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Less ODP editors doesn't mean less quality


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#1 wobular

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Posted 09 June 2006 - 06:12 PM

<Moderator note: This post has been split from the ODP Statistics thread. BK>

It's interesting, in a way, that any mention of the ODP on any forum or blog aimed towards site "owners" or webmasters (or even seo-people) causes stress and, in some cases, bad feeling.

Sometimes I feel it may be better to step back and take a look from another angle. I know there are people who use the directory for its unique content - I have one sitting not far from me right now. These people seem to value the directory as a unique resource.

A unique resource. Yes, why not - it is in many ways and, I'm told, it contains links to vital information which is difficult, if not impossible, to find elsewhere.

So, where is the problem? The problem would seem to be with the statistics - less editors = less chance of your site being included. Maybe that's where the problem lies.

But you know, as do I, that statistics prove a point - any point you care to choose in order to interpret them.

A loss of editors can be seen as bad - in some cases it is bad.

But which editors - in general - are leaving? Those who have, in the past, invested enormous amounts of their own time? Some, perhaps. Those who applied in order to get a listing for their own sites? More I would assume.

What is the percentage of quality editors amongst those who seem to be giving in? Very small I would think - and perhaps a kindly percentage of those leave becaus they have no other choice.

I agree with those who feel that the ODP is a valuable resource.

I feel for those who have not managed to have their sites included - if their sites are of a sufficient quality.

I would encourage anybody who values the ODP, who has the spare time (it won't necessarily take a lot,) and who enjoys a challenge to apply to be an editor.

You may an expert in, I don't know, space flight, but you may be very interested (all the same) in renovating old people - apply for the OAP renovation category and see how you like it - you can always take on more categories in the future.

I'd hate to see the ODP disapear.

Think of it more as a researcher's asset and less as a webmaster's freeby.

#2 Black_Knight

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Posted 09 June 2006 - 11:19 PM

For me, less chance of any site that is hard to find being found and listed in the ODP obviously weakens the directory.

Sometimes I feel that the ODP was a huge experiment along the lines of the 'infinite monkeys at infinite typewriters' (supposed to produce the entire works of shakespeare just through sheer chance). The premise being that if you throw enough amatuers at building a directory, it would somewhere down the line cease to be an amatuerish directory.

As we have discussed before, at great length, the biggest problems with the ODP are its failures to listen (or even create a means to listen) to audience demand. The ODP has no clear picture of who it should serve, and ends up self-serving the editors themselves.

I suppose it roughly breaks down as follows:
Audience demands are ignored by editors.
Editor demands are ignored by Staff.
Staff are ignored by the world as irrelevant.

A few facts here - I have a little DMOZ editing experience, but from back before recent changes. I haven't submitted a site to DMOZ in a couple of years. For a couple of years before that, I haven't cared if anything I may have submitted (and I honestly can't recall when that last may have been) was actually accepted or not, except for what it says about the directory itself.

DMOZ/ODP is just something of a non-issue and non-entity for me. The Yahoo directory has far more users, and in my professional opinion, far more integrity and usefulness. For every user that ever arrived from DMOZ, on all the sites I have ever been involved with, there would be scores of referrals from Yahoo's directory, and other directories.

The web logs confirm my suspicion that the main usage of DMOZ is by DMOZ editors themselves - which we know is a shrinking and increasingly irrelevant audience. For actual usage, I have often found that the average person's amatuer homepage will send three times as much traffic as even a prominent and well described DMOZ listing will. That's straight up, no exageration.

#3 yannis

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Posted 10 June 2006 - 02:58 AM

It's interesting, in a way, that any mention of the ODP on any forum or blog aimed towards site "owners" or webmasters (or even seo-people) causes stress and, in some cases, bad feeling.


Although I do not necessarily agree fully with the above statement, it is a fact that most webmasters consider DMOZ a four letter word!

Personally I benefited from one listing, it that it saved me time from having to hunt links and submit to directories. A listing in ODP normally results to the site gaining quite a few links 'naturally'. I have put the word naturally in quotation marks as there is nothing natural about all these ODP mirrors as most of them are just chasing adsense cents and they are just padding up their sites.

Is there value in Directories? I personally think that if it was not for the search engines still considering links from directories valuable most of the Directories on the net would disappear. Good 'directories' for me are the links pages of a good webmaster that has carefully reviewed sites and placed the links there as a guidance to readers and yes these links will send some traffic.

DMOZ also suffers from a 90's design. It will take very little for some of the submittal process to be automated further, so that one can at least monitor the status of a site that has been submitted. It will also be nice if editors could add a note or two on their decision. Yes their decision can be final but this feedback might be valuable not only for the webmaster that took the trouble to submit the site but also to other webmasters that might be considering to submit.

