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DMOZ Back Up, But Not Backed Up

Posted by Melanie Phung on Tuesday, December 26, 2006 at 11:51 am

I was finally able to log back into my DMOZ editor account after a major ODP hardware SNAFU and I noticed something interesting: Only one new entry in my subcategory. Why is this interesting? Because before the crash I had several pending entries in the queue. The one entry now awaiting approval (which, btw, was spam so I deleted it) was new. So basically if you submitted your site for inclusion in the Open Directory Project prior to the the crash, your application is gone and you’ll need to resubmit.

Resubmitting to ODP
If you submitted a few months ago (or longer), this development may actually be in your favor since odds are your site was already deleted from the queue or was languishing in that purgatory of sites that the editor wasn’t quite sure what to do with. Having to resubmit your site now, when there isn’t already an older application for that URL sitting in the queue, gives site owners a chance to make a more compelling case for why their site is worthy of inclusion — without the baggage of your previous failed attempts prejudicing the editor.

Key points to remember when submitting to DMOZ: 1) Be as conservative in your title and description as possible. You want to be objective and factual not promotional. Read the other descriptions in the category to get a feel for the editor’s style. 2) Submit to the right category or subcategory. The more specific the better. I can’t stress that enough. And don’t try submitting to multiple categories in the hopes that one editor is sloppier than another. Editors can see very easily when you do that, and we don’t like it.

And read the DMOZ guidelines carefully before you resubmit. A clean slate is a great opportunity — don’t blow it.

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Category: DMOZ

DMOZ Editor Login Broken?

Posted by Melanie Phung on Thursday, October 26, 2006 at 10:32 am

Anyone else having trouble logging in to their DMOZ editor dashboard? The ODP directory itself is live and running, but the editor login URL just returns a 404 Page Not Found.

I haven’t made any updates to my subcategory in a while and, as you know, DMOZ editors need to remain active or risk getting their editing “privileges” revoked. Oh well, I’ve already accomplished what I set out to accomplish by becoming an editor (which was to get my sites included … and although it was an uphill battle, it’s done), so I suppose it doesn’t matter anymore. The fact of the matter is that the Open Directory Project generates zero traffic and is highly overrated when it comes to SEO benefit (it ain’t the 90′s no more folks). It was simply a matter of principle.

In related news, in Tuesday’s search “weather report” Yahoo confirmed that it now officially supports the NOODP meta tag (as Google has been doing). The NOODP tag tells engines (those that support the standard) not to display the description written for your site by the ODP editors. That’s useful because the descriptions written by the ODP editors generally suck. There’s still no way to block Yahoo from displaying the Yahoo Directory descriptions in the SERPs, but those you write yourself when you submit your site for inclusion.

My question to you (besides “are you able to log in to DMOZ?”) is this: are directories at all relevant anymore?

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Category: DMOZ

ODP is Sorta-Kinda Down With Me

Posted by Melanie Phung on Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 12:45 am

When I posted on Blogoscoped on May 25, I didn’t see my site in the Google Directory (which is actually just the DMOZ Directory republished) so I assumed no progress had been made. It turns out that All About Content got listed on DMOZ last week (the DMOZ clones usually take a while to get up to date). Huzzah.

I submitted this site to be listed in the DMOZ Open Directory Project (ODP) on December 31. It took just shy of 5 months to get listed. And in the mean time it had been moved, and then even deleted from the queue for being a “duplicate entry.” (Which I’m assuming referred to my bookmarks — which make no sense, since that implies that one can’t bookmark sites that already exist in the Directory, and that bookmarking a site precludes it from ever getting added in the right category.) But apparently it got pulled back out of the trash heap, ‘cuz here I am, baby. Thank you kind category editor!

And I did it without submitting more than once or pestering the editor to change his/her mind.

The truth is that I never thought I had some God-given right to be listed, like so many people seem to. But from an inbound link perspective, it is pretty sweet. Not only is it a link from a high PR page, but it also gets you a bunch of lesser quality links from all the DMOZ clones for no effort at all. Is that worth a lot? No, but it might be worth a little, so why not. Just don’t start obsessing over it — keep in mind that a DMOZ listing isn’t going to drive traffic or help you convert visitors into buyers.

While I hate to say it, getting listed is much harder than staying listed. If you are into the black-hat thing, I’ll look away while you peruse this thread about purchasing expired DMOZ-listed domains for SEO purposes.

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Category: DMOZ,Navel-Gazing

Is ODP Down With Me?

Posted by Melanie Phung on Thursday, March 16, 2006 at 1:02 am

A couple of months ago I blogged about the quality standards DMOZ editors are expected to uphold. It painted the Open Directory Project in a pretty positive light, which at least one person took exception to. In fact, most marketers are frustrated with DMOZ (read: its editors) for having “huge egos” and entirely too much power.

I still intend to enumerate the problems I have with DMOZ and its processes, but that’s going to end up being a pretty long post actually.

So for now there’s just an update about this here site’s inclusion in the Directory: My site is still not listed, but last month my site was moved from the category to which I submitted (/Computers/Internet/Searching/Weblogs) to /Computers/Internet/Web_Design_and_Development/Promotion/Weblogs, where it sits unreviewed. I guess I could quibble and say that my blog is not about Web design promotion, but neither are most of the sites listed in that category. I’d be in good company if only my site ever gets reviewed and approved.

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Category: DMOZ

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