Home > websites > DMOZ, the Open Directory Project – Ever the best?

DMOZ, the Open Directory Project – Ever the best?

DMOZ.org, the Open Directory Project, has been around as far as I can ever remember. The site claims to have been around since 1998, and that is perfectly believable, of course.

Over the years, I have always noted, like many others, one thing in particular: how DMOZ (and the Yahoo! directory) defines search engine rankings for websites. It has never been at the top in traffic rankings themselves (running around the 2000th ranks), but a link to a site from them literally jump starts the traffic flow to that particular site.

Today, I was thinking about the possible reasons for that. For one, the directory is massive  – and human edited. That means that each link, if (usually) working, leads to a top notch, quality site. Moreover, the categorization helps. That means that if a seach engine, and majorly Google, finds a link to you there, that category of searches just jumps up for you. In other words, link gold.

Of course, getting the ODP people to accept your site is another story. The standards are sterling, and the waiting times equal to it.

But that was all from a webmaster’s perspective: what about the average user? Is it good idea to visit dmoz.org if you’re looking for a particular site? And that is where I must say: no. With Google or Wikipedia around, the ODP seems rather cumbersome. The internal search is just an eye shadow – the real strength of the ODP was its directory stucture, which in today’s connected age, is just plain old fashioned.

Looking at the Alexa rankings, one notices a definite downward tend in visitor frequency.

Not that the ODP is going anywhere soon – there is just too much accumulation of work in there. There is also the fact that the ODP has a dedicated volunteer base, much like the kind that Wikipedia has. Besides, DMOZ is one of the powerful sites that Google uses to determine search matches. Take away DMOZ, and I would love to see the differences in Google search results.

The point is that DMOZ is the best ever. But for how long can it maintain the stellar levels it has done so far? That is yet to be seen.

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  1. 4 October 2008 at 8:18 PM

    That Alexa site certainly tells a story, and as a long term volunteer, I certainly hope that the renewed interest from AOL in the official blog ( http://blog.dmoz.org/ ) means that the directory technology and usefulness will likewise improve. For example, the DMOZ search is many years old, and was designed primarily to help editors find suitable categories for misplaced sites, so there is no doubt that it is user-UNfriendly. Hopefully it is high on the list of promised improvements. 🙂

  2. 5 October 2008 at 5:44 PM

    @ makrhod: I am not, unfortunately, a volunteer, but I often find DMOZ valuable for my researches. I did read the story of AOL’s recent interest in DMOZ, and that is one of the reasons that prompted me to write out.
    Looking forward to a renewed structure!

  3. 14 October 2008 at 1:25 AM

    I realise that such a tip is not necessarily a ‘basic’ one, but it is a very important one

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