Former Dmoz Editor: Corruption Was Caught Quickly

Dmoz Had Supervision by "Very Suspicious" Editors

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We ran a story recently asking if Dmoz will continue to have a place in search. We received (and still are receiving) a great deal of comments on the article, or rather on Dmoz in general. Words like "corruption" and "corrupt" were used numerous times in describing the editorial process behind the Open Directory Project.

A few samples of comments we received about this:

"I have actually personally heard from someone who has bribed the editors multiple times to get listed with great-quick results."

"Why do we need a search-engine trusted directory that only contains sites within three degrees of the corrupt circle of editors?"

"If Google were to publicly state that they are no longer taking account of DMOZ, because:

1) It does not accurately include even a representative subset of the wealth of quality information on the Web
2) Allegations of corruption
3) Lethargy and languorous posting policies and procedures then DMOZ would disappear overnight."

Former Editor’s Take on the Corruption

M.J. Taylor, who is a moderator in our WebProWorld forum says she used to be a DMOZ editor. She addressed such corruption in a thread, and being how this is such a popular topic of discussion for our readers, I thought her two cents would be worth sharing here as well. She writes:

MJ Taylor I can tell you why some websites got nixed in my categories. Sites that were very low quality, perhaps still under construction, for example, didn’t get listed. Sites that were second sites for the same business didn’t get listed. Affiliate sites were deleted.

Otherwise, it was rare for me to not include a site. It had to be pretty low quality. I did often change the suggested title and description dramatically to be in alignment with the editorial guidelines, but most sites were accepted.

Editors were very closely watched. I really find all the tales of corruption to be far fetched, as there was a great deal of supervision by very suspicious superior editors. I’m not saying there wasn’t corruption; I’m saying it got caught quickly.

Taylor says she was an editor for a few years and understands a little of the inside workings. For this reason, she says, maybe she finds it "easier to relax" because she knows "it isn’t personal."

What do you think? Comment here, or
join the conversation at WebProWorld.

Former Dmoz Editor: Corruption Was Caught Quickly
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  • http://www.sunderlandfilms.com John

    The corruption in dmoz is real, just look around any SEO forum and you will find Dmoz mods selling fast listing.

    • Guest

      Please show us these threads.

  • http://in.linkedin.com/in/pradeepchauhanseoexpert Pradeep Chauhan

    I Don think its possible. Dmoz has alaredy very very choosi about listing the website. Each and every listing is watched carefully

    I have submitted lots of site maximum are listed. but some sites i really fed up:( tried a lot..but still there is no coruuption…. :)

  • http://www.metsocrusherspares.com Don Logon

    I’ve been submitting sites to DMOZ for 10 years and have yet to get any site included. That’s about 50 sites I’d guess and 80% of those were submitted to the correct, most relevant category.

    It’s a shockingly closed process, you don’t hear if you’re added or if you’re not.

    Let’s face it, it’s crap and always has been.

  • http://www.trafficflowseo.com ChrisW

    All you have to do is look at Freelancer.com to see how it is playing out – you can check out a list of of DMOZ services just by doing a search for ‘DMOZ’ here – http://www.freelancer.com/projects/search.php

    • http://makrhod.blogspot.com/ makrhod

      ChrisW’s post is a well-worn refrain, but unfortunately makes no sense at all.

      1. The fact that some people try to pay for something which is free should be enough reason to ignore them.

      2. In any case, there are widely publicised warnings that anyone who even *tries* to bribe an editor is very likely to have *all* their sites banned or removed from the directory. Surely no sensible person would risk that?

      3. Finally, volunteer editors who ask for payment, or who accept any such offer, find their accounts promptly closed, so they are consequently unable to fulfil any promise they have made to the webmaster.

      Those are just three of the reasons why ChrisW’s “evidence” can be disregarded.
      For more detailed analysis of tiresome ODP corruption claims, see http://makrhod.blogspot.com/2009/05/dmoz-editor-corruption-shock.html

      • Guest

        They don’t let the world know their identity and editor account…thats kept secret. These services are anonymous and based on REPUTATION in black hat circles. You get on dmoz but you don’t control where. If it gets found out it looks like a mistake… a proper link in the wrong place. Half the time the editor account itself is hacked and the editor doesn’t even know it is happening.

        Your belief that the rules prevent abuse is absurd and terribly mistaken. You clearly have no understanding of what you are up against.

