MSN Testing DMOZ Descriptions


Via Rustybrick comes a WebmasterWorld thread showing MSN testing using DMOZ descriptions in their search results.

I have seen an increasingly large number of SEOs become perturbed at the low relevancy or low quality of the marketing message provided by their DMOZ descriptions. Is a DMOZ listing still worth getting? In what markets would you recommend getting it / avoiding it?



Should be shunned, not adopted, I have tales that could curl your hair about customers and my run-ins with various editors in DMOZ - it's pure evil.

Opens up a whole new can of

Opens up a whole new can of complaints from those with nothing better to whinge about, though:

The ODP is corrupt. I submitted twenty of my competitors' sites ten months ago and they still haven't listed any.

I applied to become a

I applied to become a corrupt editor but the already corrupt editors did not even bother to reply. Spent a good 20 mins on the submission too :)

To be fair to Aaron

To be fair to Aaron's foolhardy(?) attempt to have a reasoned debate on this issue, I think that in certain topics and areas an ODP listing can provide long-term value.

However, as some have indicated, it can be problematic for a new site with Google and for many - especially those who are involved in sales or marketing - the description means that the calculation may end up being negative.

That brings up an interesting point, since just as the ODP is not committed to reviewing submissions, it also has no interest in deleting or not listing sites. And why should it have, since any site is free to link to any site - unless it is linking to the interior pages of German news providers ;)

Problematic is an understatement

Any time you give people with conflicts of interests over a category then you have the opportunity for absolute power to corrupt absolutely and I can trot out a parade of people that have complained about this situation.

In a couple of cases that I'm aware of editors had to get removed just to get their ages old competitors listed.

Sorry, but I just can't be reasonable debating the debacle that is DMOZ.

I meant problematic

I meant problematic in the sense of potentially delaying ranking...

Worrying about DMOZ and

Worrying about DMOZ and ranting about them is so 2003.

To the issue: All links are nice, but DMOZ is not that important IMO.

Dmoz descriptions are not

Dmoz descriptions are not suitable for SERPs with the current guidelines.

SE listings based on ...

Search engine listings based on directory listings will always be problematic, in my view, simply because things change and it isn't always at all easy to get the directory to change them:

-- company name changes, incorporations, etc.
-- service/product additions

This is what titles and meta descriptions are for, whether or not they're used for ranking purposes.

I always get a bit uncomfortable when things move outside of the specs.


This gives us yet one more reason to recommend NOT submitting to DMOZ! :)

Absolute Power....

I've got a lot of sites in one category, its all I know about, and I applied to edit a section of that category. I recieved an incredibly rude email telling me not to waste their time and never to apply again. I was totally amazed and could only put it down to the fact that someone was worried that I might tread on their toes. That category is still without an editor and nothing has been added for several years.
A webdesigner pal of mine who is an ex-editor just phones one of his buddies and gets his sites in pronto...

This is a real problem for Google and MSN

DMOZ is dead - avoid it at all costs. Two cases in point: 1. Apptera a v-business company - as voice interactive business technology has evolved from IVR to Speech to v-business the company’s listings on google and MSN are still showing a DMOZ description from 2001 listing it as an IVR company. 2. Hiller Aviation museum - Another early description lists Hiller as “a general information site.” when Hiller has extensive background on California aviation history as well as tremendous community outreach through regular events with children participation. In both cases the listing is inaccurate and does a disservice to the public and prospective customers as well as the businesses. The only apparent method of editing these listings is to submit an url change request or register as an editor with DMOZ. I have submitted many url change requests and never gotten any response. I have filled out the ODP registration form and received an automated confirmation - returning the confirmation (required) comes back undeliverable.

The real problem here is that this DMOZ mess is being propped up by Google. Google and MSN are using these DMOZ descriptions in their natural search listings. Operating under the illusion that these ODP interpretations of site content are more relevant. Unfortunately a few hundred ODPs editing content at any time can never hope to update their claimed 5 million listings.

For legitimate companies who seek to inform and educate their audiences with new content, not to mention changes in technology and company direction these outdated DMOZ descriptions in Google or MSN natural search listings can be materially damaging to brand and reputation. Clearly the major search engines need to abandon DMOZ and use the automated bot crawls to retrieve the actual evolving descriptions on the websites themselves to maintain relevant content for their customers.

Dmoz descriptions hell

Actually the same happend for a client of mine. They had tried getting into Dmoz for years and then I tried submitting it with a very ODP-ish description and it got accepted, a good thing we thought.

But when we saw the description they had added the site with we got a shock, as the description said this was a Norwegian company. This is a company mostly marketing its services in the US and the description saying this was a Norwegian company made our signups from Google natural searches drop like a stone.

But what can you do? You cant fix it. You are stuck with it.

That's BECAUSE....

DMOZ IS CORRUPT and not too bright either

DMOZ descriptions in Google violate Freedom of Speech

Google pretends to be un unbiased search engine but assumes the right to describe sites, using DMOZ descriptions.

Two quotes from Google help pages:

- "Our intent is to represent the content of the internet fairly and accurately."
- "We're committed to providing thorough and unbiased search results for our users; therefore, we cannot participate in the practice of censorship."

Their use of DMOZ and other third party descriptions however, is censorship. As they use them without saying they do, it is also forgery.

DMOZ descriptions are often biased, wrong, stupid, harmful, incompetent, badly written, and sometimes malevolent. It's impossible to get them corrected. But even if a description is correct, it still violates freedom of speech. If it is your shop, it is your choice what is on the signboard. Everybody can say what they want about your shop. But they shouldn't say it on your signboard.

Google should at least enable a tag that prevents DMOZ and other third party descriptions from appearing in a search result.

Or they should make it clear that they do not just show what they found, but also label it.

I don't think it is accurate

I don't think it is accurate to describe the use of DMOZ descriptions as censorship.

DMOZ descriptions

If you were the editor of a category which happened to be the field in which you also marketed, what better way to sink the competetion than screwing up their description.

Censorship by Google

Describing Google as a censor is more accurate than many descriptions they give of sites you only asked them to search for.

This practice is worse than censorship, because they do this silently and anonymously. They overrule a site's owner description, passing off the new description as the real thing - they don't tell webmaster or user.

TimKrabbe said "Everybody

TimKrabbe said "Everybody can say what they want about your shop. But they shouldn't say it on your signboard."

I thoroughly agree with that statement - however, the Google search results are actually Google's signboard.

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