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Google and DMOZ (The Open Directory Project) – The Odd Couple of Internet Directory

Carl Chesal

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Google and DMOZ - Organizational Dichotomies in Partnership

In one corner you have Google – analytic, automated, user interactive, driven by rules-based mathematical algorithms, digital efficiency – trusted and respected.

In the other corner you have The Open Directory Project (DMOZ) – completely people-driven, uncommunicative, no rules, no feedback, inefficient, analog – not trusted.

It is like having Herman Hollerith's punch card system feed data into today's grid and super computing environment. It just DOES NOT COMPUTE! Stone Age meets the Digital Age.

So what is the relationship between this two unlikely partners?

Google commands the Worldwide Directory of Website Registration. But you cannot just add your Website to the Google Directory. Some time ago, someone at Google decided that if your website was listed in DMOZ (The Open Directory Project) then it was worthy of possible inclusion in the Google Directory. BTW Alexa also opts for this ‘good-enough-for DMOZ then-good-enough for-us’ approach.

The Open Directory Project has long been chastised for its troll-like gatekeeper presence when is comes to granting DMOZ directory status that feeds key global Internet Directories, like Google and Alexa. A completely volunteer organization, The Open Directory Project has received accusations of corruption, manipulation and incompetence when it comes to determining what domains get listed in the DMOZ directory. Some websites have been listed on DMOZ one day and then days later removed – with not even a simple explanation to why or why not. This is just basically WRONG!

The article, Ineffective DMOZ by Baron Turner (circa 2005), effectively articulates the wrongs of this volunteer organization.

Why has Google never intervened by advancing DMOZ from this highly suspect environment of an “all volunteer” editorial organization to a professional, accountable, semi-automated and communicative editorial organization? One of those web mysteries.

Example: Our organization has 8 commercial websites. In the last year only two of the eight websites have had the honor of getting listed on DMOZ. Why these two got accepted and the other six were rejected is the “sixty-four thousand dollar question”. Or were they rejected? No way of knowing. DMOZ has no feedback mechanism! There is no way of knowing if:
1. a submission request was actually received by one the DMOZ volunteer editors
2. if it is in the DMOZ queue for review or
3. if it was rejected by a DMOZ editor and WHY it was rejected!

The absence of ANY type of feedback mechanism as part of the DMOZ process is simply a broken customer management system. Each and every Webmaster that submits to the Open Directory Project is a DMOZ CUSTOMER! DMOZ offends its customers by showing disrespect to these webmaster and SEO professionals.

Google represents capitalism, competitiveness and dynamic change. DMOZ is too close to a a third world Dictatorship. The topic of this unlikely partnership could be material for a new Reality TV series. Wait! Maybe the Google-DMOZ Irony is material better suited for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart or The Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert.

In the 30 plus years in the High Tech Business, I have come to observe that the longer you have the same group of unaccountable people involved in a process, a process that is unchecked or not audited, then you will get laxness, arrogance and opportunity for corruption.

Maybe it is time for a Google REALITY CHECK on The Open Directory Project. Google has a responsibility to bring the now arcane processes of the DMOZ organization into the customer-centric age of Trust and Accountability.

Until then best of luck in getting listed in the The Open Directory Project.

Carl Chesal is a business and channel development consultant, trainer, photographer, and hobby carpenter. He operates BizFare Enterprise Inc and Foursight Photography, which provide business development, marketing, and internet marketing consulting services. Carl with wife, Janet, also operate a number of e-commerce web-sites.


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