Does DMOZ Have An Expiration Date?

    September 21, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

At least a forum or two around the net has sparked some interesting debate surrounding the open directory DMOZ, and one of the more recent and interesting questions is about how much longer the Web’s volunteer-run “historical monument” can survive without corporate funding.

“What is the future of DMOZ? Where is it going? Is it healthy? Could someone pull the plug on it at some time? Who would that someone be?” asks moderator Barry Welford at the Cre8asite forum.

DMOZ, an open directory project begun in 1998 as a wiki-style index of websites, eventually was bought and de facto orphaned by Time Warner’s AOL. With over 4.6 million websites indexed and monitored by over 69,000 editors (of which, between 9,000 and 10,000 are active), DMOZ serves as major source for Google, Yahoo!, and other search engines.

But what has many questioning the future of DMOZ is that, due to its purist philosophy, is strictly run without corporate aid, as Australian poster projectphp iterates.

“DMOZ, with absolutely no funding, will die at some point. Servers cost money, and since AOL pulled the plugthere is no revenue coming inSo, DMOZ must die in it [sic] current format,” said projectphp predicting the death of DMOZ in under a decade.

Barry Schwartz (aka rustybrick), editor at Search Engine Roundtable thinks the end of DMOZ would be a shame.

“I personally consider DMOZ to be a historical monument on the Web. To knock one down and let it rot, seems unethical to me,” said Schwartz.

But the notion of Google or Yahoo!, or other major entity swallowing up the directory or providing funding for it sparks debate as to labor law liabilities as well as potential conflicts of interests.

What do you think of the future of DMOZ? Discuss at WebProWorld.