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|The Inappropriateness of DMOZ|
A competitor is an editor...and my dmoz title keeps changing!
I have now seen my dmoz description change for the second time in the past year. It wouldn't be so bad except that the search engines follow for descriptions, etc.
For an industry that is supposedly based on complex formulas that can discern "best and most appropriate relevancy" for search terms...having dmoz editors providing descriptions is one of the most outrageous distortions possible.
It is more inappropriate when editorships fall under the hands of competitive forces.
It ends up being inappropriate for DMOZ and it ends up being more inappropriate for the Search Engines that copy DMOZ descriptions.
How can this be changed?
Usually when a webmaster says that there listing is "inappropriate", what they mean is that it's not the keyword-stuffed marketing hype that they submitted, but instead a rather dull description that actually meets the ODP guidelines.
Part of the issue is that ODP guidelines say that descriptions have to be factual and hype-free. This is the correct approach for a DIRECTORY.. but some SEs pick up the description and use it in an inappropriate way (i.e. out of context).
There is no need to be indexed in the ODP; you have an absolute choice; when you suggested your site, I'm sure you looked at the category, so you had an idea of the editorial style. Just write and ask for your site to be removed. Be the first!
ODP is not, and never has been, an SEO service for webmasters - it's a service for searchers.
Sometimes their descriptions are horribly good, aren't they ;)
Wrong. You can ask all you want to have a site removed but it probably won't happen. No obligations whatsoever, be it inclusion or exclusion. No choice whatsoever.
Is the description INAPPROPRIATE -- as in incorrect or biased ("Offers a few inferior-quality widgets") -- or is it just BLAND -- as in neutral, short, and lacking in keywords? Because actually *inappropriate* descriptions are against the ODP's TOS and you should issue an official complaint about it, which will be swiftly dealt with. Descriptions that would be considered *bland* from an advertising perspective, on the other hand, are what the ODP is actually trying to provide. It's a directory, not an ad service.
I'm confused by the way Google has been using ODP descriptions as well. It made sense back in the day when they linked from an entry to the Google Directory category it was listed in; taken together, that was a reasonable way of helping surfers determine what the topic of the site really was. But now that they don't list a site's Google category anymore, I don't understand why they started back up with using the ODP description. Without the context of what category the site comes from, I'm not sure the ODP description is really much help to surfers.
>There is no need to be indexed in the ODP; you have an absolute choice; when you suggested your site, I'm sure you looked at the category, so you had an idea of the editorial style. Just write and ask for your site to be removed. Be the first!
You always have an absolute choice. But you don't have it that way. You simply can't ask for ANY site (we don't differentiate between yours or anyone else's site!) to be added OR removed. All you can do is ask for a site to be reviewed. You can't even ask for a site NOT to be reviewed -- any editor can review any site any time.
You can always exclude as much of the public as is necessary to ensure ODP editors are excluded. And that gives you the absolute choice. But that's the only way.
And you wouldn't be the first to try to request your own site be removed (or, at least, I assume most of the others making such a request were making it about their own sites ;) but I really don't know.)
It is fairly unlikely (alright, vanishingly unlikely) that a competitor had anything to do with this. After all, logic says a competitor of YOURS will also be a competitor of OTHER sites?
Did all the OTHER competitive listings change twice? If not, then it's logical proof that "being a competitor" has absolutely nothing to do with it.
It is far more likely that you suggested a change in the listing, and two different editors reviewed the site and the then current listing, and modified the listing as they thought most appropriate.
There is a way to be removed from DMOZ without having to rely on non-existant or flakey editors.
Set your server to filter the ODP bot - agents includes test-odp-entries-agent and test-odp-links-agent.
The ODP quality bot that comes around occasionally checking that the site is still active will eventually make its way to your door and find you non-existant.
It will then make your entry not live.
If you back it up with a similar block for a referer of editors.dmoz.org, when the editor for that category eventually gets around to checking the orange flags, they will also find you gone and generally remove you permanently - and in the meantime you won't appear in the listings.
Only really worth it if your description is really bad!
I'm sorry to hear that ODP editors do not feel they need to respond to removal requests. I think that's in error, both in principle and in practice.
First, as a matter of principle, a directory editor should respect the wishes of site owners, and co-operate when they can - while they cannot co-operate in poor, keyword-packed, English-language-insulting descriptions - ;) - they can and should co-operate on a removal request.
In my directories, I would always do that; the single exception so far is a site I included specifically as an example of webmaster idiocy; I told them that if they removed the idiocy, I'd co-operate. They didn't (rather proving my point).
