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Should ODP list affiliates?
Would a separate category help?

 6:41 pm on Jul 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

Given the somewhat heated threads taking place here and elsewhere about affiliate and MLM sites being listed with DMOZ, and given the fact that there are a number of DMOZ editors here, I would be interested in a debate pro and con...

As I see it we have a problem from the DMOZ side in that their time is taken up weeding out submissions made in ignorance of guidelines, or masked submissions made undercover, or, allegedly, submissions which have been accepted in contravention of their guidelines.

From the point of view of non-shopping sites, their categories are often overflowing with suspect sites which leads to closure of the category (Hotels), long delays in review, and demotivation of editors.

From the point of view of affiliate sites or MLMs the restrictions are seen to be unfair as a) the original site is often listed and b) other affiliate sites have made it through the submission barrier (whether through corruption or other techniques like "bait-and-switch").

To start the ball rolling, what about having an Affiliate Sub-Category (like World or Regional)? Editors could be drawn from the many affiliate promoters bemoaning their fate outside DMOZ. And it would be possible to see if the argument that people want quick access to online points-of-sale actually is valid or exists only in the mind of salesmen (or -women).

It could be called the OAP ;)



 6:53 pm on Jul 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

Should ODP list affiliates?

In many cases they do.
Editors will bury them in places like

It is better than nothing ;)


 6:56 pm on Jul 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

Great post stever!

I think the problem that would immediately crop up is "too easy to abuse".

There are many legit affiliates, one man virtual operations that use this associate program as an extra revenue generator.

How would you combat a company that has good resources and setups up 1000 sites with them being the affiliate just to increase exposure.

It seems the "one man operation" would again be the disadvantaged.


 7:01 pm on Jul 13, 2002 (gmt 0)


The metas have just decided to take out all Independent Representatives from MLM sites. As far as I understand it, that just leaves the main site eligible...


 7:18 pm on Jul 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

The metas

Will [target.com...] will have to remove their link to Eddie Bauer STUFF?


 1:06 am on Jul 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

Let's assume Joe Surfer wants to buy a widget. He goes to one of the ODP licensees out there, and types the word "widget" into the search box. From the search result, he ends up in a category listing widget retailers. Let's keep it simple and assume that category looks like follows:

  • www.a-widgets.com - Widgets for the young generation.
  • www.b-widgets.com - All types of widgets, with color matching feature.
  • www.c-widgets.com - Widgets with a historical background.

    Now assume that the one of those sites runs an affiliate program. Each affiliate partner displays pictures of widgets of all colors on his site, with links to the retailers site. Would it benefit Joe Surfer if the category looked like this instead?

  • www.a-widgets.com - Widgets for the young generation.
  • www.b-widgets.com - All kinds of widgets, with color matching feature.
  • www.bw-affilate-1.com - Advertizes bwidgets.com widgets.
  • www.bw-affilate-2.com - Also advertizes bwidgets.com widgets.
  • www.bw-affilate-3.com - Helps you find bwidgets.com widgets.
  • www.bw-affilate-4.com - Offers a selection of bwidgets.com widgets.
  • www.bw-affilate-5.com - Affiliate of bwidgets.com widgets.
  • www.bw-affilate-6.com - More links to bwidgets.com.
  • www.bw-affilate-7.com - And yet some links to bwidgets.com.
  • www.c-widgets.com - Widgets with a historical background.

    Of course, in reality all three retailers would have their own affiliate programs, which then causes the list to grow to several dozen entries. A small minority of those links lead the searcher directly to where he wants to go, all the others force him to jump through a few more hoops until he finally can buy his widget at one of the three sites who actually sell them.

    Which arrangement would YOU prefer to see when you go out buying a widget?

  • kctipton

     3:31 am on Jul 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

    That's a great explanation of the situation.


     6:45 am on Jul 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

    I entirely agree with you, bird, but there would seem to be a problem in DMOZ with editors complaining that their time is taken up with weeding out fraudulent or masked submissions which leads to multi-month waits for other submissions to be reviewed.

    In the meantime, others complain because some sites have managed to sneak in through using whatever means.

    Given that affiliate or MLM representative sites will try to get into DMOZ no matter what the guidelines, would it not make practical sense to give them a separate area where they could go (and make it a lifetime ban if they try elsewhere)? Would that not alleviate some of the complaints from both inside (editors) and outside (affiliates, MLM representatives, and "innocents" caught in the queue)?


     2:15 pm on Jul 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

    You've got the funny idea that if ODP made a special place for affiliates the affiliate sites would actually submit there.


     6:35 pm on Jul 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

    messages #10-17 joined from another thread

    DMOZ has a policy of NO affiliate sites.

    I point out direct violations of this policy and DMOZ refuses to remove the sites..is that ethical? is that moral?

    The bottom line is once they DO know about their policy being abused and they refuse to remove the sites.

    You also refuse to look at the larger picture..those sites are not JUST in DMOZ ..it gives them unfair advantage clear across the web ..in all the SE's that DMOZ feeds..

    That IS serious..

    Al you have to do is look around at other postings and realize how ticked off people are already at DMOZ ...

    The only people defending DMOZ are editors and people with sites already in DMOZ..

    Perhaps I need a more judicial audience ?

    [edited by: NFFC at 4:55 pm (utc) on July 14, 2002]


     6:38 pm on Jul 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

    I believe that DMOZ editors will remove sites that got through cracks in their policies all in good time.

