Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 3.233.226.151

Forum Moderators: Webwork & skibum

Message Too Old, No Replies

ODP Unbiased?

     
11:37 pm on Jun 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

New User

10+ Year Member

joined:May 17, 2004
posts:20
votes: 0


The company I am consulting with has recently submitted a site to ODP. We suspect that the editor of category may be the owner of a competing business.

While it is wonderful to assume that an editor who owns a competing business will be totally fair and unbiased, I am a bit of a cynic about their motivation.

Are there any checks and balances to make sure that an editor does not arbitrarily disapprove or just never approves ( put in the eternal queue) of a competing web site without any justification?

Is there any appeal available to a website owner or are is the company just out of luck? My impression after having been on the ODP forum site is that the editors are willing to tell you nothing. I haven't found anything to indicate there is an appeal process..

Any experiences with ODP? How serious are the consequences if this site can't get listed?

12:05 am on June 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Administrator from US 

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 21, 1999
posts:38257
votes: 115


> editor of category may be the owner of a competing business.

More are than are not. Without question, those in the commercial categories are likely to be your competition. I'd guess a 95% chance of it.

> Are there any checks and balances

Not really. Rogue editors run for years unchecked or unchallenged. It is not necc overt or manipulative, but editors doing-their-thing and no one finding the need to question it.

The problem is, that many times, those that do question it, are Dick and Jane with thier flashed out 3 page motor head site that demand that they be listed at the top of a site immediatly. They have posioned it for all of us.

> Is there any appeal available

No - it is never overtured except in rare cases.

>How serious are the consequences if this site can't get listed?

None.

2:18 am on June 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rfgdxm1 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

joined:May 12, 2002
posts:4479
votes: 0


>Are there any checks and balances to make sure that an editor does not arbitrarily disapprove or just never approves ( put in the eternal queue) of a competing web site without any justification?

It isn't possible for an individual editor to put a site in an "eternal" queue. Not only can all the editors higher up the tree edit in that cat, but also any editall or meta. The editors at the ODP forum most definitely will tell you if your site is still in the queue, or if it was rejected.

I noticed that you mentioned this was a commercial site, and it was submitted just recently. Typically at the ODP queues for commercial categories are often quite large. If it took several months or more for any editor to even look at your site, this would not be unusual, and in fact typical. Thus, at this point it is WAY too early to be thinking about appeals, etc.

2:54 am on June 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Jan 30, 2001
posts:1739
votes: 0


There are not, and are never going to be, any checks to see what an editor doesn't do. No editor is required to review any particular site. And so as for not getting a review as quickly as you would like, there is no recourse or appeal. How could there be? Who can I (a mere meta-editor) force to review your site? And why would I want to?

As for editors actually DOING something destructive (like inappropriately deleting a listable site), there are checks. You can ask for the status, and if the site gets deleted inappropriately, you will have cause for an abuse report (and those are acted on very quickly by meta-editors who are NOT your competitors.)

As for depending on the ODP for your website promotion, that's a mug's game. It's not our mission or our concern. If you need immediate promotion, you'd better ask someone who does that -- Yahoo, Looksmart, Overture, or any of the zillions of lesser sites.

I do not believe anyone has gotten rich or famous as the result of an Open Directory listing. Our goal is to make surfers better informed ... for any other goals you have, you'll have to find other groups (some of which, admittedly, may contain ODP editors wearing different hats.)

1:02 pm on June 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Aug 28, 2003
posts:560
votes: 0


What there are internal checks for is 'rogue' (bad) editors *deleting* sites, or improperly listing their own. Merely not reviewing a site themselves, I'm afraid not. As we're all volunteers, this wouldn't be a reasonable policy. Too, if an editor really despises you or your site, we wouldn't want to force him to be the one to review it, since it might be hard for him to give it a fair description. Better that he leave the review to someone else than give your site an unfair review, from our perspective (possibly even from yours).

However, as has been pointed out, there are dozens of editors with the ability to review any given submission, so any single editor who doesn't want to review your site (whether it's for a very good reason, like it doesn't work on his browser, or a very bad reason, like he doesn't want to give your business any exposure, or somewhere in between) cannot prevent or hamper its listing.