Second, in practice, failure to remove a site is no big deal, and refusal to do so could reasonably be interpreted as pettiness, spite or worse. Not good.
Also, an ignored request will lead to someone posting here the appropiate code to add to robots.txt to block ODP's (fairly useless) spider - and why not?
Worse, that kind of pettiness will increase the number of sites where content is changed deliberately to undermine ODP.
In general, I'm a strong ODP supporter, but if they still aim to be 'the best', then there's no room for this kind of pettiness, which merely antogonizes and ultimately may create more work for their editors
There are times when ODP seem determined to cut off their nose to spite their face. And this is one.
<I>I'm sorry to hear that ODP editors do not feel they need to respond to removal requests</I>
If nothing else, it's really way too much of a pain to verify that the removal request came from the actual owner of the site, and not from some malicious competitor. We'd have to send a request for confirmation to the official email address listed on the site, assuming it had one (many sites don't) and we got a response from it (also not a given.)
It would take much less time for the owner of the site to simply block the ODP's bot if they don't want to be in the index, and there's no way a nasty competitor could fake that.
Welcome to the land of corrupt dmoz editing! - nothing you can do will change this - The day google drop it all togther cant come soon enough imo.
The only reason that the directory still has any editors is because of the back link advantage they get from doing it, from dmoz and its clones - as discussed many, many times at length in other threads here.
Also, remember that AGE of a back link IS vital to your sites positioning in the Google serps
Its a well known trick of a corrupt dmoz editor to change a competing sites anchor title link, description etc or simply remove it, or list it without the www prefix (by error of course)or in general mess with it every so often.
Lets say you have a 2 yr old dmoz back link and its also listed in 2000 clone sites. Thats a nice selection of back links that are starting to age. The editor then takes you out for a week then puts you back with a new link. The link age clock starts again, if just half the clones update quickly thats a good selection of links that need to start gaining age to pass on the full value.
Where google uses the description this may also impact on users that may click on your listing in the serps because again thats different.
No amount of complaining will change anything, its just a shame thats the way the closed directory operates.
All i can suggest you do is continue building links elsewhere and forget about dmoz - at least your site is listed (for now) and you have something out of it rather than many other webmasters here that editors just decide to ignore.
Some of the sites we work on are listed in dmoz, some of our clients have wrong titles to, some of them dont get in, all in all you need to just put it down to experience and forget dmoz, treat it for what it is, a joke!
>First, as a matter of principle, a directory editor should respect the wishes of site owners...
I absolutely disagree with your principles and your moral platitudes.
Directory editors must, absolutely must, respect the mission of the folk who entrusted us with editing privileges. This kind of trust is a fundamental principle throughout society; betrayal of it is fundamentally antisocial and, I would even say, evil.
And that kind of betrayal is serious enough to deserve, warrant, cause loss of editing privileges.
Furthermore, of all the evil perversities in the world, it's totally USELESS. Webmasters have, on their own sites, all the tools necessary to get their sites removed from the ODP. Why add should WE add yet another mechanism, reliant on OUR human effort and communication: when we've got better ways to use that effort, AND when the automatic mechanisms of the web work just to accomplish the same thing?
The problem you perceive is yours alone: the solution is in your control. Save the platitudes, and just go do what you want done.
>Its a well known trick of a corrupt dmoz editor to ...
The fact, that ought to be equally well known, is that Rich cannot cite a single example of this trick ever having actually been performed. Think of it, if you like, as the internet equivalent of the Indian Rope Trick. Well-known, sure. Just never accomplished.
There's a separate issue here: in point of fact, what does experience say about which is a bigger distortion: the ODP description or the webmaster's self-description.
My own opinion is that the ODP site description is not ideal for Google's purpose in the Google context.
For a real example, suppose we have a "website of a ceramic widget-crafter in Nether Sniggling, Lower Slobbovia, describing his shop and selling widgets by mail". Such a website may well have two listings in the ODP, one in .../Localities/N.S./Business&Economy, and one in Arts/Crafts/Ceramic/Widgets/Crafters.
The first description won't mention the online shop (not relevant to the locality), and won't specify the location of the wattle-and-daub shop (duplicates the category name). The SECOND description won't mention the W&D shop at all, but may mention (in a general way) the location of the craftsman.
Assuming the site shows up in Google results, which ODP listing should be used?
Clearly, neither is complete -- for GOOGLE purposes. But either could be completed fairly well by mentioning the ODP categories involved. Ideally, both ODP categories would be mentioned. But some time ago, Google stopped listing even one category: apparently people weren't clicking on the category links. Fair enough, but category names provide information as well as links.