    I think their priority though is listing the flood of quality sites first.


     9:52 pm on Jul 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

    Abuse research takes *time*. The ODP just can't take everything said at face value. Often, its a site competitor that points out affiliate sites. The ODP goes through a process to identify these sites. Also, its a volunteer organization...not everyone is around every minute.


     11:51 pm on Jul 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

    Fathom I really like your first post..somehow seems familiar ?! LOL

    I dont think the question is about fairness if their affiliates arent allowed..I think the problem as I have well stated is that the DMOZ policy says NO affiliate sites and yet..when you point flagrant abuses DMOZ refuses to remove the sites? The point of who is pointing it out should have NO bearing..it is a matter of DMOZ having the integrity to do the right thing... open the door or close it.. but certainly dont say..whoops they cheated and snuck in their sites so we are going to let them stay listed...where is the ethics in that ?

    I wonder not only about the "fairness" but the legality of such practises.

    kuja you said "Abuse research takes time" The editor that responded to me yesterday says 2 (and osometimes a 3rd) takes care of 2,700 sites in the visual arts cat...
    When you browse DMOZ it is clear they are overwhelmed with work and underwhelemed with editors.

    The reason IMO is the DMOZ model is inherently flawed..the very idea of giving 8,000 employees(err.. volunteers free rein is unsettling).

    The reason IMO that DMOZ shows 50,000 editors (when in reality they have less than 8000) is that editors sign-up post their sites and are gone..that simple...

    IF your policy is no affiliate sites then havethe integrity to at least remove the ones pointed out to you..

    I have no problem with affiliate sites at DMOZ as long as they go inthe approprite Cat SHOPPING..
    I do have a problem with DMOZ claiming they dont allow it(emailed response)..when in fact their site is littered with such sites .


     3:18 am on Jul 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

    Who will go through 3.5 million listings and check them all? We do what we can, but be realistic.


     4:20 am on Jul 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

    DMOZ has a policy of NO affiliate sites.

    Where did you come up with that. To quote from the ODP Guidelines [dmoz.org]:

    A site that lists affiliate links in addition to other content (such as a fan site for a singer that has interviews and photos and links to buy the singer's CDs) might be an acceptable submission to the directory. Sites that consist primarily of links to buy books or CDs, etc. and/or provide no unique content are not appropriate for inclusion in the directory.


     1:26 pm on Jul 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

    I wonder not only about the "fairness" but the legality of such practises.

    If you're even thinking about something like that, think again. You have exactly as much legal recourse in favour or against any specific listing in the ODP as I would have, if I wanted you to list a Jennifer Lopez poster on your site instead of the one about Britney Spears that you actually have there.

    People who threaten legal action against the ODP or an indiviudual editor simply don't get it. Some of them may get it when they receive a response to that threat from the AOL/TimeWarner legal department, but most probably even won't when that happens.


     4:34 pm on Jul 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

    >> I wonder not only about the "fairness" but the legality of such practises.

    From the ODP Guidelines [dmoz.org]:
    "No site is guaranteed placement in the Open Directory"

    From the Submission Guidelines [dmoz.org] (snippet appears in every submission form):
    "We don't accept all sites, so please don't take it personally should your site not be accepted."


     4:58 pm on Jul 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

    "Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo."
    - H. G. Wells


     6:32 pm on Jul 15, 2002 (gmt 0)

    Maybe ODP could setup one category


    The sites would not need to be reviewed by editors, affiliates could simply go in and list their own sites. ODP data users could then choose (as they do with the rest of the directory) what to include and what not to include. Anyone with an affiliate program that did not get listed in another section of ODP could list their site there.

    Affiliate sites get listed in ODP and editors don't have to mess with them. Problem solved.


     6:47 pm on Jul 15, 2002 (gmt 0)

    Maybe ODP could setup one category Shopping/Affiliates/All/ ...

    We tried the exact same thing with the MLM categories, but ultimately the consensus was reached to disband this category. These kinds of "ghettos" for sites we wouldn't list anywhere else, are a waste of editor manpower and ultimately don't add anything to the directory.

    Would you rather have an editor spending time adding the 8000th travelnow.com or asiahotels.com affiliate to the directory, instead of listing good quality sites?


     7:21 pm on Jul 15, 2002 (gmt 0)

    If a category was created like that, the editors should just let the site owners handle their own listings and not spend any editorial effort on it. It's a losing game and a waste of time to try to sift through all that stuff, especially if you don't get paid for it.

    No one will ever perceive the system to be fair, but this way MLM and affiliate site owners that do not get listed in the regular editor compiled section of ODP would have a chance to maintain their own space and build up a directory of affiliate sites if they so desired.

    I don't think it would turn out to be particularly useful to anyone and I doubt that Google or any other major search site would pick up the data, but if those with affiliate sites wanted to build their own section of ODP, why not. It could work.........or it could turn into one big FFA page.


     9:13 pm on Jul 15, 2002 (gmt 0)

    This thread (mostly) rather misses the point.

    What ODP *Does* list is sites with unique content. So some sites with affiliate links *do* get (proudly) listed, others, with a page of Amazon links, might not. And there's a load in between.

    Suggesting we that ODP lists every affiliate "because some slip through", not really a solution - a better solution (in terms of level playing fields) would be to list none.

    But *best* is to list those that are *useful to those using ODP* - and not the rest.

    By some AMAZING coincidence, that is ODP policy.

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