All About Content

DMOZ Is in the Details

Posted by Melanie Phung on Saturday, December 31, 2005 at 8:33 pm

I have to declare that I have a new respect for DMOZ editors. It’s not obvious from the outside the amount of work an editor is expected to put into vetting every submission.

Not only do you have to make sure the submitted site actually fits into your category, but also that it isn’t a better fit in some other very similar category, already listed in DMOZ (only one listing in the Directory per site), using a vanity URL (or a mirror domain), or engagine in any black-hat tricks.

You check that the site is of sufficient quality, that it doesn’t suffer from an excess of broken links and that it isn’t stealing content from another site.

To verify legitimacy, you consider the site’s submission history (oh yeah, we know if you’ve resubmitted the same site to a new category every two weeks) and sometimes even check it out in The Way Back Machine to see if it has been around a while (or if a previously legit domain was recently acquired by spammers). Editors of the commercial categories also need to make sure the site isn’t an affiliate.

In addition to checking, approving, rewriting, moving or rejecting descriptions submitted by the public, you are also expected to go out and find sites that maybe aren’t being submitted, but belong in, any of your subcategories. You also need to go through sites that are already published in your category to make sure they are still legit. If you find any 404 errors, you need to make every effort to find an alternate source for the content that used to be there.

And then there’s creating, merging, deleting or crosslinking categories.

As you can imagine, it’s overwhelming for a newbie editor. Luckily there’s a strong community forum where you can post questions. It can be a really great meta-look at what’s happening on the Web. In one of the World sections, for example, there was very recently a thorough debate regarding where a site about the “fliegendes Spaghettimonster” (that would be the Flying Spaghetti Monster) belongs. Good arguments were made in favor of several subcats; I don’t know which was eventually chosen.

I just submitted this site for inclusion in the Directory. I’m hopeful my request won’t require as much debate. I submitted it to http://dmoz.org/Computers/Internet/Searching/Weblogs/ although there are also categories for /Computers/Internet/Searching/Search_Engines/Google/News_and_Media/Weblogs/
(which I thought was too Google-centric) and /Computers/Internet/Web_Design_and_Development/Promotion/Weblogs/ (which gives the impression that the content needed to be useful somehow).

But there isn’t an editor for this category. (You can tell because when the category has one, the editor is listed at the bottom of the page, with a link to the editor’s profile.) So I might be waiting a long time.

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Category: DMOZ

Quasi-Weekly List O’ Links to End the Year

Posted by Melanie Phung on Saturday, December 31, 2005 at 11:19 am

Every once in a while I clean up my backlog of things worth mentioning by just providing links to other articles. This list isn’t necessarily timely (i.e., this isn’t “this week’s top news”) but they’re interesting. In my opinion. For whatever that might be worth to you.

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Category: Uncategorized

Google Testing Nav Placement

Posted by Melanie Phung on Friday, December 30, 2005 at 5:14 pm

It’s always interesting to see examples of Google testing changes to the interface. Since only a very small percent of searchers are included in the tests, it’s rare that the average searcher notices the change. If Google ends up not liking the results, whatever it was they were testing just quietly disappears.

Today it’s reported that Google is playing with moving its navigation from the top of the results page to a column left of the results.

Hop on over to Blogoscoped for a screenshot of this latest Google test.

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Category: Google

New Strategies for Yahoo Advertising

Posted by Melanie Phung on Thursday, December 29, 2005 at 11:02 pm

Red Herring has an interesting article about Yahoo’s attempts to catch up in a market it helped to create: contextual online advertising. For example, Yahoo is actively reaching out to bloggers by giving them more control over what ads their readers see.

Yahoo needs more than innovative products; the proverbial middle child needs to step up its PR. As the article points out, “In many cases, Yahoo managed to launch key products before its rival [Google], which is located just a few miles away in Mountain View, California. But the media and the blogging communities have overlooked Yahoo’s innovation as soon as the search giant launches the same service.”

Aside: Something interesting that caught my attention about the Red Herring article doesn’t have anything to do with Yahoo advertising. It’s that the URL they use to point to it reads:
http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=15040&hed=Yahoo+Revamps+Search+Ads

But stripping away the stuff after the numerical article ID takes you to the same page no problem:
http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=15040

In fact, just adding gibberish to the end of the URL doesn’t break anything either. So it looks to me like Red Herring is just stuffing keywords into URLs for SEO purposes.

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Category: Contextual Ads

How Men and Women Use the Internet

Posted by Melanie Phung on Thursday, December 29, 2005 at 10:23 pm

The Pew Internet and American Life Project yesterday released its latest study. Apparently in Cyberspace, Mars and Venus are wedded to their gender roles. Jason Miller of WebProNews writes: “Women view the Internet as a place to extend, support, and nurture relationships and communities… Men are more likely to use the Internet to check the weather, get news, find do-it-yourself information, acquire sports scores and information…”

Other data from the report include:

  • 67% of the adult American population goes online, including 68% of men and 66% of women
  • 86% of women ages 18-29 are online, compared with 80% of men that age.
  • 34% of men 65 and older use the Internet, compared with 21% of women that age.
  • 62% of unmarried men compared with 56% of unmarried women go online
  • 75% of married women and 72% of married men go online
  • 61% of childless men compared with 57% of childless women go online
  • 81% of men with children and 80% of women with children go online.
  • 52% of men and 48% of women have high-speed connections at home
  • 94% of online women and 88% of online men use email

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Category: Uncategorized