Rumor: Dmoz Selling To BOTW

    September 19, 2008

Jeremy Schoemaker, of the popular Shoemoney blog, posted that the owners of Best of the Web Directory are in talks to buy Dmoz from AOL and that a "deal could be reached fairly soon."

It is unknown whether a sale would change Google’s use of Dmoz for its own directory or would prompt Google to reconsider how much weight it gives the sites linked within Dmoz. For those who don’t know, Google is still relatively cozy with Dmoz in that it maintains a Google Directory that is a duplicate copy of the content. Dmoz also is still considered a great place for your site to be listed to gain premium Google link power that helps your PageRank.

Over the last year Google has made it clear they don’t like the selling of links from anywhere, especially directories. Google has also made clear that it considers the selling of inclusion in a directory tantamount to selling links. Many directories have experienced a severe lowering of their PageRank that have effectively made links (and inclusion) less valuable to potential buyers.

Since Dmoz is a free directory with moderators who decide whether a site is included or not, Google still gives their coveted Google juice to sites listed in Dmoz. 

A listing in is not free. It charges a hefty $249.99 review fee which is a prerequisite for inclusion. BOTW makes the point in bold font that their review for inclusion is not a guarantee of inclusion in their BOTW Submit Terms of Service. Apparently Google believes there is enough editorial value in these reviews because still has good PageRank within its categories.

However, Google has penalized many other directories that charge for inclusion reviews. Many website owners feel that even the appearance of selling links leads to PageRank reduction. BOTW is an old, established directory with lots of quality listings similar to Yahoo, which also sells inclusion reviews and suffers no repercussions from Google either.

A few questions …

– If BOTW buys Dmoz, will it merge the directories and charge for inclusion reviews?

– Will Google continue to mirror the Dmoz results for its directory?

– Will any of this impact the Google juice your sites get from Dmoz?

One thing is certain, the concept of volunteer editors that Dmoz uses is flawed. BOTW and its paid editors may be exactly what Dmoz needs to turn its quality around.