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DMOZ Frustration - Waited another year, time to try again

I would like some advice from the experts before I resubmit our site :)

     
12:44 am on Mar 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I'm about to resubmit to DMOZ. Starting in 2003, we had submitted to DMOZ when we released our Car Rental portal

Unfortunately, we had submitted twice (a dmoz no-no). I believe we had resubmitted because we didn't classify ourselves as a consolidator and thought we had to resubmit. This part was certainly our mistake, I just hope it won't keep us banned forever. We then questioned why we weren't added and must have upset an editor when we questioned the transparency of the system.

The first response we had gotten when we asked at resource zone was 'There is no point in resubmitting the site. You will just be wasting your time. Please do not take our decision to not list your site as a slight against your site or a judgement of value of your site. We are not saying your site is a bad site, just that it does not qualify for a listing in our directory under our guidelines...'

Over the last year I've looked carefully at the dmoz guidelines,

I've looked carefully at:
[dmoz.org...]
- we are not an affiliate site, so no worry here.
- we are unique (definitely, we are well known for the ease of use of our site, we have cheaper rates than most sites that are specially negotiated for our users, if you were asked, what is your favorite car rental consolidator, who do you think of? And is it a car rental specific site?)

HERE ARE TRAVEL SPECIFIC GUIDELINES WITH THE ASSOCIATED URLs FROM DMOZ.ORG
- we do serve the worldwide market
- we are a consolidator and in most cases have specially negotiated rates

[dmoz.org...]
# Recreation/Travel Listing Criteria
* In general, only companies which serve multiple continents (like global car rental companies) are listed in Recreation/Travel/Transportation categories.
* Most sites for transportation companies are listed in Business categories which are then linked in Recreation/Travel with @links.

[dmoz.org...]
Consolidator
A company which negotiates bulk contracts with a travel supplier (i.e. an airline, hotel, tour operator, etc.) and sells that space to the general public (either directly, or through a travel agent) at a discount.

Anyone have any idea why we still might not be included in the directory?

DOES ANYONE KNOW ANY REASON WHY WE SHOULDN'T BE IN DMOZ? Any advice/information would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

[edited by: skibum at 4:02 pm (utc) on Mar. 30, 2005]
[edit reason] removed site specifics per tos [/edit]

4:21 pm on Mar 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I tried to put link to resource zone thread, but webmasterworld won't allow me to put in any links...They must have some automated thing that thinks I'm trying to spam. The thread is #11267 at resource zone.

Any advice is appreciated
Thanks
Dave

4:23 pm on Mar 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Oh, they also pulled our site name..... It is <nospam> .....perhaps because I had a link to it.

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 9:09 pm (utc) on Mar. 30, 2005]
[edit reason] no specifics please. [/edit]

9:03 pm on Mar 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Read the forum charter
9:56 am on Mar 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

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If you were told at RZ that you wuld not be listed, that probably means you will not be listed, so you will be wasting your and DMOZ editor time by submitting.
10:01 am on Mar 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

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If your site is mostly a list of affiliates you will never be listed. My advice is add lots of content wait another year and re-submit (not necessarily to the category with the highest PR ;)
2:40 pm on Mar 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

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We are definitely not an affiliate site. Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, are more affiliate sites then we are (if you want to know why, feel free to email or post). We link out to nobody (is this a problem?). If this is their argument it holds no merit. Unless they remove all travel sites. We did link out to a few sites awhile ago and had google adsense, but we removed both.
4:34 pm on Mar 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

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ODP editors assign a fairly broad meaning to the word "affiliate". Since we can't know your business model, we look at your business activity.

If you collect, park, and prep cars for rent, we treat it as a car rental business. If you advertise the services of someone else who actually collects, parks, and preps cars for rent -- then we treat it like a marketing billboard. True: several years ago, all the advertising sites were full of blatant affiliate links. Today, there are more different ways of getting paid for advertising. But we still tend to call all them "affiliate." The "CASH flow" distinction may be critical to the people who are actually getting paid, but it's really irrelevant from the ODP "INFORMATION flow" perspective.

7:54 pm on Mar 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hutcheson, I kind of understand what you are saying, and I agree we are not a 'car rental business' if defined as a company that buys, preps, and hands over the keys to cars directly to customers. Where you lose me is that I think we are a car rental consolidator (who has specially negotiated rates-sometimes better than any other consolidator out there for certain vendors/dates/car types). I will agree that we are a marketing vehicle for some of our vendors, but no more than SEARS is a marketing vehicle for SONY's products by selling dvds or the more related analogy of expedia renting rooms for Marriot.

