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WhoIs Source rips DMOZ on multiple listings

Is this old news? It's pretty shocking in some cases.

     
9:33 pm on Jul 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I just stumbled across this.

In a very nice and neat professional way WhoIs Source has exposed how certain entities have managed to score 100s and in some cases >1,000 entries in the DMOZ.

In one case, a pharma site, has over 700 separate DMOZ entries.

This has all the signs of a major shake up in the making.

Have I been asleep or is this new news?

2:20 am on July 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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That list has been available there for a long time.

What is the problem with multiple listings if an editor considers a deeplink appropriate and adds valuable content to the category. It only becomes spam and inappropriate when sites submit multiple and duplicate deeplinks to inappropriate categories.

A highly infomorative pharma site that has independent, unique content and valuable content on all the different drugs/medications (and is not selling them) might appropriately get a seperate listing under each of those drug/medication categories at DMOZ - what is the problem with that? I am not familiar with the site you mention, so am making an assumption here.

Now if it was a spammy viagara selling site that got under the radar scope, thats different.

4:11 am on July 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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It could be especially good in that case if it was an independent health site that was not owned by a pharma company and didn't take advertising from them either. I can think of at least one like that but don't think its got much of a presence in ODP.
6:23 am on July 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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If you're looking at the source I'm think you are, it was provided by a kind member of the public, and has been regularly updated, at least partly at the request of ODP editors. This is one of several fine heuristic tools that have been donated from the outside. It's hardly "shocking", unless you have a nervous constitution and weak mind. And there's no particular "shakeup" approaching.

Yes, some sites have hundreds or thousands of listings -- and many of THEM should have more. They are the "exceptional" sites that the guidelines talk about. For instance, Project Gutenberg, with all its thousands of listings, is, so far as I can figure, about 15,000 short of what it SHOULD have. On the other hand, hundreds of sites have one listing, adding up to hundreds of quality problems that we need to clean up immediately. There's no arithmetic formula for the number of acceptable deeplinks, do there's obviously no single number that, taken out of context, has any particular meaning -- nothing that would wriggle the smallest feather on Chicken Little's breast.

But lots of editors periodically cast their eye over the list, looking for oddities and spot-checking sites that seem to have a disproportionate number of listings -- and we do find some problems that way. (Hence our request to have it kept updated.)

1:55 pm on July 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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After a quick scan of some of the first page of listings I was left with the impression that, at least in the pharma case, the site was clearly a moneymaker. It simply aggregated and regurgitated information that one would find in the Physician's Desk Reference, which is substantially (exactly) the same information that one would find at the FDA site - or a myriad of other sites scraping the data from various official/government sites.

The problem with such gross instances - where clearly someone is positioned to maximize their profits by virtue of the 100s of DMOZ listings for the same site - is that exceptions of that magnitude - however rationalized - suffer from what we lawyers call 'the appearance of impropriety'. Why so?

Drug information is freely available. There are true, official sites for each drug. I'm certain myriad pharma sites each did a good job of providing the same information about drugs x, y and z. Why didn't webmaster Joe secure listings for his site's info about drug X and webmaster Jane secure listings for her site about drug Y and so on? There are and have been multiple pharma sites that would easily qualify as the same 'useful material' that certainly did not find there way into the DMOZ at all, much less for 700 unique listings, one for every drug. Though I'm not in pharma I'm certain if I was I would have heard the sound of phama webmasters pounding on DMOZ's doors for like entry and similar treatment.

H, I didn't say that I find the WhoIs Source report 'shocking', though you employ that word in quotes nonetheless. I imagine that the tool did manage to shake things up a bit and might continue to do so, at the very least helping to discern which editors are either asleep at the wheel or playing favorites. A tool that can readily reveal failures amongst 10s of 1000s of editors, helping to keep everyone honest, would amount to a major shake up in my book, just like when they began putting video cameras in police cars.

I have no bone to pick about the DMOZ. I've never posted about it before to my knowledge. I think it's a fine tool, just like I think the WhoIs Source report is also a fine tool. I also think openness, discernment, honesty, equal treatment for all are fine tools - when they are actually applied in fact, not just in assertion. The WhoIs Source tool helps move the conversation about equal treatment to all DMOZ applicants from mere assertion that 'all's fair' to evidential of the same (or not), and I like looking at the evidence so I can fashion my own somewhat informed opinions.

OBTW. Hutcheson:'Chicken Little'? Moi? That is so refreshing. It gives me hope.

4:35 pm on July 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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On your screen, is there a word between "pretty" and "in" in the thread subtitle? And if so, what is it?
6:31 pm on July 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Yes, it's actually 3 words and it's in parentheses: 'to this doofus'.

I stand corrected and pilloried, hoisted on my own petard.

Signed, C.L.

P.S. Okay, yeah, so it shocked my conscience when I first read it. I thought DMOZ was pure, divine, untainted, untoched by human hands. I guess the DMOZ shine has been a bit tarnished for me. For my pennance I may have to volunteer to edit a section.

8:14 pm on July 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Possibly the moderator may add a subtitle to threads, and ... of course, the person to create a thread doesn't see that: hence the confusion.

Tarnish is always there. We're thankful for anyone who's willing to help polish -- or even willing to point out specific bad spots.

As for editing: I'd say "try it out." Pick a subject in which you can take a disinterested interest, and try to find good content for. You'll learn stuff about using directories and search engines that will be helpful as long as you're using the web.

Or if you have specific sites that you think are over-represented, spot-check some of the links to see if they are indeed uniquely valuable information in that category. If they aren't (or if there is a more authoritative place to get that information now), then file an "abuse" report at the ODP editors' forum. An experienced editor will look at it.

9:22 pm on July 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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For my pennance I may have to volunteer to edit a section.

I'm motivated to volunteer to edit several cats... ;)

2:07 pm on July 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Hi,
Through reading another forum (bow head in shame), I just found out that some affilliate has over 250 dmoz links to one of his sites.

Shouldn't dmoz check if domains are already listed? I could understand adding a site to two or three categories, but 250?

Its little wonder that I've been waiting for my site to get listed for nearly a year given that some clowns are spamming the system.

I understand that to an extent dmoz are at the mercy of their editors, and that the vast majority are doing a good job. Could dmoz not automate the process to flag up some of these dubious multiple entry domains?

2:35 pm on July 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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>>dmoz check if domains are already listed?

it does - but as someone mentioned, it's OK to list multiple pages for large site - if it provides quality content.

If it's a spammy affiliate site you could contact one of the editors in a higher category and mention it, or post on the dmoz forum.

5:43 pm on July 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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To be honest, the site in question seems to provide a lot of quality content so maybe it does warrant 250 submissions. Does seem like a lot though.
8:44 pm on July 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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It would not have had 250 submissions - that is expressly disallowed by the guidelines. Anything more than about 2 or 3 submissions could easily soon look like spam to editors.

However, at the editors discretion, a site might be listed more than once if the content is of suitable quantitly and quality. Multiple listings are editor led, not suggested by the public.