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How would a company like Yahoo, or AOL know if an editor did such a thing?
However, if you purchase services from a directory (such as the $300 review option from Yahoo) they will tell you what the results of your site review were.
The ODP, of course, doesn't sell review services, so the situation doesn't arise.
If a directory is free, you'll just have to accept their editorial standards even if they don't favor you(especially if it's a little niche directory with one creator.) Some of the larger free directories, like the ODP, have some oversight by senior editors that you can call on if your site has really been unfairly treated (i.e. deleted by an editor who's in competition with you,) but if you say that's what happened and when they look it isn't (i.e. your competitor was the one who listed the site but then a senior editor deleted it because they noticed it violated site guidelines,) they're just going to ignore your complaint.
I'm not exactly sure what guidelines or parameters directory editors use for allowing a site in, but it really would be nice if they based it on obvious factors.
For example, if you're working as a Yahoo directory editor and a website submission pops up on your screen, I'm thinking:
"Check the other major directories to see if it's been allowed...(Google, DMOZ, Alexa, whoever else...) If they allowed it, it can't be all that bad; check the site itself to see how relevant it is to the category it seeks to reside in; thoroughly check the site for content that is not racist, illegal, or jeopardizes someone's safety.
Of course, that's the simplistic view. I'm sure they have more guidelines than those.
But the fact is...
"If they allowed it, it can't be all that bad"
just ain't true.
And yes, looking at other directories, when you're already the largest directory, is definitely contra-indicated. My experience when mining Yahoo is ... that you can find which of THEIR sites shouldn't be listed, by seeing which of them AREN'T listed in the ODP.
So ... we just look at the site itself, and let the other directories be what they will.
"Check the other major directories to see if it's been allowed...(Google, DMOZ, Alexa, whoever else...)
Errr you just mentioned three sites that are all using the same data :)
Fundamentally, webmasters and editors look at their sites from very different perspectives. From the point of view of the webmaster, their site is a work of art, a deeply relevant and interesting site, and one that should definitely be listed. Editors are much more critical, and may view the site as being badly designed, lacking any interesting content and irrelevant.
Another typical webmaster/editor POV difference is that the webmaster things that their site should be listed because "it's just like several other sites that have already been listed". The editor will think that the site should NOT be listed for exactly the same reason.
Often this leads to accusations of bias and unfair play.. in reality, most of the time the problem is that the webmaster and editor see the site from a completely different perspective.