  • Guest

    that is all

    • Guest

      That is good. It shows that editors do not get a prefered position. Their websites will have to wait just as all other websites.

    • http://assetebooks.com Thomas Retterbush

      Are you serious? You are a Dmoz editor, but can’t get listed? Somebody there must not like you… Can you get my http://assetebooks.com listed? Haha.

  • http://www.deanslawdictionary.com Owen

    We can’t get listed on DMOZ. We are www.deanslawdictionary.com

    We tried 3 times. We are legitimate and have a great product and site. We even created a free access site and we can’t get listed after the moron who controls our listing area lectured us on how the web is free.

    We creaetd a free access link to one definition at a time and created a 3 free day trial and we can’t get listed but every lame ass ancient and worthless product in the world that promotes commercial sites is listed.

    If you create a 500 word dictionary with terrible definitions and make it free or use an ancient dictionary that is of no value and then use either of them as a shill site for click on links it will get in DMOZ.

    Google should be ashamed of using them. Giving indirect power to impotent little geeks is never a good idea. They are not only corrupt they are incompetent and worst of all arrogant and pretentious.

  • http://www.dominican-republic.de Dirk

    I know several categories with a similar topic, who are in a particular hand of an editor. If you look at these domains listed in this category looks at times exactly, one can see that the domains listed include the editor himself, or he is the webmaster, programmer or a good friend. It’s like a bond. A competitor is not even listed, or if like us, 6 years were listed, they will simply be removed from the listing. It is not only to corruption, no it is a network set up in which only the domains listed belong to the circle of friends! The trouble is, these corrupt editors to broaden their field more and thus have more and more power!

    I say this because I made a message to the editor of the main category and had to find that it is the same or a person who in this corrupt network (this category) is also a member.

    All the worse it is when all this is Google, despite the known, valued at DMOZ, these backlinks can be as strong or tiling in the calculation of the PageRank or SERPs.

  • http://www.PjDesignsAndConcepts.com Cheap Web Designs

    I want to give me two cents as well. Just because your website didnt get listed dont get mad. One shall not blame others for their own mistakes.

    • Guest

      Weak… weak as water… The volume of spelling and grammar issues in the DMOZ listings is proof enough that that the editor guidelines are clearly not being enforced and haven’t been for years… If a site cant be listed in its category then the directory is corrupt. End of story… Yahoo did it right by solving quality with New and Cool and Hot snipes and sort by popularity or alphabetically then paginate… it allows space for everyone… the fact that most MIDI sites in the directory are OLD and some of the actual webpages involving the formal specification still aren’t included is absurd.

      DMOZ is a piece of shit directory and its only value to the public is SEO boost…

      • http://assetebooks.com Guest

        Why must you insult others? He has his opinion, so why do you cut him down for it?

        And just because you don’t like DMOZ, dosn’t make it a bad directory; it just makes you think it’s a bad directory. And if there weren’t millions of people who didn’t agree that it isn’t a good directory, it wouldn’t have won the many awards it has won for being the BEST directory. In fact, it would be around at all.

        So if you don’t have anything good to say about something or somebody, unless it will help matters, why don’t you just keep your negative, bs to yourself.

  • http://www.ssrichardmontgomery.com ron

    I don’t know if all this corruption stuff is true or not, & as a none profit site cant afford (grin) or even think of trying to bribe anybody.All I do know is that my site has top rating in every other major directory with keywords SS Richard Montgomery & nothing in DMOZ. maybe an upright honest editor reading this will change that.hopefully if they do to let me know as I don’t use it to search for anything or know anybody that does, & would probably not notice if were included anyway. I just use the great google…

  • http://www.wygk.com Bob Nicholson

    The thing that killed DMOZ is not corruption, but the cliques and bureaucracy that drove away editors.

    There are no longer editors for the great majority of categories, and the content on the site is long out of date. DMOZ has no relevance to search.

  • http://flagler-estates.com/news/index.php Guest


    and a couple of dozen other similar community oriented sites I host never made it in the directory! There is nothing wrong or improper in any of these sites as they are community based type Portal sites.

    If DMOZ is not accepting such sites then there is little need or use for it to be around any longer.

    • http://assetebooks.com Guest

      I believe one of the reasons the site you named didn’t get listed is, they will only accept domains, not subdomains and/or php addresses.