In addition, we are the first GDS less sites.....expedia.com, etc...all have relationships with middlemen (aka 'affiliates' sometimes) even though expedia.com has its own affiliates.....So I could easily argue we are much more unique and less of an affiliate site than expedia.

I guess the question I still don't understand and follows your response is:
why are expedia, travelocity, and priceline allowed in the directory since they actually do not own any hotels, car rental locations, or airlines? They are affiliates of Marriot, Hertz, Thrifty, etc....(I could get into the details of our differences here that would show we have no middlemen while they have many)

Of course, if you think any other car rental site serves their customers better than ours...please let me know! regardless of dmoz, we are a growing site and I'm mainly concerned at having the best car rental site on the net.....not who wants to link to us and who doesn't...so any site comments are appreciated.

9:32 pm on Mar 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

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It is hard to tell the difference between a "consolidator" and an "affiliate doorway spammer" just by looking at the website -- which is, of course, just what ODP editors do.

In fact, I know that some of the affiliate doorway spammers are calling themselves "consolidators" now. To all you real consolidators out there (and I do assume there are some, even if I can't recognize them) -- sorry, man, the spammers have trashed your industry. And it may be beyond the ODP editorial community's ability to restore it. If we can't see something unique in a WEBSITE, we don't list it. Sometimes we can't see it because it isn't there; sometimes we can't see it because Mt. Spammer spewed molten lava 90 feet deep over it. The practical results are the same: everybody loses.

10:00 pm on Mar 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

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why are expedia, travelocity, and priceline allowed in the directory since they actually do not own any hotels, car rental locations, or airlines?

Can you imagine the ODP without them? A surfer browsing the ODP directory or any other directory for that matter, looking for travel sites will expect to see expedia, travelocity etc...

10:02 pm on Mar 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Not to be disrespectful (we do get ALL of our sites listed in ODP, after all)... just a question:

Is it still worth all the fuss many go through to GET an ODP listing? I know we rarely get traffic directly from it, and am not sure we get very much indirectly (unless it somehow inflates our rating on Google, etc). For my part, I rarely use it anymore -- it frequently tells me it's experiencing a heavy load of traffic. . . check back later. (I usually don't!)

10:41 pm on Mar 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

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A surfer browsing the ODP directory or any other directory for that matter, looking for travel sites will expect to see expedia, travelocity etc...
I agree. Hopefully soon, <url removed see tos #13 [webmasterworld.com]> will be among the sites that users expect to see. What do you think we have to do to reach this point? (outside of getting into dmoz :) ) I suppose a Super Bowl ad woud be nice. Maybe that will get their attention :) Our site's growth has been more like google's - word of mouth...

To all you real consolidators out there (and I do assume there are some, even if I can't recognize them) -- sorry, man, the spammers have trashed your industry. And it may be beyond the ODP editorial community's ability to restore it.
Hmm....maybe this should be the topic. I'm sick of paying the price for all these shady people out there. My partner and I built this business from scratch and we are paying for other people's mistakes and deviousness.

If we can't see something unique in a WEBSITE, we don't list it.

For the travel industry, uniqueness does not got you more business. To make headway in the travel business you need 1) Better Rates 2) Ease of Use 3) Quality Product 4) Good Marketing. We are constantly trying to improve our site ....any ideas on how to make our site even more unique...please let us know......just no burning flames and crazy spinning logos :) We tried to employ the google KISS strategy (Keep It Simple Stupid!)...This works well for getting rentals and keeping customers happy which is, after all, our business. We do actually have more things coming down the pipe that we consider unique, but I can't announce them here :)

[edited by: skibum at 3:26 pm (utc) on April 1, 2005]

3:11 pm on Apr 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

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>Is it still worth all the fuss many go through to GET an ODP listing?

Oh, absolutely not. Generally speaking, sites who could get an ODP listing, rarely go to much fuss. The real fussbudgets are sites that never would be listed. It's not QUITE a perfect rule, but it's a more accurate predictor than anything your local weatherman uses.

And ... the fuss is never productive and usually counterproductive. Submit once (or twice, do something constructive for six months, submit again, go on with your life. It's worth that. And nothing more is worth anything at all.

4:10 pm on Apr 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

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>Is it still worth all the fuss many go through to GET an ODP listing?

It is tough to say. The problem arises when competitor sites (even sites that should not be competitors, because they are scammers or repackaged BS) are on there and you are not. So is it important to get in ODP....If you are not on an equal playing with your competitors, then you are hurting. So, one could say that it's not important to be on there, but if other sites on there are similar (or worse) than yours, you are at a disadvantage..... This is not a philosophy for DMOZ...it's just that's the way business is....the little things can add up.

