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It drives me insane how MSN lists its questionably relevant web directory sites before the web results. I thought the purpose a search engine was to direct people where they want to go! Why must people click through ten pages of web directory nonsense before they can find the web results?
Also, the ODP was a good idea but needs to be overhauled. The reviewers/spammers that list the sites, do a heck of a lot of "self-listing". The adult results are a joke. Notice the similarities between most of the sites in a category? It is the same site repeated 50 times with a different title and background color. i.e. SPAM done by the reviewer. Most of lycos' referring power is eaten up by the ODP. I think its a shame.
I agree that MSN is a mystery. Part of it is all the growth MSN is experiencing right now due to their massive promo campaigns. There are all those newbie users on there and they really don't care what MSN throws at them.
I was thinking Lycos was getting better now that they have given up and turned it over to Fast. Those top of the page 4 results are still coming from Ink influenced Direct *hit. I get relatively few ODP hits from Lycos/Hotbot anymore.
It seems all of the search engines are repositioning themselves and finding new ways to sell their services to one another. FAST is doing a great job of following in Google's footsteps. My guess is that FAST and GOOGLE will be the only decent engines around that return fully indexed sites from the "real web."
All of the other engines require multiple submissions, submissions of each pages, etc. I am tired of messing with Inktomi. Although my old submissions are still there, all of my newer stuff "comes and goes" (Inouttomi)
I can't speak for other editors, but I know in the categories I edit the spam isn't being caused by me. We have a set of guidelines to follow when editing a site. If that site meets the requirements we're supposed to list it.
If there are many sites from the same company that look slightly different layout-wise, they still have to have different content or I won't list them. I do agree that the guidelines are a bit broad but I suppose in all fairness that they have to be.
If you think you see any particular editor/section that is very spammed out, please bring it to the attention of the meta editors and it will be looked into. But what you might be seeing, especially where free sites are concerned, are sites that actually do meet the requirements and therefore must be listed.
If you could see the amount of stuff I delete in one day you'd be amazed. People will try any angle to get their sites (doorways, jump pages, you name it) listed in the ODP. So believe it or not, the real spam rarely makes it into the directory. At least in my experience.