      Were the other sites you submitted subdomains? If so, ther is your answer as to why they weren’t accepted. You may try re-submitting with your main damain name (address), which ends in .com or .org, but nothing after that.

      You probably know all this, so please don’t think I’m preaching. Just trrying to help.

  • Guest

    Let’s be honest… if you are in the DMOZ (Dmafia) directory, it’s because you were submitted early in the launch years ago – or else you are greasing palms of the Dmaffia today. I have submitted my site numerous times over the years, and I am still not in the directory. I have number one ranking on Google, MSN, and Yahoo (yes… all three!!) for my top two keywords – but I still am not in the DMOZ. It’s nice to know that even with the obvious corruption, that you can still achieve top results in the search engines with out them.

  • http://geekyfaust.info Faust

    how would dmoz catch such offender on the allegations of corruption?

  • http://geekyfaust.info Faust

    Even as I think that site being submitted are relevant to some categories I find it quite hard to please dmoz.. end up spamming the site over and over again.

  • http://www.sytropin.com Monty

    If she finds these allegations unlikely, than she doesn’t look very hard. I own sites that are not under construction, not affiliate sites, etc and that have plenty of content and rank Top-20 in Google and Yahoo for single-word phrases, yet I’ve been submitting them faithfully every year or so to the appropriate DMOZ category FOR OVER 7 YEARS!! with still no result, answer, or inclusion. In looking at the (competitor) sites that do achieve rankings, its pretty obvious (since they are all associated with the same company), who is buttering that editor’s bread.

    Its a shame, because I know first-hand some editors at DMOZ do their job honestly and competently, but the luck of the draw means that some categories suffer due to either laziness, incompetence, or just plain corruption of the “editor” overseeing entry into that particular category.

  • http://www.cybertopcops.com Coenraad

    If I ever read another article about “Is DMOZ still relevant”, I’m gonna puke! DMOZ is a total waste of time and amounts to unnecessary levels of frustration for webmasters. Anyway, who uses DMOZ to find information on the web? The Web can manage without it! DMOZ is a worn out topic, so please find something else to write about!!!

  • http://www.seotheeasyway.com SEOtheEasyWay

    Thanks for the article. I think the reality is that when you are running an operation as large as DMOZ, things are going to happen. And of course, it only takes one rotten apple to get the ball rolling. If someone is engaging in less than ethical behavior, it’s usually discovered. Once it’s made public people can’t help but ask if this is happening on a larger scale. I think what made the issue even worse was the long waiting period after submission. You can see why thoughts of corruption ran wild.

  • Guest

    Bull Farking Shiat

  • http://www.horizoncottages.co.za Capetown Holidays

    M.J Taylor says that only poor quality websites are not listed- which is junk! Our self catering accommodation in Cape Town has a good website with above average Alexa ranking ad Google page rank, yet several attempts to list with DMOZ have been ignored. We are not ascribing this to corruption, but it refutes what she says about DMOZ.

  • http://www.marangushuttles.com Wilfred Makori

    Hi Editors,

    I have tried many times afte a period of 8 months now about 3 yeas but have never got a chance to be listed in Open directory.
    please advise.

    I think its not because of what am reading but I think is because of lots of site submitted to you.
    Wilfred Makori
    owner and manager

  • http://www.prVacationRental.com joei

    I have a website http://www.prVacationRental.com, that I have been trying to get listed for 2 years..for a vacation rental in puerto rico, there are many that have been listed since mine. I have went to diff editors in diff categories, and they said there isnt enough editors to go around. I understand that and maybe paying someone off would get you listed faster…but, how can some be listed after me that I have been trying for years…Did everyone give up the Motts..

  • http://assetebooks.com Thomas Retterbush

    I am sure there is corruption within Dmoz. There is corruption as well as error within anything managed by human beings.

    For example, with Dmoz, I was told by someone I know who is an editor, that if you want to be included in their directory, it is easies if you start with something regional, even local.

    If you really want inclusion for your website, you just need to become an editor yourself. And again, it’s easiest to start at a regional, better yet a local level.

    But overall, Dmoz is still a professionally run directory. In many ways more so than all Google, Yahoo or Bing.

  • Guest

    There most certainly is corruption in dmoz, most notably in any category where there is a potential to make a nice sum of money. Gambling categories for example are full of fraud!

