Tulip Chain

Posted May 14, 2006

Tulip Chain is a DMOZ editor tool - that may also be called a bot. Unlike Robozilla (see Robozilla Exposed), it does not run automatically, but is initiated by an individual editor for a specific category or group of related categories.

It allows checking if sites within a category are working, and also provides additional inforamtion about redirects and bad links.

It will typically leave a user agent in your access logs something like TulipChain/6.02 (http://ostermiller.org/tulipchain/) Java/1.5.0_04 (http://java.sun.com/) Windows_98/4.10 RPT-HTTPClient/0.3-3

Further information is available at Tulip Chain

ODP Report for April

Posted May 11, 2006

The ODP Report for April has been released.

Donuts and DMOZ

Posted November 19, 2005 | 2 comments

In some categories there are large numbers of suggestions awaiting review. An editor faced with possibly several hundred sites, ….

CORRECTED : 1 Dec 2005 - as a comment says - more typically for busy active editors - more like several thousand

…. and a limited amount of time and wanting to review and accept a couple that day has no easy way of telling which are bad and which are good.

Now many assume that we should review in order of submission, that somehow that is fair. But this is not like the local donut shop, where of course, it would only be reasonable to deal with customers in the order in whcih they came in the door. Because, as has been said many times, DMOZ is not a service provided to site owners, it’s an attempt to provide a good list of sites. However, in fact, many editors will decide to review in date order, if they can find no better way, since it’s easy to do that.

But in reality, we should review and accept the best sties first. But that’s difficult, since you have to review all the sites to find which one is best.

Consider, that you want to find the best donut in the city. The only way to do that is eat one of every type of donut from each store, but the side effects of this can be disastrous. So in fact, one must pick and choose, by looking at the ones that seem to be most promising, and then sampling a few of those.

Likewise, an editor cannot consider reviewing all sites, he must pick ones that seem to be most promising. That is why in many cases, sites suggested with well-written descriptions, and correctly formed title, tend to be reviewed ahead of others. There is probably a good correlation to the quality of a site and the care taken to make a good submssion.

Removing a Listing

Posted October 31, 2005 | 2 comments

Sometimes for whatever reason, a site owner wants a listing removed from the Open Directory. Often no reason is given, sometimes it’s because they do not like the description provided by the editor. Now if the description is wrong, it’s reasonable to expect the editor to fix it. But usually it’s because the site owner does not like the boring factual descriptions that editors provide, and wants a hype filled keyword stuffed one.

More recently this has been affected by Google’s use of ODP descriptions, rather than extracting one from the sites or the site meta tags. Site owners do not want to have those descriptions shown in Google results. Why is Google doing this?

Google’s creation of snippets is completely automated and takes into account both the content of a page as well as references to it that appear on the web. We don’t manually change sites’ descriptions, but we’re always working to make our snippets as relevant as possible.

As an editor, I take that as validation from Google that in general, editor provided descriptions are more meaningfull in search results that ones from site owners. And that means that to keep ODP useful, there is no reason to remove a site in this type of situation.

There are other reasons not to accept an email request for reamoval. Apart from anything else, we would have to go through a whole bunch of validation to decide who actually owns the site - and that’s a nightmare in itself. Nothing was ever implemented to handle that kind of issue. Sites will be removed that contain illegal content, or if a court order is issued. For example if a site is owned by two people who are having a dispute, we would not want to remove a site because one person asked for it, and then get flack from the other that wanted it left there - we have to go only by what we see at the site.

Robozilla exposed

Posted September 20, 2005

Despite the claims that ODP is a human edited directory, that’s not quite true. Today we expose a secret employee.

Robozilla is a webcrawler that periodically visits all the websites pointed to by the Open Directory Project. When a page has either moved or is not found, Robozilla notes this fact in the internal logs. Robozilla is a key to quality control, he occasionly runs wildly through the directory striking fear into editors as he creates the dreaded Robo-reds - sites considered to be out of commission for one reason or another. All these sites get unreviewed, to await a truly human editor to ensure that he was correct. Site that are working get returned to the directory. Sites that are dead, await an editor to try and find a replacment site - somtimes a URL has changed slightly and the web designer was too lazy to leave in place some redirects. Often the site was just down at the time the Robozilla checked it, sometimes no replacement can be found and the URL gets deleted.

An article from the DMOZ Editor Newsletter (dated 2000) When Robozilla Roaaarrs!

Robozilla’s editor profile

Online Poker

Posted September 19, 2005

First this really is not about online poker, but about all the online poker spam bots that are attacking this site (and many. many other blogs) and trying to post comment spam. I’m following the advice in Bloggers of the World : Unite ! which suggests getting as many links as possible pointing to a neutral poker site, thus reducing the effectiveness of the spammers in getting PR.

