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The Inappropriateness of DMOZ

A competitor is an editor...and my dmoz title keeps changing!

     
11:18 pm on Jun 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I have now seen my dmoz description change for the second time in the past year. It wouldn't be so bad except that the search engines follow for descriptions, etc.

For an industry that is supposedly based on complex formulas that can discern "best and most appropriate relevancy" for search terms...having dmoz editors providing descriptions is one of the most outrageous distortions possible.

It is more inappropriate when editorships fall under the hands of competitive forces.

It ends up being inappropriate for DMOZ and it ends up being more inappropriate for the Search Engines that copy DMOZ descriptions.

How can this be changed?

Dave

8:36 pm on July 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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>> Welcome to the land of corrupt dmoz editing <<

"The editor listed our site. We didn't want it to be in ODP."

Too funny.

4:48 pm on July 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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There are hundreds of sites listed in DMOZ that have "virtual tour" in their title, but on 5 occasions (via DMOZ forum) an editor has refused, point blank, to either (a) add that term to our title there (to show we are NOT a travel agent) and to match the homepage title, or (b) remove our listing altogether from DMOZ.

We are considering (a) refusing incoming visitors from DMOZ, or (b) pulling our entire website offline and getting a new domain for it.

Are there any other ways to De-List from DMOZ if their clubhouse doesn't want to let us get out of their prison?

5:15 pm on July 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Of course... you can just block the bot.

Wouldn't it be *very* disruptive to your site's traffic to shut it down and switch URL's? Or don't you have many incoming links?

5:40 pm on July 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I'm also rather curious... are you saying that you're getting a lot of inappropriate traffic from DMOZ that you don't want to have to deal with--people who are looking for travel agents, when you are not a travel agent?

Because if so, that sounds like a quality control issue. If that's truly what's going on, you can PM me the URL of the category in question and I'll bring it to the attention of an editor in that area for you. We don't want non-travel-agent sites sitting in a travel-agent category confusing people.

7:36 pm on July 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I think donelson's issue is already fixed.
8:50 pm on July 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Ok, good then. :-)
10:54 pm on July 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Sorry, I was away - my 14 year-old son woke up Monday morning with a migraine headache for the first time in his life, and is really suffering badly. Jeez it's bad when your kids are ill...

No, the issue is not resolved: EIGHT (count 'em) DMOZ editors have popped up with comments on the title of our website, with NONE of them answering the question:

Why are 50+ sites listed on DMOZ able to have "virtual tour" in their names, but NOT US?

So, because Google has sucked up a "bad name", we are considering (a) .htaccess or Javascript to deny entry to those coming from DMOZ, or (b) biting the bullet and just getting a new domain and moving everything over there.

Our AdSense revenues are down by over 60% since Google sucked up the 5 year-old DMOZ title, and we cannot sit idly by. We'd rather start over.

Our Taj site is wonderful: Content-rich, beautiful 360-degree panoramas, views from areas off-limits to the public, narrated slide shows, music, Flash animation. Great fun, and great resources. We even allow schools etc to download the FULL TEXT of every part of the tour as MS Word files, WITH PICTURES.

We cannot sit idly and watch DMOZ and Google conspire to cut our visitor rates by 75%.

We'd rather flush the URL and start over.

12:41 am on July 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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If you're just complaining because your site's ODP title doesn't have the keyword "virtual tour" in it, then no, you're not going to get anywhere. It's VERY much our policy not to add keywords to people's titles just because website owners request it. We'd end up with "Widgety Widgets from Best Widgets Ever -- Buy Our Widgets!" as the title of every site. :P

If your site is actually miscategorized--in other words, it's in a category for tour guides and you don't offer tour guide services at all but just provide online information--then that's a different story and one we will want to address.

If you think the link from the ODP is the reason your site's not doing so well lately, and you want to remove it from the index, I'd personally *really* recommend blocking the bot rather than changing URLs. If you change URLs, you'll mess up all your backlinks and you may wind up in the Google sandbox for new sites (it sounds like this is all about Google in the first place, right?) Blocking the bot will be harmless to the rest of your site.

Before you do that, though, I suggest asking in the Google forum about how to manipulate the Google snippet. The ODP title and description don't appear in all searches--to me it seems like Google usually uses them when it can't find an occurrence of the search term to make a snippet out of, but Google gurus probably know more about that than I do. You might be able to supersede the Google-directory quote if you gave the search engine a good snippet of the kind it's looking for, thus stopping your problem at the source (Google.)

12:50 am on July 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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If you think the link from the ODP is the reason your site's not doing so well lately, and you want to remove it from the index, I'd personally *really* recommend blocking the bot rather than changing URLs.