I definitely wouldn't worry about it until at least a year has gone by. Commercial categories are often very busy and have very spam-clogged submission pools.

12:36 pm on July 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

New User

10+ Year Member

joined:July 20, 2003
posts:12
votes: 0


More are than are not. Without question, those in the commercial categories are likely to be your competition. I'd guess a 95% chance of it.

Where are you getting this information from? I would love to see the stats that back up this statement. This is how ODP urban myths get started :)
8:07 pm on July 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Jan 30, 2001
posts:1739
votes: 0


The vast majority of edits in commercial categories are actually done by editalls or higher-level editors, not by editors named in that category. This will be obvious from the simple observation that most commercial categories, like most other categories, don't have named editors.
1:01 pm on July 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rfgdxm1 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

joined:May 12, 2002
posts:4479
votes: 0


>The vast majority of edits in commercial categories are actually done by editalls or higher-level editors, not by editors named in that category. This will be obvious from the simple observation that most commercial categories, like most other categories, don't have named editors.

Brett may have been referring to the atypical situation where a commercial cat actually has a listed editor.

6:09 pm on July 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Jan 7, 2002
posts:66
votes: 0


I definitely wouldn't worry about it until at least a year has gone by.

So I'm coming up on 14 months, and I regularly check in at the ODP Resource Zone site. They tell me each time it's still in que, but should I be "worried"?

PS
Just to make clear, I realize ODP does not add much to your site ranking, and practically 0 time is spent dealing with this, but I would like to get the link.

9:43 pm on July 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Aug 28, 2003
posts:560
votes: 0


It can literally take anytime between three minutes and three years for any particular site to be reviewed. (I've listed some of each from a queue, believe it or not.) Because we're not a FIFO system--and because, in fact, a submitted site is jostling for attention not only with all the other stuff submitted to that category but also all the sites an editor finds on his own--it's more or less probabilistic.

However, if you checked your site's status at the ODP public forum, you don't have to be worried either. By getting the status there, you can be sure it's still waiting in the pool of potential sites and hasn't been maltreated by the editor you suspect of bias (i.e. deleted or moved to the wrong place). Once it's been determined that your site is still waiting patiently in the submissions pile, you can at least know that your enemies are simply statistics, time, and spam, not the category editor. (-: The way our system is set up, it's impossible for an editor to force a site to remain in the unreviewed pool, so if you determine that there's been no deletion or other funny business, you don't need to look any further than chance, really.

2:18 pm on July 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Mar 5, 2004
posts:147
votes: 0


Only once did I try to list a site with ODP on my initiative (I had other sites listed by ODP editors without me submitting them) and I remember waiting about 14 months.

Until mid-2003, Google did DEFINATELY give boost to ODP-listed sites, also citing the relevant category in the SERPs, so by staying out of ODP rankings were affected.

I finally filed a quite elaborate complaint about possible editor abuse. I never got an answer but the site was promptly listed. Maybe it was a coincidence.

In retrospect I tend to think that the whole issue was due to an overzealous editor, trying to prevent potential fake sites being listed in ODP, rather than a malicious attempt to stifle competition.

At least I hope so...

5:05 pm on July 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Jan 30, 2001
posts:1739
votes: 0


>In retrospect I tend to think that the whole issue was due to an overzealous editor, trying to prevent potential fake sites being listed in ODP, rather than a malicious attempt to stifle competition.

A bit of an open mind there, huh? Much appreciated.

I can assure you that some of the most active editors in commercial categories are sometimes almost paralyzed by the problem of potential fake sites. They delete the obvious spam, list the demonstrably genuine -- but that leaves a lot of sites in the middle. Maybe some other editor can detect more spam or demonstrate more genuineness, so they leave the others. I've done this also, so I can sympathize.

I can also sympathize with the businesses who can't demonstrate their legitimacy. But the same problem will occur with other surfers as with ODP editors, and ultimately the business must solve the problem -- editors can only recognize it.

7:24 pm on July 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Oct 23, 2002
posts:1052
votes: 0


One of my websites - or rather a domain with several websites on it - once was treated by an unknown ODP editor in a way that definitely implied a degree of hostility.

