The hot topic of the week is Jeremy Shoemaker, aka Shoemoney, being extorted by a Dmoz editor.


Newbie note: DMOZ, also known as the Open Directory Project, is a moderated directory of web sites. Due to its weight with Google and other search engines, being listed is considered very valuable.

Shawn Collins decided to look into the situation and was pointed to a DigitalPoint post Jeremy made way back in 2005 — “if anyone seriously does know a dmoz editor pm me ill pay there lame corruption fee to get in the dmoz… I dont like it but I want to be listed.” Another blogger (who hit the front page of Digg) had his Dmoz editor account banned after posting a note questioning Shoemoney’s removal.

Most Dmoz editors are web site owners, or promoters, themselves. Shawn Collins said that he applied for his Dmoz editor account after having trouble getting a site listed. This is a conflict of interest to Dmoz’s integrity. Editors are blocking the competition as well as collecting cash in exchange for listing sites. The system is broken and has been justly exploited.

What can be done? Easy. Add transparency.

Just like Wikipedia, all edits must be made public. Additions, deletions, times, dates, and ip addresses. Real names and faces must be assigned to the editors. Whether an identity is real or fake, the reputation behind that identity takes time to build up. This minimizes corruption. Directory categories need to be open to all editors.

Does Dmoz even matter anymore? Between millions of blogs, Wikipedia, Digg, and forums, is there not enough timely social media to far outweigh a single directory? Perhaps, yes. However, Dmoz still remains a valuable internet property. Just like real estate, without maintenance and renovation it can fall into slums.

Posted in SEO.

4 thoughts on “DMOZ is broken, its time for 2.0

  1. I definately like your transparency idea. But seriously, after the meltdown last October and how long it took to get DMOZ back up, I really wonder if the people behind the scenes over there would be up to the task of making some big changes to their system.

    • I agree with that assumption. Considering how aggressively Google has come out against paid links, DMOZ’s SE weight may already be in the fast lane to worthlessness.

  2. I’ve been editing at Dmoz since ’99. I didn’t get in to list my site, it was already there. The only thing I know about corruption is that editors caught in shady business are summarily canned.
    These invariably spend the next few years proclaiming they have no idea why they’re out (like joost) and (even more fun) running from one forum to another claiming dmoz is corrupt.
    As for the big $5000 extortion scam, that was plain old link bait. Nobody on the planet considers a listing worth $5000 even if we charged. “Shoe” knew bloggers would circle the wagons to protect their own, and despite Dmoz staff offering to can the editor if he’ll provide the email, he suddenly doesn’t see a need to have an extortionist brought to justice. Meanwhile page after page on google refers to his website. It worked.
    The project has a LOT of work to do to catch up to changes on the net, and we’re working on that. AOL just added staff and resources, and hopefully we’ll emerge a better product.
    Meanwhile the corruption thing is like the Proctor & Gamble satanist connection… a popular urban legend that will never die.

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