When you suggest blocking the bot, are you talking about adding a Disallow into robots.txt, or actually serving the bot an error 403 when it comes calling? Just curious. :)

1:54 am on July 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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...Er, Donelson, are you talking about the site in your profile? Because without getting into site specifics or anything, the ODP description of that particular site ALREADY INCLUDES THE EXACT PHRASE YOU WANTED IN IT; and so does the Google Directory's description of the site; and so does the Google result for the site when you search for the name of the location in question.

Of course, you still have the right to change your site to exclude DMOZ if you want to... but maybe you should be looking a little deeper into what else could be causing your Adsense problems? Because the "keyword1 keyword2" problem you're complaining about so bitterly--well, it doesn't exist. Google's serving that EXACT keyword phrase up in the description no matter what search term I use to bring your site up, and it does on its directory page, too.

5:12 am on July 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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donelson, you're absolutely right. You made suggestions, they were considered and rejected. And the editors did not and do not and will not answer to you.

And you have not and do not and won't ever have to answer to editors for what you do on your site.

And that is the way it should be, and the ODP community will enforce that. Editors that appear to be "easily pushed around" by fractious site owners, tend to get removed for abuse--because it doesn't matter whether corruption (money) is involved, the effects on the directory are indistinguishable (and intolerable, in either case).

5:43 am on July 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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editor has refused, point blank, to ... (b) remove our listing altogether from DMOZ.

And that is the way it should be, and the ODP community will enforce that.

(yes, I know I'm snipping outrageously)

But, surely, a website owner's request to be removed from the index should always be honoured?
If nothing else, as DMOZ is American-based, surely this could be a DMCA issue?

12:57 pm on July 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Technically, actually, any website can link to any other website they want. We have some porno sites linking to our children's educational site. There's no legal action to take about that. They're allowed to link to us (though I can't imagine why on earth they want to.)

But that's all irrelevant where the ODP is concerned, because it's easy enough for someone who genuinely controls a website to disallow the DMOZ bot access to it. I'm not an expert on such matters, but when I Googled about the topic the whole first page of SERPs was full of good sites explaining exactly how to filter out unwanted visitors.

In this SPECIFIC case, Googling the site in question makes it obvious that the keyword phrase is *clearly* visible not only on the ODP and the Google directory but also in all the Google SERP's, so it doesn't look like either the directory or the search engine could possibly be misleading anyone anyway. But it's a free country; go ahead and block DMOZ and get your site removed from the directory and see what happens. *shrug*

4:51 pm on July 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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>But, surely, a website owner's request to be removed from the index should always be honoured?

No, quite the contrary! It should never have any influence at all. Anybody, website owner or not, stands on exactly the same footing. Anybody can make a suggestion. (The ODP gets a few hundred good suggestions every day!) Every suggestion ought to stand on its own feet, with absolutely no consideration given to whoever made it.

There should be no privileged classes. Every person has the same right to set up his own website, therein to exercise whatever privileges he wants to exercise.

And this has nothing whatsoever to do with the DMCA. Your confusion is in thinking there is any part of anyone else's website on the ODP. All that is on the ODP is the ODP's own review and description, in its own words. The DMCA is totally irrelevant. All that is relevant is the ODP editor's constitutional (and inalienable) right to free speech.

11:06 pm on July 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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And this has nothing whatsoever to do with the DMCA. Your confusion is in thinking there is any part of anyone else's website on the ODP. All that is on the ODP is the ODP's own review and description, in its own words. The DMCA is totally irrelevant. All that is relevant is the ODP editor's constitutional (and inalienable) right to free speech.

Perhaps - I'm not American, so am only judging by hearsay of how this law can be used by people.
I thought the DMOZ rules were to quote the site title, and thus it would fall under DMCA, but perhaps that is too small, and you Americans still have a right to fair use? Not sure.

Anyway, in other news, searchenginewatch tells us that Google is now supporting the no-odp meta that MSN recently suggested.
[blog.searchenginewatch.com...]
This gives site-owners who don't have the access or skills to ban a bot an easy way to stop Google using the DMOZ title rather than their own selected one.

12:44 am on July 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It's kind of hard to keep people from using your name or title to refer to ... you.
2:05 am on July 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I think that's a good idea on Google's part. The ODP descriptions made sense back when there was a link to the category of the Google Directory the site was listed in, but without that information, I don't think the description is always so useful out of context.

I'm having trouble fathoming how a webmaster could "not have access" to blocking the ODP bot from his or her own site yet still "have access" to edit their robots tag for Google--how could you possibly get one without the other? But it's easy for me to see why someone might simultaneously want to keep their ODP listing but not have the ODP description on their search results, so that seems like a good solution on Google's part.

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