I always thought that part of the reason for that particular action might have been a suspicion that I were trying to cheat.

The result was a listing that gave users *very* unprecise "informations" about that domain and the websites on it. Actually I felt the necessity of writing a statement on my frontpage that in very clear words rejected the description in that listing.

In the end a member of this forum with extensive editorial rights kindly removed the listing though not being able to read it. I am still gratefull for this, not only the banal fact of having that annoying listing removed but perhaps even more the confidence in me that must have been part of the background for that help.

I never suspected that any personal dishonesty was the reason for the unlucky editorial treatment of my domain. I am sure that with so many editors there must be some degree of editorial abuse, but I have never myself seen anything to make me suspicious.

I think that it is important for both editors and webmasters to remember how easy it is to do something for perfectly innocent reasons that may look fishy in the eyes of a mistrustful person.

8:46 pm on July 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Jan 30, 2001
posts:1739
votes: 0


>I think that it is important for both editors and webmasters to remember how easy it is to do something for perfectly innocent reasons that may look fishy in the eyes of a mistrustful person.

Yes, definitely.

11:21 am on July 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:July 11, 2003
posts:955
votes: 0


One of my good friend edits a very competitive directory at ODP, and surprisingly, we both have the same thing on one of our sites. In other words, we are competitors.

He never lets this stuff get in his way though, infact, the description for his own website is much much smaller than that of his competitors (me included). A true friend. :)

Sid

12:08 pm on July 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Apr 13, 2003
posts:602
votes: 0


Any experiences with ODP? How serious are the consequences if this site can't get listed?

To quote Brett: None.

The sites that I have managed to get listed in the ODP (after looooong waits) receive virtually no traffic from there, have poorly written descriptions, and for the most part have ended up on pages that were PR4 or lower so the search engine ranking benefits were minimal.

I no longer even waste my time submitting sites to the ODP. The time spent jumping through their hoops is better spent IMO by seeking out relevent links from regular websites and the other so-called "lesser" Directories. Some of those "lesser" Directories will list a site within days, place the link on a relatively high-ranking page, and send a fair amount of traffic to boot.

In a nutshell, a listing in the ODP is just a link, and typically it's just a link buried 9 levels deep on a low ranking page. Why bother? I can get links of similar or higher quality literally within hours and sometimes minutes. Why wait months or years?

1:21 pm on July 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Aug 28, 2003
posts:560
votes: 0


I think you're generally right, birdstuff, except for this part:

>The time spent jumping through their hoops

You don't really need to spend any time jumping through any hoops at all. It takes five minutes to properly submit a site to the ODP, maybe ten if you've never done it before, and after that you don't need to do anything at all ever again. The hoops seem to be invented by fretful submitters who feel the need to be doing something constantly (i.e. resubmitting over and over, checking the category daily, emailing the editor, asking on our help board every couple of months, lobbying for their site on webmaster boards). But none of this actually speeds the site's review. I strongly suggest just submitting it and forgetting about it. It's a free non-reciprocal link, and the ODP does have its avid users (I'm one, and I do a lot of online shopping, too. (-: ) So I'm sure it's worth five minutes to suggest. But as you say, it's a link on a low-PR page and many commercial categories see very low traffic, so I'm equally sure it's not worth any more bother than that. If you don't get a listing for two years, then hey, in two years you'll get a handful of more customers. Small reward, small outlay of time. It's no biggie.

It's the people who incorrectly think the ODP is going to save their struggling e-business who pour their valuable time into campaigning for a listing, usually to no avail, and waste our valuable time in the process. If they'd put that time into improving their site or getting links from other sources instead of looking for a magic bullet, maybe they wouldn't be in the straits they're in.

*two cents*

1:34 pm on July 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Apr 13, 2003
posts:602
votes: 0


flicker:

Point taken.

BettyB

1:02 am on July 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Inactive Member
Account Expired

 
 


The reason that the listing is so important is that it can give a big boosting in link popularity for Google rankings. Not only do you get the link in ODP, but you get additional links in other directories that use the same ODP listings.

In today's Google world where links from trusted directories is so important, a website owner can't ignore the benefits of getting listed in ODP directory.

