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
As the numerous responses to my first post show, this is one of the most common and controversial questions asked about DMOZ.
To answer this question, it is important to consider what DMOZ isn't.
DMOZ is not set up as a listing service for site owners. Site submissions are only one source for finding quality sites to add to the directory. Some editors choose to review submissions while other editors might prefer to (at first) find sites on their own through search engines, as links from related sites, in newspapers, on television, on highway billboards, etc. So...there are no guarantees that once you submit your site it will be reviewed within a specific amount of time.
There are also a number of practical reasons it can take a while for a site to get listed in DMOZ:
The site is submitted to an incorrect category. Many sites are submitted to categories that are either too broad, too narrow, or unrelated to the content of the site being submitted. Most of the time, incorrectly submitted sites are sent to the appropriate category for review, but that will usually increase the amount of time that a site will ultimately wait for review. Submitting your site to the single most specific category relative to your site's content will significantly improve your chances of getting your site reviewed.
The site is submitted to the wrong language section of the directory. For example, non-English sites are frequently submitted to the English-language section of the directory. As with sites submitted to the wrong category, editors have to redirect these sites to the correct language, which can increase the amount of time that they will await review.
The submitted site does not meet submission or editorial guidelines for inclusion. Quite often people submit sites that are incomplete, don't contain enough content, or consist primarily of syndicated or mirrored content. Uniqueness of content is one of the most important factors editors consider when reviewing a site for inclusion.
The category has a backlog of submissions. This can result when the popularity of the topic, which may attract large numbers of both listable and unlistable sites, doesn't match the interests of active or prospective editors. Submitting to one of these categories may mean a longer wait. (That doesn't mean you should submit your site to the wrong category just because you think it doesn't have a backlog – deliberately submitting your site to the wrong category is never a good choice.)
URBAN LEGENDS ( i.e. popular & fictional reasons ) as to why a site does not gain acceptance into
The category editor is corrupt and/or a competitor is keeping the site from being listed. DMOZ regularly receives allegations of corruption and abuse through its public abuse reporting system. Each report is thoroughly investigated and crosschecked. Most of these claims turn out to be baseless. In the rare case where there may be some truth to the allegation, the matter is dealt with immediately.
No one is monitoring the category. While a few categories in DMOZ may not have a listed editor that doesn't mean there's no one minding the store. All editors listed higher in a category's hierarchy can and do edit subcategories. In addition, many editors have permissions to edit anywhere in the directory.
I'm certain there will be no shortage of comments to this post, but please consider the topics listed above and re-check your submission application again.
And if/when you do submit, please...please....please avoid any claims/jokes/sarcasm of offering money to get accepted into DMOZ. Editors apply zero sense of humor to these types of statements and it is a sure fire way to ensure your site does not gain entry. Ever.
One of my future posts will include best practice recommendations for suggesting sites to editors.
Managing Editor, DMOZ Staff
DMOZ is made up of thousands of passionate, volunteer category enthusiasts and experts from all over the world who donate their time to arrange their respective portion of the web. Thanks to their work, DMOZ is a starting place for browsing and searching the web. DMOZ data is also used by thousands of search engines and web portals to help people quickly and easily find information on the web.
To paraphrase Mark Twain, the rumors of DMOZ's death have been greatly exaggerated.
The editor community is very much alive and thriving. Thousands of new sites are added and updated every week, and we continue to receive hundreds of editor applications and suggested sites every day.
We thought now was the right time to open the door and start a conversation with the Web community about what's happening with the largest human-edited directory.
We intend to use this blog to:
- Provide authentic messages about DMOZ and the efforts of our volunteer community.
- Highlight enhancements, both current and future.
- Allow editors to showcase their categories and describe, in their own words, why DMOZ is so important.
- Recruit new editors. If you have access to the Web and are passionate about a category, find out how to apply.
Additionally we want to hear from you.
What do you think about DMOZ? Why do you use the directory or data? Is there something you would like to see fixed? When you've been around as long as we have, some people are bound to have great things to say, while others might have a few choice words based on their personal experience. Either way, we want to hear it :)
We plan on posting every week so grab the RSS feed or sign up for an e-mail alert to receive notification of new entries as they are posted.
Managing Editor, DMOZ Staff