DMOZ Editors Taking Advantage of Google Loopholes

Source Title:
DMOZ Editors Taking Advantage of Google Loopholes
Story Text:

Randfish talks about some dirty tricks editors at DMOZ are trying to make some sites look better than others.

This editor's technique, as he controls some real estate categories at DMOZ, is to edit the titles and descriptions to be as bad as possible in terms of marketability

Since Google likes to use the DMOZ data instead of snippets in the SERPS this gives "selectively creative" DMOZ editors quite a bit of power don'cha think?



Dirty as the darkest depths of hades but in googles eyes angelic and more trustworthy than the site owners they list. Gotta laff. It's time Google ignored Dmoz, how can so many PHDs be so naive?

Not really news is it..

..this has been going on unchecked by DMOZ editors since Methuselah was a lad.

I always found it bloody annoying to read one Dmoz editor (who happened to own his own hotel) description of other hotels in his area.

Its quite subtle, but works well, for example describing a competitive hotel, which aims at the tourist market and is in a wonderfully scenic position, as being "ideally located close to the industrial park".

People like Google never really have taken aboard this form of corruption at DMOZ. Senior editors at DMOZ are unwilling, unable or unqualified to stamp it out. So it continues unchecked.

Randfish is right

this gives "selectively creative" DMOZ editors quite a bit of power don'cha think?

, but nothing will happen at DMOZ to correct it, after all why should they?


It's still amazes me how we are still thretting over this over-bloated directory that appears to no longer map the web instead is a pulpit for self-indulgence.

As it still plays an important role in some of our lives I think the only solution (off the top of my head IMO) is for DMOZ to automatically detect the meta-descriptions of all sites that are submitted and use the description and title for it's listings. When an editor modifies this to either correct any bullshit that has been thrown in there or correct it for the better then it will flag another editor for review. This may sound like it could lead to some very tiresome duplication but no, there are plenty of programs that can automate this process and that aid the manual inspection.

Anyone got a better idea outside of shutting the whole thing down and taking out the editors at dawn...?

Not a bad idea

The problem with that is that I expect the majority of the descriptions would require editing. After all, when I look at the tag, it's more often than not either a jumble of keywords, or something like "Buy from us! We totally rule!" or it's actually a good meta description, which means (to me) that it's got the page's main kw phrase and a call to action in it. None of those are the kind of thing a directory's going to want to use. And of course there are bound to be plenty that don't even have a meta description.


The simple solution is simply to remove the incentive. If Google & Yahoo! don't pull from DMOZ data anymore, there's no reason for editors to be messing with titles. Maybe next time someone hangs out with Matt, they can point this out to him. I'll be sure to mention it if I see him in Chicago.

NOT relevant

DMOZ is not relevant anymore. I have been waiting for years for just one listing to our site (in the home building industry) and have never received one response explaining why it has not been added. It's obvious the editors are corrupt.

DMOZ is a problem, not a resource

They have become increasingly insular in their attitudes toward their responsibilities to the Webmasters who list with them. I just don't recommend DMOZ listings to people any more. It's a bad neighborhood, in my opinion. And I would gladly give up my listings there, if I could, but they didn't even give me THAT satisfaction.


Take your site off-line (or redirect to something "bad") for a moment, and report it. What are the "responsibilities" of the dmoz editors BTW???

I agree that people shouldn't recommend submitting to dmoz for SEO purposes anymore...

"people shouldn't recommend submitting to dmoz for SEO"

Quite, but

1. Dmoz metas would argue that that is not the purpose of Dmoz. Their espoused aim is to build the ultimate index of the web (or something like that anyway)

2. Dmoz editors seem oblivious of the corruption going on under their noses - or they are so involved in the same that they do not wish that same corruption to be aired.

3. I guess their is no such thing as a free lunch - basically why would most people (but not all) wish to edit there unless there was some payback. Even though that payback can vary from controlling a whole country's sites like, say, Israel, to merely riding shotgun over a sad little site in Hicksville, Illinois.


You've nailed it cornwall - the editorship is in power because they applied to be there. Even if they didn't join to be malicious, the natural order of things is going to be folks who want to have influence and power and will do what they can to wield it.