  • http://www.flirtbox.co.uk Toby

    My dating site www.flirtbox.co.uk – one of the biggest in the UK has been removed and never been listed on DMOZ! This is due to corruption on DMOZ. So when you look on Alexa for the biggest dating sites in the UK you won’t see it because the DMOZ editor has removed the listing – which has been there for several years. Trying to complain only lead to my account on the resource zone to be blocked. This is ridiculous. If you want to check the quality of a websites directory look in the dating section for flirtbox – if it is not listed, the directory is useless!

  • http://www.ph-creative.com Matt

    Every business will have an element of corruption, but it’s how the company deals with it that counts.


    Our Facebook page can help you with your website conversion. We compiled the best posts on the net into our facebook page http://www.facebook.com/HowToGenerateMoreBusinessOnline

  • Guest

    I can vouchsafe that there is obvious corruption at DMOZ, and on a grand scale. But you can only detect it when the sites being submitted have some commercial activity. It’s much more difficult to detect with regard to presentational sites, blogs, etc.
    An ex-colleague of mine has tried for over a year to list two recruitment sites for which he is responsible, for Switzerland (www.qual.ch) and for France (www.qual.fr).
    As they are multilingual sites, they can list in several relevant categories. The sites are very elegant, very user-friendly, practically ad-free, and manifestly superior to 90% percent of the sites listed in all the relevant categories for which he submitted the sites (sceptical, I checked myself).
    But after more than 15 months (he re-submitted every 2 months and tried different relevant categories) the sites are not listed.
    The reason, as many acquaintances in the SEO business confirm, is that the editors of those categories in which recruitment sites are listed, have vested commercial interests with some of the listed sites. I have no doubt that the same is true if you are trying to list an auction site, or some kind of store or anything of an e-commercial nature. It doesn’t matter how original your site, if it’s easier to use, if its got less ads, better products, or whatever.
    You will not get the site listed unless you find some DMOZ editor to pay off.
    When an SEO specialist suggested that option to my ex-colleague, he patently refused, for which he rose several notches in my esteem.

  • http://www.wespreadtheword.net Jason Cole

    While I will not say their is corruption I will say their is major infficiencies in DMOZ. I applied to be an editor and was told that I would need to find the smallest of the small categories to edit. The one I was wanting to edit I was told currently had no editor and hadn’t for several years, but was too much of a niche category. I was told I needed to find something smaller to start with, no suggestions were given. I would honestly say the site suffers from poor management over all.

  • Guest

    As an a former editor I can say with high degree of confidence that supervision of editors is mixed at best, editors outside of high profit and most non-English categories which rarely if ever see a meta or editall can do whatever they want as long as they don’t do anything stupid to draw meta attention to themselves.

    Stupid things means interacting in any kind of public forum under editor name and especially on DMOZ private editor forums since getting noticed by Meta = you are probably a corrupt editor in her/his eyes and you will be removed even if you have spotless recored. Most editors got nobody to cover their a** and DMOZ rules allow banning of anyone for anything without any real reason or even evidence and no defense is allowed since entire procedure is done in meta only forum, editor is found guilty and banned forever.

    Now you are wondering who is controlling Meta editors and preventing abuse in their ranks? Meta editors control themselves! Yep, that is right, in theory AOL should control them but AOL couldn’t care less and we all know how self-control works perfectly in a real world and we have DMOZ as proof that virtual world is no better.

    So in case your still wondering yes DMOZ is hopeless case with zero chance of recovery.

  • http://www.dodgyonlinecasinohistory.net DOCH

    I’m fighting a similar battle right now. I have more than enough information to raise eyebrows that all is not ok with the dmoz gambling categories. Not sure how other industries operate but unfortunately the online gaming industry is and always has been incestuous. Too many alliances with too many conflicts of interest, turn a blind eye and sweep questionably instances like gaming the dmoz categories under the proverbial carpet to protect their buddies!

    A friend and I have discovered an elaborate Link Wheel which not only links a large number of sites within the dmoz gambling categories (be this 1, 2, 3 way linking strategies) but also these sites give direct links back to more than one ODP editor of these gambling categories.

    Some people say have a Dmoz link is not worth it these days, it doesn’t hold much weight. Well one link ain’t going to have you zooming up the SERPS in Google. However, 20, 30+ sites all linking to each other – add in the ODP RDF dumps on literally 1000’s of sites all giving 1 way links back to this Link Wheel alliance. Yep that will blast you to the top of the SERPS in Google.