BettyB

5:19 am on July 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Oct 23, 2002
posts:1052
votes: 0


Welcome to Webmaster World, Betty.

> a website owner can't ignore the benefits of getting listed in ODP directory

Many webmasters *do* ignore those benefits and still perform reasonably well in Google even for very competitive keywords.

I certainly appreciate my own listings - now that they all are in appropriate categories, have correct names and appropriate descriptions, but I could do without them. Some of my websites are not in ODP but perform as well as those that are.

7:19 am on July 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:July 11, 2003
posts:955
votes: 0


Yup, as it has been said a lot in this forum, a DMOZ link is not different to an ordinary one (most people tend to think it is, as Google uses its dump).

Sid
Welcome to WebmasterWorld Betty!

1:50 am on July 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Jan 30, 2001
posts:1739
votes: 0


The ODP submittal policies are fairly clear. If you read and follow them, you won't have wasted much of your time, and you might eventually get a free link or two out of it. And an ODP submittal won't interfere with the professional website promotion campaign that you're industriously working on in the meantime, right?

If you do that, you're making good use of your time, and getting as much advantage from the ODP as you can -- whatever that is: it's not totally negligable, nor will it float a lead-weighted website. Nobody knows exactly what an ODP listing is worth, and ... probably nobody much cares. It's worth more than the trouble of submitting a site plus the $0.00 cost involved; it's probably worth less than the cost of a professional analysis of what it's worth.

What doesn't make sense is obsessing about the ODP, hassling the editors, resubmitting daily or weekly or monthly, writing letters to the FCC or your lawyer or Congress or the United Nations. That won't help your site, and there are other ways you can expend your time and energy to help your site.

2:13 am on July 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Apr 13, 2003
posts:602
votes: 0


...and there are other ways you can expend your time and energy to help your site.

The bottom line is my sites do very well without bothering with the ODP. IMO the potential reward doesn't justify the time spent hassling with them. And contrary to what has been said (with good intentions I'm sure) it is indeed a hassle.

True, you can submit and forget or simply hope for the best. But you can also spend that time getting better quality links in a very short period of time.

3:49 am on July 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Aug 14, 2003
posts:575
votes: 4


>it is indeed a hassle

Why is it a hassle to spend 5 minutes suggesting a site to potentially get a link that is free, non-reciprocated and on-topic/theme, may have reasonable PR, is from an expert/authority site, gets copies by the DMOZ clones and may actually get you some traffic?

It is not a hassle.

4:02 am on July 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Apr 13, 2003
posts:602
votes: 0


It is not a hassle.

I respect your opinion.

4:34 am on July 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:July 11, 2003
posts:955
votes: 0


Submitting a site to DMOZ ain't a hassle to me in any way, I do it all the time for clients and even my sites etc, but applying for an editor in a category which highly interests you is.

And on top of that, getting rejected with a message saying, "The category is already well taken care of.", in other words, "We don't need you!".

Sid

8:04 am on July 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Jan 30, 2001
posts:1739
votes: 0


sidyadav, have you read that rejection notice carefully?

Is it possible that it was the form letter saying something like "this category is <<<EITHER>>> TOO BIG FOR A NEW EDITOR <<<OR>>> has too many editors"?

Perhaps you overlooked the parts that I emphasized? (I don't understand why, but a lot of people seem to.) If you asked for a 200-site category (or, perhaps, a 50-site category with 500 unrevieweds in the queue), that's what you'd have gotten, even if there is no listed editor. Doing it repeatedly with the same result will be frustrating, I know: but step back and make sure you've selected the right brick before banging your head on it again.

A category of, say, 30-40 sites and simple subcategories, or 20 sites with no subcategories; not much in the way of temptation to spammers (we don't throw new editors to the wolves), and somewhere you can add a dozen or two sites based on your own knowledge -- of the industry or the neighborhood or the topic or whatever. We want editors to be able to find and recognize sites on their own, not be dependent on submitters -- that way lies really nasty biases!

And if you have three good sites, unaffiliated with you, to add to a category (and some indication of more where those came from) -- then that's evidence the category could use more help, however many editors it has.