So here’s another link to Online Poker (as well there is one in the sidebar)

To make this an ODP post - here is Games: Gambling: Poker

DMOZ guarantees Page Rank of 3

Posted September 14, 2005

(MYTH and totally incorrect)

From Virtual Promote (Jim’s World) forums

In fact, sites which are listed in DMOZ automatically obtain a PageRank of 3/10 once listed in DMOZ

The poster then says … Of course, I can’t prove that now … and of course he never will since he’s posting random drivel and if had I wanted that I would have gone to Random Drivel, not an SEO forum

Site Submission Services

Posted September 12, 2005 | 3 comments

The proper way to get a site into the ODP heap, with the hopes to get it reviewed and listed is to manually choose the correct category and suggest the site using the suggest URL link. It is only by manual submission that a category can be correctly selected, it is only by manually writing up a description and title that you can increase the chances of catching the eye of an editor.

How to suggest a site to the Open Directory specifically states Auto-submission software is (and always has been) a violation of this procedure. Sites submitted automatically are flagged and deleted after the submission is accepted, without notification to you

Auto-submission software and/or site submission services are generally inexpensive options that allow you to submit your site to twenty search engines, to even to 247,589 search engines. We can wonder why anyone would believe there are that many places to submit, and can question whether these services offer any value for the money, but for the most part, a service that submits your site to Google or Yahoo is not going to do your site any harm.

However SEO services that submit your site to DMOZ, can cause great problems. Many of those who offer submission services are clueless, and will use shotgun approaches. Not only will the site go the wrong category, it may well be submitted on a monthly basis, or to multiple categories. There are several SEO sites that continue to suggest that repetitive submission is required until your site is listed.

Most of these submission services (or programs) simply take your URL and throw it at all known search engines together with a canned description. For the price they charge, good luck at any quality. Be thankfull if they even get you correct spellings.

Heed the warning on the DMOZ submit page, auto-submission of sites can result in banning and blocking of your site.

Why does anyone become an editor?

Posted September 11, 2005 | 5 comments

People sometimes wonder why anyone becomes an editor - why would anyone waste their life reviewing and listing websites and not get paid for it. The general assumption is that most people become editors to get their sites listed but that seems to be incorrect. I don’t know of any reliable measure of the different reasons, but here are some.

Someone may have a particular interest in a particular topic and have already collected sites related to that topic. Being an editor allows them to put that list into the public domain, and continue to develop the list. They apply for the most appropriate category, and perhaps later apply for additional categories.

Some people have varied interests and like the concept of contributing to the public good. They like looking at varied sites, reviewing them and listing them.

There are those that just like the general idea of organizing and categorizing topics. These type of people often become librarians and indexers, and they may do that as a full time job. Being an ODP editor, just extends that ability and interest.

Some only have part time jobs, or are retired, and being an ODP editor is a hobby that stretches the mind. It beats being glued to the TV watching mindless media.

Some people do want to get their site listed, they are not professional SEOs or webmasters, they just have one site for their business, and want to get it listed. So that’s fine, provided they are even-handed and also list competing businesses. They have no interest beyond that single category. Note, that it is not that common, and that a large number of ODP editors do not even have a web site.

It is not uncommon for someone to apply in order to get their site listed, but find out they enjoy ODP editing, and continue on to ask for additional categories and do extensive editing of sites in many categories.

There are of course those who join with ulterior motives, they want to manipulate ODP to their advantage. They join, edit correctly for a while, then start to try and sneak in mirror sites, or tweak descriptions with keywords.But it’s not that easy, an editor starts with one small category and has to work their way up to get additional areas to edit. There are also cross-checks and balances, any editor can see what any other editor has done, and eventually someone will notice.

Hurricane Katrina

Posted September 5, 2005

It started a week ago, when I took a look at State Forecast for Louisiana - At that time the site said :-




and continued with many more dire consequences. I had to check and cross check to make sure it was not a hoax. When Katrina flattened out and appeared to do minimal damage, several who I had forwarded the report to made fun of me for believing it.

I do some part time for a company where I monitor news reports, and then I got another report that two levees had broken. At that time no-one was reporting the item, so I hesitated to let anyone know. In retrospect, it was true, and it led to the first item being correct.

ODP editors were monitoring the situation, some very close to the disaster, and by last Wednesday had created

Science: Earth Sciences: Meteorology: Weather Phenomena: Hurricanes: Past Hurricanes: Hurricane Katrina as a new category to provide resources.


Disaster Relief

American Red Cross

American Red Cross
American Red Cross - Online Donation Form


Made with WordPress and the Semiologic CMS | Design by Denis de Bernardy