Compare them to Wikipedia, where abuse gets nailed down quickly and the people are really there to contribute - why? Because there's no power struggle, no editors and metas, just people working together (granted with some guidelines, a clear goal, and some good leaders). Or Yahoo!'s directory, which is fully paid, editorially reviewed and far more accurate, fair and responsive. DMOZ was a great idea, done in by its structure.

Wikipedia, and abuse and corruption on the Web...

Compare them to Wikipedia, where abuse gets nailed down quickly and the people are really there to contribute - why? Because there's no power struggle, no editors and metas, just people working together (granted with some guidelines, a clear goal, and some good leaders).

Having gone through a very tedious experience at Wikipedia, I can assure you that it is abused on a daily basis by people who figure out ways to slide under the radar.

Wikipedia is the most susceptible Web resource, when it comes to abuse, because anyone can introduce changes. Yes, there are watchdogs who ban IP addresses, edit out the edits, etc., but Wikipedia is simply too big (and too slow -- I finally gave up trying to log in again) to keep up with the underhanded submissions that are not obvious nonsense, which is what most of the watchdogs spend their days deleting.

No system is perfect, but it can be reasonably assumed -- based on experience -- that any system which becomes large and popular will be abused and misused by as many people as can possibly figure out how to use it to their own advantage.

Wikipedia is right now being used for link spam, to spread misinformation about various topics, and to promote individuals' Web sites which are of no particular value to anyone other than their own authors.

The sooner Wikipedia vanishes from sight, the better-off an unsuspecting Web-surfing public will be.

Internet Marketing and DMOZ

It seems like every f*'ing editor is either oblivious or has now jumped on the i-marketing bandwagon after realizing the value (at one point) of their linking power. yuck.

Not that much better

The other free directories really suck to. JoeAnt is rife with jerks and snooty editors.

They threatened to not list my stuff because I actually read and followed their guidelines. That was particularly awesome.

I've just given up on anything that even hints of "FREE LISTINGS".

I must be in a minority

Most of the categories I am listed in are not very commercial and I've always gotten a good response. I just asked for an update to one listing and the change was approved in 24 hours.

Which listings, randfish?

I did a scan of the larger subcategories on -- an example randfish pointed to in his blog where the alleged manipulations are taking place. Quite surprisingly (to my eye), I couldn't find anything that might constitute corrupt editing -- at least nothing stood out. The titles and descriptions were actually quite bland. Which listings (or subcats) in particular are troublesome, or examples of dirty editing?


whether you like it or not in some areas of travel a dmoz listing makes a big difference to ranking in g - especially in smaller 'geographic' serps. Most of the dmoz cat's i track/need to put sites into (legit ones) are run by compeditors. It is clear as day and some cat's have been that way for over five years. If you get an entry in, the page title will usually be edited. All the while pages sitting in the top of dmoz get undeserved g rankings on juicy anchors. what gives. how could this system ever work?

I know of one particular travel spamess has a large site (that is still aff), yet she dominates some fairly decent terms on prime anchors in g, just because of a few prime dmoz listings here and there. i would have no problem if the site deserved to be there. fairly obvious when the anchor is '* accommodation'.

back one blue moon we actually had control of one of the more desirable pieces of dmoz (to us anyway), the cat never looked better. Later (the guy who was looking after actually died) someone got in there and deleted most of the listings leaving what they saw fit (read: their own sites, and those associated with them).

hehe that's where travel in my neck of the woods cracks me up. A few of them have 'secretly' rallied together and are all cloaking links at each other. I found a few nasty nests long ago, but lately they are getting greedy (and they will pay). Fuck em. I will keep on building and let them fuck it for themselves - I am too busy. One of them has all of his clients as sub domains on his main seo site. Makes me laugh everyday.

Yer and dmoz does not work properly. It is a dinosaur.

/ah that feels better/

and if google didn't source from it, how many editors would leav

Its interesting to wonder - in the unlikely event that Google stopped sourcing from DMOZ... how many editors would immediately quit? I do wonder what percentage it would be...