    The dmoz editor I called out on this ran to his solicitor and threatened me with legal action if I didn’t take down my blog post. This time round I’ve added facts and backed those up with proof – I’m not taking anything down this time round.

    • guest

      DOCH, I look forward to reading that article. I think a huge DMOZ devalue (of the site and the content of its feed) is overdue. DMOZ is pretty well corrupt top to bottom in virtually any category where money is to be made from being corrupt (ie all e-commerce, for example, with a prime example being online gambling as you mentioned above. It also extends IMO into nearly every other niche now where money changes hands online). It’s just too easy and obvious for that not to be the case – and in most categories, it’s always been the way. I’m sure there are true believers who are genuinely passionate about editing directories in the same way that there are true believers in anything – but most are true believers in the money DMOZ can, and does, make them. This corruption is not unique at all to DMOZ – it’s just infected DMOZ just as in inevitably infects almost everywhere there’s money. But DMOZ’s ridiculous nature of course (anonymity, no acountability, massive value in SERPS) makes it hilariously ripe for corruption – which if course, it is, throughout, and always has been. No DMOZ, you are not a “dedicated group of passionate volunteers who love to create and edit directories” and you never were, but that was an awesome cover story.

      I’ve seen similar corruption in DMOZ since I found out about it in 2000. The way that I found out about the directory was within the context of a very successful domain registration company – one of the three people there was a dmoz editor. He was very diligent within his category, where his domain registration’s rapidly-growing network of “affiliate sites” (lol) was warmly received and rapidly indexed. A lot of successful long-standing e-commerce sites and networks of sites have similar feel-good stories.

      I was an editor in the ODP for a short time in 2000 – I lost interest in the business I’d joined to promote (just like virtually every other person I’ve ever heard of who ever became an editor except for the vocal few, who are lying), and am of course now kicking myself, as I’m sure are many other former editors who’ve now realized what DMOZ is and was all along – a gold mine. And while when I joined I was all to happy to submit some high-quality websites on whatever it was that I found a lacking section on, my true editing interest lay in the same category as my commercial interest, just like pretty well everyone else who maintains exploitable categories.

      I kind of feel like the whole thing is hilarious, DMOZ might be one of the best scams of the Internet age. Also funny, though a bit more brutal, is that people have been saying this about DMOZ for years, and it’s always been true!

      All I can say is it would be fantastic to have DMOZ devalued entirely – both the directory itself, and its content… just run dupe content scans and things that are merely the DMOZ feed pass no value. Or at least make this true for any category that centers around money changing hands online. This would address a lot and harm virtually nobody except the people who currently profit from the corrupt status quo. But this would only address the current DMOZ problem, corruption online isn’t going anywhere by any means.

      • Andy

        What I find puzzling is that we all clearly see this corruption, yet Google continues to place worth on what we see as worthless. Why is that? Do they honestly not know or do they just not care? From my point of view, if Google would cease to value dmoz, the corruption would quickly disappear and the directory might have the opportunity to become half of what it has always strived to be.

        As it is right now, any category that has the potential to financially benefit the editor through a listing has been, is being, or will be abused in the future. Further the more there is to be made the greater that corruption will be. Anyone who claims that’s not the case either doesn’t know their asses from a hole in the ground or they are participating in the scam and that’s exactly what it is, it’s a scam.

        DOCH, there is no doubt some serious money to be made in those gambling categories; I’ve seen reports of some of those affiliates in that industry making 6-7 figures a month; and thus I have no doubt that they some of the most abused categories at dmoz. That being the assumed case dmoz must be dirty from the top down to let these issues persist for so long. Seriously, what other explanation could there be to ignore such activities?

        • http://www.dodgyonlinecasinohistory.net DOCH

          Hi Andy…What can I say both you and the person above you made so many valid points it begs reason why no one at the ODP or Google for that matter cares.

          Obviously this like others this bothers me too. Don’t know if I’m allowed to post this here but I opened a similar discussion over at a well know webmaster forum.

          A so called ODP editor claims it’s ok. He/she states it’s exactly how the category(s) edited by him/her are run.


          wheel claims to be a dmoz editor.

  • Guest

    “Former member of corrupt group denies corruption.”

    Well, yes.

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