Well, do webmasters do any better describing their own sites?
Let me rephrase that. Pick 10 of your own competitors in some random fashion. How well do they describe the information content of their own sites?
I do not fear the comparison. I've seen too many webmaster self-descriptions.
Well, how about keywording?
First of all, this is supposed to be a site description, not an exhibition of keywords. But secondly, the simple fact is that any search engine that trusts webmaster META keywords would go the way of ... the last search engine that did that. (Does anybody remember Excite (expired)? AltaVista (hasta la vista)?
They still live, as object lessons for anyone who'd trust webmaster keywords. Ain't NOBODY going to go down THAT road again.
|>First, as a matter of principle, a directory editor should respect the wishes of site owners... |
I absolutely disagree with your principles and your moral platitudes.
And you are welcome to your views, too.
If you had troubled to read my whole post, you'd have seen I made it clear that I was NOT suggesting an editor should prejudice their task.
I also accpeted that some webmasters write 'spammy' copy - that doesn't mean that they are all scum, does it?
Respect - to webmaster or fellow forum members - is free and a nice attribute to have.
It's certainly a shame if ODP senior editors encourage contempt for webmasters; and if that's a 'platitude', it's one I'm proud of.
Quadrille, don't you think it's better to insist that website owners block DMOZ' bot themselves if they don't want it there than take the risk of even one cutthroat SEO tricking us into getting a competitor's site deleted by pretending to be the site owner requesting it?
If a webmaster controls a site, he'll 100% for sure be able to control access to it himself. If he asks us to do it for him, there's a nonzero chance that he's lying. Why should we be the ones to spend time trying to sort that out when a truthful webmaster could so easily remove himself from the directory without asking us?
Many many mom and popp website owners have neither the skill nor the knowledge to do something like block the dmoz bot - frontppage doesn't include that sort of thing, don't you know? ;) (thats why they should hire me ;))
In cases where an email address is recorded for the site, it should be generally accepted as a reliable means to contact the owner.
Mom and pop websites who haven't even got the expertise to block a bot from their own site aren't going to be the ones to decide that they think their website might get an SEO boost from the meta description if it was no longer in the ODP. :-)
I've never actually seen an update request asking that a person's own site be removed from the ODP, but I've seen requests to change a listing to a different mirror URL, and sometimes they have *clearly* been submitted by someone other than the owner of the site (presumably in an attempt to hijack the listing or try to cause canonical problems for their competitor in Google or something.) No way would I change the URL on a site to something else unless there's a redirect or some sort of "We're moving!" notice on the site itself. There are too many unscrupulous people out there who think they can stick it to a competitor that way.
>In cases where an email address is recorded for the site, it should be generally accepted as a reliable means to contact the owner.
Oh, means is fine. The problem is, of course, MOTIVE. The ODP guidelines STRONGLY suggest that editors NOT contact site owners.
Those of us who HAVE contacted site owners know exactly why. Sure, "not all webmasters are scum" -- but it's playing Russian Roulette. SOME of them WILL engage in physical stalking at editors' homes and businesses, electronic harassment, and online vilification that, if addressed to a hip-hop performer, would result in murder. There's no reason to ask editors to take that risk, and ... in the strongest possible terms I will say that no reasonable person would ask editors to.
But the real problem is motive. Contacting a site owner doesn't contribute towards building a directory. We're reviewing what's on the website, not what the site owner sends out in private e-mail. If the owner wants to communicate information to surfers (including ODP editors) the website is the only place where that information can be put, or needs to be put.
I could care less how bland or incomplete the description is as long as my site gets listed. I have been happy to get only regional listings. As long as the site is in it. Dang! Remember the old saying that there is no such thing as bad press? If your site is structured properly then the title of the site or page the se is displaying will overcome the odp description anyway. As long as the description is CORRECT...then I would certainly never complain. Geez....wish I had more sites in there and the ones that are, were in more categories. I'd love to be able to moan about my descriptions.
|Quadrille, don't you think it's better to insist that website owners block DMOZ' bot themselves if they don't want it there than take the risk of even one cutthroat SEO tricking us into getting a competitor's site deleted by pretending to be the site owner requesting it? |
It's a very sound argument, when put like that and not wrapped in vitreol.
I'd even go so far as suggesting that ODP post instructions on how to do so - and apologies if they already do, but I've certainly never seen it.