For us...in dmoz's car rental consolidator page...there are only two sites that I consider real competitors to my company. The others are benefiting from being listed next to them and I'm hurting for being non-existant....I would be fine if they got rid of the category, or just rotated people in and out to level the playing field.

11:32 pm on Apr 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

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>I would be fine if they got rid of the category, or just rotated people in and out to level the playing field.

The ODP methods and attitudes are geared towards providing the most efficient ways of editors providing services to surfers. Well, the latter obviously doesn't do that. And the former -- so long as the category as it is, is of any value to surfers, that's also a non-starter.

Now, if I understand you correctly, you'd agree with me that most of the car rental portals are pure affiliate spam. And ... this is the problem, because editors generally prefer to edit in categories where reviewing sites lets you discover of unique content and list more sites. That's perfectly human -- do you, after all, choose to spend your time reading spam e-mail? -- or would you rather read mail from strangers who you think might have something worth saying?

This problem is not limited to car rental doorways. Hotel reservation and florist doorways are worse; many other categories are not much better. In fact, anywhere that the business of finding customers is separated from the business of serving customers, is likely to be in the same boat. To outsiders, editor effort will seem to be nil. From the inside, it is more likely limited to identifying such repeat spammers as can be easily identified (for the sake of sparing fellow editors the trouble of repeat identification), and leaving the other sites (which may STILL be 99% subtle spam) for later thorough review (perhaps years later.) And that may still be significant effort. (I keep a list of categories where I have processed thousands of submittals over several years, without seeing a single one that could be listed there. An outsider would see no change in years, but ... considerable work was done, and some sites did get listed _elsewhere_ as a result.)

4:34 pm on Apr 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

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> editors generally prefer to edit in categories where reviewing sites lets you discover of unique content and list more sites.

I certainly can understand that editing certain categories are more fun to edit than others and I have no doubt that many of the editors do a lot of work behind the scense. However, if certain categories are not going to be edited because they are not fun or too time consuming, perhaps they shouldn't exist or a new method of review should take place. I actually was always for some sort of fee to get fairly and openly reviewed. I know that some people think that fees would corrupt the system, however, the way I thought it should be done is that sites pay a fee and pick their favorite charity (there would need to be a set list of let's say 10 established charities). Then an editor can do the work and get credit for doing the work that allowed the fee to be transferred to the charity. So in addition to building the directory, the editors would be helping raise money for an established major charity. This way the editors had more incentive to do work, even that which is considered 'spam.'

To sum it up, I guess you are saying I shouldn't submit again and hopefully over several years an editor will realize that my site is not spam and it may be listed elsewhere? I hope you are right...because I'm spending too much time thinking about this :)

5:15 pm on Apr 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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If you're spending any time thinking about this, you're spending too much time.

It's clear that there are many different ideas about "what surfers want." (Some of them are pretty contemptuous of surfers, and if I were prone to characterize myself as a group member, I'd be mortally offended.)

But reality is, surfers are no more a monolithic group than Jews or Asians or farmers. Different approaches appeal to different persons.

The ODP has never been, in anyone's mind, the only approach to indexing or searching the web. Even at the beginning, it was clear enough that the majority of people would be using automated search indexes instead. And many people never grasp the concept of library card catalogs, which are no more complex than the ODP taxonomy.

The ODP is intended to be a _comprehensive_ _directory_ of _websites_ containing _information_. People who are looking for something else (and some people always are) won't be served by the ODP. And if you are trying to get the attention of those people, then the ODP is the most important place not to start, not to visit, not to end up at -- for all your website promotional needs. It would be a futile waste of time to try to get a listing -- and if you got it, a futile hope that it would bring you any of your kind of surfers.

3:12 pm on Apr 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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None the less, it comes down to that having other sites there and not ours is an endorsement of those sites over ours (even if it is a minor, non-traffic producing endorsement) and I want to make sure the editors see the site. Hopefully, one of them will eventually see my site through doing business with it and will take the time to give it a fair chance. I can't think of an obvious reason for them to keep it out for long.
5:51 pm on Apr 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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If it is still awaiting review then re-submitting it is a complete waste of your time, as it will still be waiting after you submit it again.

Resubmitting also resets the "last submission" date, so if someone were to look at the category next week, and if they decided to look at the oldest submissions first, then yours wouldn't be one that got looked at this time.

7:25 pm on Apr 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I think they had already decided not to include me last time......does that mean I should never resubmit again? ...Or will someday someone come across it and give it another chance?