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As I see it we have a problem from the DMOZ side in that their time is taken up weeding out submissions made in ignorance of guidelines, or masked submissions made undercover, or, allegedly, submissions which have been accepted in contravention of their guidelines.
From the point of view of non-shopping sites, their categories are often overflowing with suspect sites which leads to closure of the category (Hotels), long delays in review, and demotivation of editors.
From the point of view of affiliate sites or MLMs the restrictions are seen to be unfair as a) the original site is often listed and b) other affiliate sites have made it through the submission barrier (whether through corruption or other techniques like "bait-and-switch").
To start the ball rolling, what about having an Affiliate Sub-Category (like World or Regional)? Editors could be drawn from the many affiliate promoters bemoaning their fate outside DMOZ. And it would be possible to see if the argument that people want quick access to online points-of-sale actually is valid or exists only in the mind of salesmen (or -women).
It could be called the OAP ;)
I think the problem that would immediately crop up is "too easy to abuse".
There are many legit affiliates, one man virtual operations that use this associate program as an extra revenue generator.
How would you combat a company that has good resources and setups up 1000 sites with them being the affiliate just to increase exposure.
It seems the "one man operation" would again be the disadvantaged.
Now assume that the one of those sites runs an affiliate program. Each affiliate partner displays pictures of widgets of all colors on his site, with links to the retailers site. Would it benefit Joe Surfer if the category looked like this instead?
Of course, in reality all three retailers would have their own affiliate programs, which then causes the list to grow to several dozen entries. A small minority of those links lead the searcher directly to where he wants to go, all the others force him to jump through a few more hoops until he finally can buy his widget at one of the three sites who actually sell them.
Which arrangement would YOU prefer to see when you go out buying a widget?
In the meantime, others complain because some sites have managed to sneak in through using whatever means.
Given that affiliate or MLM representative sites will try to get into DMOZ no matter what the guidelines, would it not make practical sense to give them a separate area where they could go (and make it a lifetime ban if they try elsewhere)? Would that not alleviate some of the complaints from both inside (editors) and outside (affiliates, MLM representatives, and "innocents" caught in the queue)?
I point out direct violations of this policy and DMOZ refuses to remove the sites..is that ethical? is that moral?
The bottom line is once they DO know about their policy being abused and they refuse to remove the sites.
You also refuse to look at the larger picture..those sites are not JUST in DMOZ ..it gives them unfair advantage clear across the web ..in all the SE's that DMOZ feeds..
That IS serious..
Al you have to do is look around at other postings and realize how ticked off people are already at DMOZ ...
The only people defending DMOZ are editors and people with sites already in DMOZ..
Perhaps I need a more judicial audience ?
[edited by: NFFC at 4:55 pm (utc) on July 14, 2002]
I dont think the question is about fairness if their affiliates arent allowed..I think the problem as I have well stated is that the DMOZ policy says NO affiliate sites and yet..when you point flagrant abuses DMOZ refuses to remove the sites? The point of who is pointing it out should have NO bearing..it is a matter of DMOZ having the integrity to do the right thing... open the door or close it.. but certainly dont say..whoops they cheated and snuck in their sites so we are going to let them stay listed...where is the ethics in that ?
I wonder not only about the "fairness" but the legality of such practises.
kuja you said "Abuse research takes time" The editor that responded to me yesterday says 2 (and osometimes a 3rd) takes care of 2,700 sites in the visual arts cat...
When you browse DMOZ it is clear they are overwhelmed with work and underwhelemed with editors.
The reason IMO is the DMOZ model is inherently flawed..the very idea of giving 8,000 employees(err.. volunteers free rein is unsettling).
The reason IMO that DMOZ shows 50,000 editors (when in reality they have less than 8000) is that editors sign-up post their sites and are gone..that simple...
IF your policy is no affiliate sites then havethe integrity to at least remove the ones pointed out to you..
I have no problem with affiliate sites at DMOZ as long as they go inthe approprite Cat SHOPPING..
I do have a problem with DMOZ claiming they dont allow it(emailed response)..when in fact their site is littered with such sites .
DMOZ has a policy of NO affiliate sites.
Where did you come up with that. To quote from the ODP Guidelines [dmoz.org]:
A site that lists affiliate links in addition to other content (such as a fan site for a singer that has interviews and photos and links to buy the singer's CDs) might be an acceptable submission to the directory. Sites that consist primarily of links to buy books or CDs, etc. and/or provide no unique content are not appropriate for inclusion in the directory.
If you're even thinking about something like that, think again. You have exactly as much legal recourse in favour or against any specific listing in the ODP as I would have, if I wanted you to list a Jennifer Lopez poster on your site instead of the one about Britney Spears that you actually have there.
People who threaten legal action against the ODP or an indiviudual editor simply don't get it. Some of them may get it when they receive a response to that threat from the AOL/TimeWarner legal department, but most probably even won't when that happens.
From the ODP Guidelines [dmoz.org]:
"No site is guaranteed placement in the Open Directory"
From the Submission Guidelines [dmoz.org] (snippet appears in every submission form):
"We don't accept all sites, so please don't take it personally should your site not be accepted."
The sites would not need to be reviewed by editors, affiliates could simply go in and list their own sites. ODP data users could then choose (as they do with the rest of the directory) what to include and what not to include. Anyone with an affiliate program that did not get listed in another section of ODP could list their site there.
Affiliate sites get listed in ODP and editors don't have to mess with them. Problem solved.
Maybe ODP could setup one category Shopping/Affiliates/All/ ...
We tried the exact same thing with the MLM categories, but ultimately the consensus was reached to disband this category. These kinds of "ghettos" for sites we wouldn't list anywhere else, are a waste of editor manpower and ultimately don't add anything to the directory.
Would you rather have an editor spending time adding the 8000th travelnow.com or asiahotels.com affiliate to the directory, instead of listing good quality sites?
No one will ever perceive the system to be fair, but this way MLM and affiliate site owners that do not get listed in the regular editor compiled section of ODP would have a chance to maintain their own space and build up a directory of affiliate sites if they so desired.
I don't think it would turn out to be particularly useful to anyone and I doubt that Google or any other major search site would pick up the data, but if those with affiliate sites wanted to build their own section of ODP, why not. It could work.........or it could turn into one big FFA page.
What ODP *Does* list is sites with unique content. So some sites with affiliate links *do* get (proudly) listed, others, with a page of Amazon links, might not. And there's a load in between.
Suggesting we that ODP lists every affiliate "because some slip through", not really a solution - a better solution (in terms of level playing fields) would be to list none.
But *best* is to list those that are *useful to those using ODP* - and not the rest.
By some AMAZING coincidence, that is ODP policy.