Now that the "must get into ODP at all costs" myth is beginning to fade, seems to me that ODP would be helping themselves by helping those who feel cheated by Google's use of ODP data; it's really not in anyone's interest - least of all ODP editors - to treat webmasters en masse as the enemy. Because it's simply not the case.
I am not defending those who terrorize ODP editors for one nano-second; but an editor who feels that every webmaster is 'as bad' is surely in the wrong job?
Better to educate the misinformed than abuse them, surely?
>seems to me that ODP would be helping themselves by helping those who feel cheated by Google's use of ODP data
There are plenty of professionals who are willing to help people who feel cheated by Google. The ODP community helps EVERYBODY best by not wasting its time in futile competition with those professionals, and doing something unique.
>it's really not in anyone's interest - least of all ODP editors - to treat webmasters en masse as the enemy.
It's really not in the ODP's interest to treat webmasters, in masse or individually, at all. At the ODP, everyone is (and ought to be!) on the same plane: we're all surfers, whatever else we do in our non-spare time.
I haven't replied to email from an ODP submitter in at least two years, due to some of the reasons Hutcheson cites; however, if anyone emailed me and asked me how to block DMOZ' bot, I'd write them back with the email addresses of a couple of nice webmaster communities that could step them through it.
I can't say as it's a question I've ever heard anyone ask before, though, so it would be stretching the truth a good bit to put it on a frequently-asked-questions list! Most people aren't paying that much attention to SEO'ing in the first place, and those who are mostly seem to figure a link is basically a good thing regardless of whatever Google is doing with the site description (which could change with the next Google update anyway.) It's probably a good bet that anybody who fits in neither category already knows how to use their robots.txt file or where to find an online webmaster community. :-)
[edited by: flicker at 6:17 pm (utc) on June 26, 2006]
|Now that the "must get into ODP at all costs" myth is beginning to fade, seems to me that ODP would be helping themselves by helping those who feel cheated by Google's use of ODP data; |
It is not Google cheating with the use of ODP data. It is stupid use of SEO techniques. In all cases I have seen that people complain about Google using the DMOZ title or description it was clear to me why Google was doing so. To me it seems that Google (and other SE's) are trying to block titles and descriptions that are loaded with marketinghype. A description should be a description not a list of keywords. The same for titles: name of site and/or name of page not a combination of keywords. For me it is SEO trying to cheat Google.
>>>>those who are mostly seem to figure a link is basically a good thing regardless of whatever Google is doing with the site description <<<<
hutcheson or flicker... Obviously you are both editors at DMOZ, but I'm curious to know if either one of you actually "work" for DMOZ. Like maybe public relations? If not, then I'm curious to know your reasoning behind spending most of your time at WW in the Directories forum defending DMOZ to almost all the people that post anything negative about it? If you don't mind telling.
Yes, hutcheson, flicker and myself are DMOZ editors.
If you mean with "work for" "are you being payed" than the answer is no. We are all volunteers who work completely for free. Why we do it. Because building a directory for other people to use is something we like doing. Why do we defend DMOZ? Because we are proud of what we as editors have accomplished. And want people to know what DMOZ is realy is about.
There is of course the possibility, so frequently overlooked or outright ignored, that volunteers (such as hutcheson and flicker)who agree with a site's mission choose not to silently tolerate the many misleading and incoorect assumptions and suppositions which get posted.
This thread is just one example. The information provided doesn't really match the hyperbole of the title but that certainly doesn't stop dmoz detractors. A shot at dmoz seems to be like an apple to some, in their minds at least it keeps the doctor away 8^)
I don't respond nearly as some other dmoz volunteers. Whether they are more inclined to minimize troll starvation than I, or whether they are more dedicated to ODP generally than I, or whether they have a significantly larger level of patience than I, I dunno. I suspect it may a combination of all these factors, and perhaps a few other factors as well.
I'm not paid, if that's what you mean. (-: I volunteer as an ODP editor. I spend maybe 10 hours a week on it; not a lot, but enough to be useful.
As for WebmasterWorld, though, I post an average of 4 messages here a week. There's no _way_ you can claim I spend "most of my time" posting about the ODP on WebmasterWorld. That's less than .2% of my time. I probably spend more time every week shaving my legs than I do posting here. ;-)
Darn I'm late again to post in this thread... hey there are so many of us here - do we have some sort of DMOZ editor party? ;-)
Yes, I'm another unpaid DMOZ editor, nobody even offered a bribe to me yet - I'm feeling really down right now... ;-))
Thanks for the answers. You don't have to justify your actions to anyone here, so I appreciate your responses.
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