Jun 5th 2008 12:25PM
DMOZ Turns 10
For the last several months, I've been reflecting on what the 10th anniversary of DMOZ actually means. DMOZ is fundamentally the same site it was in 1998. In the social media landscape we're the old timer's with wisdom and tons of life lessons learned. But is that to say its day has come and gone?
Absolutely not, and I don't just say that because I've spent the last nine of the past ten years keeping house. In part, I came to this conclusion because DMOZ growth has been unabated. The directory still gets an insane amount of submissions, editor applications and data usage. Its overall reach is unparalleled.
The relevancy of DMOZ 10 years later can be traced to its fiercely loyal and dedicated community of editors that has stayed true to the directory's roots and esprit de corps. This loosely organized global community of unpaid enthusiasts managed to collectively take DMOZ from a scrappy startup to a search industry institution. They have almost independently kept it relevant while its commercial counterparts drifted into obscurity or closed up altogether.
It is nothing short of historic that a collective group of volunteers could do this for 10 minutes much less 10 whole years. While the editors routinely get beat up by some industry illuminati for not being market focused, I hope that those folks can take a minute to collectively reflect on the tremendous amount of goodwill this group has shown to simply improve access to information over the web.
Over the years, DMOZ has been often duplicated but never replicated. Many initiatives have co-opted its model, while others have learned the lessons of DMOZ and built community based projects that ushered in the much ballyhooed social media revolution. Projects such as Wikipedia have traced their origins and influence to DMOZ.
Ten years ago, many people were skeptical that a community managed project could survive and become relevant. Ten years later, the DMOZ editors have proved that community managed projects weren't just a pipe dream, but the future of the Web.
But DMOZ hasn't been just about editing. It's been about connecting people from all walks of life. There's a DMOZ editor on every continent. The community represents many ethnic groups, nationalities speaking over 80 languages. Gatherings worldwide of DMOZ editors have taken place, some resulting in marriages and life-long friendships.
The past of DMOZ is full of myths, legends, drama, trauma, successes and failures, all of which help shape its future as social media's Grand Dame.
The tenth anniversary of DMOZ ushers in a new era that will bring in new and exciting changes later this summer.
In keeping with the successes of the past 10 years, the future of DMOZ is as an information provider rather than a destination site. We will be enhancing to service to become more of a 21st century web service and simplify the integration of DMOZ data in other resources and applications, by creating "mashups". For example if you maintain an informational site about gardening, you can use DMOZ to get you a list of hand-picked gardening sites to point your readers too, or if you are a hockey fan you can make a little widget on your blog to show hockey clubs in your local region. Stay tuned and please share your feedback here on the blog. We'll be sharing more information here in the next month or so and appreciate your thoughts.
Thank you to all DMOZ editors past and present for making this project a success. You've touched and made a difference in countless lives, and I'm certain more to come in the future.
Bob Keating, Managing Editor ODP