coal oil.

It is said that nobody expects the Spanish Inquistion, but ODP is the exception to the rule.

If you turn up "ODPSS," we'll know where to look for the real culprits.


 8:15 pm on Nov 29, 2005 (gmt 0)


As a webmaster who has had all sites submitted over 6 years accepted I have no axe to grind
BUT and this is my view

I have wondered about applying to be an editor but 3 things have stopped me

1 The areas I have some knowledge on are all area's that I run my own websites and I don't think I am any different to any other webmaster I think my sites are the most usefull etc. etc. and unlikely to be unbiased
2 I am afraid I would not want the abuse that you guys get
3 I believe that DMOZ should change Wikepedia has changed re: no follow and from yours and others feedback DMOZ editors are unwilling to accept that it would be a good thing this suggests to me that some editors believe the bl gains are justified which also then confirms many webmasters view

Is the only reason that editors are not willing to look at this are that they would be the biggest loosers due to fact they have the largest gains with BL's numbers catagory placement and descriptions



 9:06 pm on Nov 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

>a clear statement announcing it on every directory page

Oh, like spammers pay the least bit of attention to announcements on the pages they send to anyway. I work on an educational children's website that and I still get link requests from porn and gambling sites despite the boldface notice on the site that it's a waste of their time. (-:

If the spammers got to be that serious a problem at the ODP, I'd rather just see submissions turned off, as you suggested earlier, than a lot of pointless work put in to add incorrectly used nofollow tags to everything. First of all, misapplying HTML tags to manipulate Google's results and avoid passing PR to people you want to link to is a sleazy black hat thing to do, and I don't approve of it on principle. Second, it wouldn't deter spammers, because spammers don't read instructions or believe what instructions say anyway. And third, it would be pointless, because Google certainly isn't going to implement Google-corrupting meta-tags in THEIR copy of the directory, so their bots would still follow their own Google directory links even if we forbade them to use ours.

Honestly, guys, would you put nofollow tags on links you considered valuable enough to add to YOUR webpages? If I was Google, I'd so totally be banning anyone who did that. It's nothing but a sleazy attempt to hoard PR and trick other people into thinking you're not. I'm surprised you people are even suggesting this, unless you're secretly hoping to get DMOZ banned from Google by egging us on to violate their TOS.


 9:16 pm on Nov 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

steve, you don't have to justify your reasons to me. I think they're neither all good or all bad, but they are your reasons. And the ODP is only one of many good ways of contributing to the sum of human experience online. Find what good thing you can do well, and do it well enough that you'd be proud to have your name on it, and -- who am I to criticize? You can be a productive member of society without ever doing an ODP edit. (And it would be a crippled society if everyone thought they had to do the same thing.)

Lord Majestic

 9:20 pm on Nov 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

Honestly, guys, would you put nofollow tags on links you considered valuable enough to add to YOUR webpages? If I was Google, I'd so totally be banning anyone who did that.

LOL, you think Google will ban people for using "nofollow" attribute that Google itself (plus others) proposed?

IMO adding "nofollow" to DMOZ links would reduce attractiveness to spammers as PR won't be gained (even though I am sure DMOZ is a special case for Google).


 9:29 pm on Nov 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

Well, I said "If I was Google." I'd be doing a lot of things differently if I was Google. (-:

But yeah, if you had a niche directory, and every external link from it was nofollowed? I'd think you were hoarding PR, deceiving your link partners, pretending to be a directory to get Adsense benefits, and generally just being a black-hatted sack of @$#!. I wouldn't make my own website look like that, and I wouldn't want to make the ODP's look like that.

Particularly not over some nebulous claim like "It'll make spammers send lousy submissions to the ODP less often." I'm not at all convinced that's true, for the reasons I stated earlier; and besides, as an ODP editor, spammers aren't really much skin off my nose. I can add lots of great sites without ever having to see a spam submission, if I don't want.

I wouldn't protest if nofollow tags were added, but I wouldn't like it either, because I think it's a sleazy way to bend rules just for the sake of manipulating Google results. And if Google doesn't ban sites for abusing the tag that way, who's to say that next update they won't? *shrug*


 9:42 pm on Nov 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

To clarify specifically why I think it's sleazy:

Nofollow is intended to eliminate COMMENT SPAM. You put it on a messageboard or blog to stop other people from continuously abusing the board by posting links to their own URLs instead of real comments. I have nofollow on my messageboard (though it didn't really deter the spammers much, and I had to make the board private in the end anyway.) This is an appropriate use of the tag.

Using nofollow tags on pages on which YOU YOURSELF HAVE PLACED THE LINKS is cheating. You are deliberately giving everyone the appearance of linking out, when in fact you are not. You are placing links that you think improve your site in some way, and then refusing to let search engines travel to that site from yours. You are intentionally manipulating Google and other search engines.

It's the wrong thing to do. If the ODP really gets that desperate to discourage bad submissions, they should turn off or drastically limit submissions to the directory at all, not misuse the nofollow tag. Honestly all that would probably do would be increase the PR of dmoz.org one notch and attract MORE stupid spammers, not less. And make them look lousy. And eventually, I would *hope*, make Google angry.

Lord Majestic

 9:59 pm on Nov 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

Using nofollow tags on pages on which YOU YOURSELF HAVE PLACED THE LINKS is cheating.
You are intentionally manipulating Google and other search engines.

Surely its the people who place links in hope that SEs will give extra weight to targets are the ones who manipulate? Using nofollow does not preclude search engines from following link - it is a wrong name given to effectively hint not to rank that link.

And its not cheating to mark any link with nofollow - for example I personally hold the view that all directories or any site that has a wide collection of different urls on one page should use nofollow, even though its pretty obvious from page analysis that these links are not natural and their PR should be discounted.

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