There is no doubt that DMOZ needs a revamp. Website Hospital anyone?

#4 joedolson

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Posted 10 June 2006 - 03:24 AM

Although I do not necessarily agree fully with the above statement, it is a fact that most webmasters consider DMOZ a four letter word!


No, we consider it a four-letter acronym ;)

There is no doubt that DMOZ needs a revamp. Website Hospital anyone?


Now that would be a very interesting project. To me, the lack of monitoring ability is the biggest annoyance. I usually submit my sites to DMOZ, and then forget about it. If they go in; fine. I'm not concerned that this will hurt me. If they don't? Whatever. I can't be bothered to try and monitor them! The fact is that DMOZ provides no means whatsoever for the user/client to track whether anybody's doing their job. You don't even know for certain whether a given category HAS an active editor, or whether you're submitting your site into a languishing category to sit in a dusty pile of the last 7,000 submissions.

When an editor finally comes along, so many of those sites have passed into oblivion that they just delete the whole lot of them and start over. (This is my imagination speaking, no practical knowledge, here.)

It would be such a simple and effective change to provide these kinds of monitoring capabilities - to see whether a category had an editor, how many items were in the queue, whether your site had been rejected or just not dealt with yet - valuable information.

However, this would only be worth doing if the ODP also put a bit more effort into public relations. Their "open" mission has turned into obsession - rather than attempting to effectively communicate a set of goals and needs to the community, they simply shut back and try to remain aloof from the web world on the whole.

It is not effective for the DMOZ to try and stay on their pedestal. They need to actively re-address their commitment to building a directory and try and understand why their directory is(was) important. If they are not making themselves valuable to webmasters and users than their project has already failed.

As it stands, they seem to be dedicated to an idealized directory; but without a comprehensive enough infrastructure to actually create this. As a result, they are an anoyance instead of a resource.

#5 yannis

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Posted 10 June 2006 - 03:33 AM

As very eloquently put by Black_Knight on the last post for this thread:

Basically, any editor coming to a webmaster forum and expecting content aimed at a knitting circle is in sore need of some sense. It would be amazingly self-evident that any such editors are really not perceptive enough to be trusted to ascertain what a site is about, what audience it serves, or to classify it correctly.

With that said, lets nail the lid down on this shambling carcass of a discussion before it bores the majority of our audience away. ODP editors can discuss this without any need to reach conclusion or progress (and indeed do), but our webmaster audience are a little more positive-result focussed.



:applause:

#6 bwelford

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Posted 10 June 2006 - 06:03 AM

DMOZ/ODP is the extreme example of a product-driven entity. You've just got to be customer-centric as Gerry McGovern has said so forcefully very recently.

#7 yannis

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Posted 10 June 2006 - 06:26 AM

Barry

Thanks for the link pointing to an excellent article. You are very correct to say that DMOZ is very product-driven.

I was captivated by this simple but yet so powerful statement:

Customer focus is the beginning, middle and end of a successful web strategy.


I Guess DMOZ will be reading ... Who moved my cheese... very soon!!

#8 wobular

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Posted 10 June 2006 - 03:04 PM

You see? It really is time to step back and take a look from a different position.

I feel "turned down site owners" hidden here someplace :)

Really, you should use dmoz as a user - it contains links to valuable information which is difficult to find elsewhere.

But this is not the main point of my post - which is an attempt to understand the statistics posted (I'd like to refer here to the poster - but my post seems to have been moved to its own area where it is now out of context - shame) - I am of the opinion that the statistics - although worrying for those of us who care about the projject - are easily misinterpreted.

I would prefer people who care to be encouraged rather than disuaded by comments of the kind we so often see.

Ah well, I tried.

"No point in trying to convert the lost" as the saying goes

:D

#9 Black_Knight

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Posted 10 June 2006 - 07:10 PM

So, let's see if I have this corectly.

You post this DMOZ promotional post going back to the age-old and completely illusory dichotomy of "us and them", into a WEBMASTER forum, on a thread about ODP stats.

Then wonder why it doesn't make everyone instantly praise DMOZ?

We had this discussion. Many times. I never, ever, want to hear that total crap about all problems with DMOZ coming down to webmasters and site owners having the wrong idea/perspective again. Ever.

If you want to read that kind of nonsense then try the thread we mentioned at http://www.cre8asite...showtopic=20701

If you want to discuss how great DMOZ is, and how its only everyone else having it wrong that's the problem, try the DMOZ editor forum or somewhere equally isolated from the real world.

With that said, lets nail the lid down on this shambling carcass of a discussion before it bores the majority of our audience away. ODP editors can discuss this without any need to reach conclusion or progress (and indeed do), but our webmaster audience are a little more positive-result focussed.





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