How much evidence does it take for Google to do something?

What about one of those online petitions or something similarly lame?

How many reports of abuse and so forth do google need before they don't use it as a source?

If any of my sites had issues with title/description tampering I would rather just have it removed, its only a PR 5/6 backlinks and I hardly see any genuine traffic from DMOZ whatsoever.

It's a shame as it could be a decent place, shame there isn't a decent 'semi-official' replacement

What evidence?

Google are not stupid --- I am sure they use DMOZ for good reasons (or they would have dropped it long ago). All I see in forums are whinges by webmasters about DMOZ not listing their sites or about non-specfic allegations without evidence from those with an axe to grind (eg they got caught spamming) (and trust me when I say I have investigated many of the so-called allegations of corruption posted in many forums) - webmasters are the very people that DMOZ is not made for, so what do you expect?. Randfish has not provided any evidence - several editors have looked at the allegations and nothing corrupt has been found - unless he can be more specific (don't forget he was an editor who got caught and was dumped and now is claiming to be an editor again using proxy's etc --- how corrupt and unethical is that? - now be has the audacity to make corrupt claims against DMOZ!!!) ... a quick investigation of his complaints by more than a few editors has shown the truth --- I guess the truth always ruins a good story. I guess the fantasies of many make more interesting reading on forums rather than the facts.

I have lost count how many times in the past few years that "online campaigns" have attempted to get Google to drop DMOZ - as they have not done so, its been a miserable failure. The end of DMOZ has been predicted so many times (in the meantime, it has not long surpassed 5 million sites listed - what other directory 'model' comes close to that?) ... Google are smart enough to see past the webmaster whinges, the disgruntled ex-editors and the non-specific allegations....and probably reach the conclusion that, while DMOZ is not perfect and there is probably corruption on such a small scale its not worth loosing sleep over, it provides a benefit to Google users.

Matthew i agree and disagree

I agree, I don't see the issues that Randfish is alleging either.


You also make some interesting points.

"DMOZ is not for webmasters" apprently it isn't for users either because I have NEVER gotten any traffic from their. In fact the only directory I have ever gotten real traffic from is JoeAnt.

So, using your points and my data, who does DMOZ serve ?

You have no users ( no traffic )
You don't serve webmasters ( your own admission )

So you have no customers, I guess DMOZ is pretty irrelevant then, wouldn't you agree ?

who does DMOZ serve?

Themselves. Its there for the self-aggrandisement of the editors.
OK, 'aggrandisement' is too strong. I mean it is purely there for the editors to feel good about themselves that they are doing a Good Thing on the web.
Sadly, they have no objective measures for this for them to have feedback on whether or not they achieve this. :(

I couldn't find anything either....

I looked and didn't see anything either. Now I didn't spend alot of time looking for I would like to know what categories this is happening in.

Try looking for obvious and then look for subtle !!!!

Trying to sit on the fence on this one but its hard to when you look into things a little more closely.... Have a look at this for an example,

Nothing obvious at first, but then take a look at some of the DMOZ titles. Notice the lack of spacing between key words on some entries yet on others they are spaced well?

Mistakes at submission by the site owners? Possible, but shouldnt the editor or editors deal with these submissions in a uniform and fair way according to the rules?

You would expect all entires to follow a similar style. Yet in this example we see titles with keywords spaced, some without spaces and even worse some with a .cc or .com on the end. Thought these DMOZ guys were supposed to be the "elite" and best of the best yet they are making simple mistakes like this?

Apply this to other catagories and you find even more problems, especially for competitive/money terms.

Something should be done by Google and DMOZ, why not allow Pagerank to pass through but not any keyword/anchor weight? DMOZ why do make yourself and easy target, why not be more open about problems??

I feel for anyone who is caught up in this mess, I really do!

Rand needs to clarify

Rand needs to clarify what he's talking about here. There have been numerous comments in this thread asking him too - so come on, let's HAVE IT.

Untill i hear from Rand, im going to close this one down - i dont think we need to become a dmoz abuse reporting site :) there are enough of those around!

Thanks everyone - if rand contacts me, i'll reopen.

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