The Open Directory Project Analysis

Pour one out for DMOZ, which shut down in March of 2017. We’re keeping our past analysis live on our site for posterity.


The king of all directories.

From GnuHoo to NewHoo to its current identity as The Open Directory Project, DMOZ has operated with the goal of creating a useful information resource. It is managed by a network of approximately 10,000 active volunteer editors. For many reasons, not the least being that volunteers have other things to do, often a submitted site can go for quite a long time before being reviewed. If you submit a site, then you need to be prepared to wait. If you don’t follow the ODP’s basic editorial guidelines, you can expect to wait a long time for your site to get reviewed, if it ever does.

Think of it this way: An editor has received 50 submissions today. He or she begins looking through them and sees many with well-written titles and descriptions. Logically, the editor will add the well-written sites first, as this enables the editor to do his or her job. Your poorly-submitted site will have to wait until tomorrow. O.K., tomorrow comes, and the editor receives 50 new submissions. He or she begins looking through them and sees many with well-written titles and descriptions. Logically, the editor… (you can see the cycle here right?)

Whatever you do, be careful when submitting to the Open Directory. Write an objective description of your website paying attention to what separates it from the others in the pack – Open Directory editors won’t add your site just because you ask them to. The site must add something of value to the directory. Even if your site is better than a site you’ve found on the directory, it won’t necessarily be accepted unless it offers something unique or new and of value to web users.

If your site doesn’t get added to DMOZ, it may have been rejected. Most of the time, you will not get a message from an editor informing you of the status of your submission. We suggest that you submit, then wait. If your site does not get added in 4-6 weeks, don’t send the editors an email complaining that your site was rejected. If the site was rejected, they already know that. Remember you are dealing with a volunteer who takes great pride in helping to build the Internet’s most useful directory. If you act like a pain in the ass, expect to be ignored. If you have submitted your site according to the guidelines, and it has not been added after 3 or 4 weeks, send the editor an extremely polite, nice, kind email asking them to consider reviewing your site. DO NOT RESUBMIT – resubmitting puts your site back to the end of the line.

If you are rejected from the Open Directory, try submitting the site again in 6 weeks with an accurate title and objective description (keep it short). If you were rejected because an editor caught you trying to pull a fast one, good for them! Rethink your strategy. Go to business school. Take some classes in ethics.

Regarding titles, 99% of the time, the title of the website is the name of your business. If your company is called McGinkus, Inc. and you sell Fuzzy Bees, then your site can’t be called Fuzzy Bees. It must be called McGinkus, Inc. Maybe you should change the name of your company to Fuzzy Bees, Inc., because on the Open Directory, the site will be called McGinkus, Inc. Period.

Open Directory Search Engine Analysis


The Open Directory is setting a standard that is practically unreachable by any other directory-wanna-be on the Internet by providing The Resource Zone. Submitters can get immediate feedback about the status of their submissions, ask for help and advice, and complain in public all they want. Stop by and see.

Find the appropriate category and click on the link in the upper right hand side of the page which says, “add URL.”
Read How do I submit my site to The Open Directory (ODP or DMOZ)? first, and if you’re thinking of volunteering, read the guidelines.

Show respect (and have patience).

The Open Directory is a human-edited directory. All submissions are free, and commercial sites are welcome.

The Open Directory does not add affiliate sites or MLM sites. In essence, affiliate Web pages are simply doorways through to e-commerce sites. DMOZ editors have been instructed to include only the main site in an affiliate or MLM scheme. For the details, please read the Open Directory Editorial Guidelines – Site Selection Criteria.

Open Directory search results come from its own directory listings. The results are derived from the titles, descriptions, category names, and category descriptions in the Open Directory. If you site is marked “cool” by the editors, it will receive a prominent ranking.

Open Directory is a human edited directory like the Yahoo! Directory, and it builds the directory pages for:

AltaVista (AltaVista’s web directory is a copy of the Open Directory, and it powers its own search engine.

AOL Search (AOL’s directory is a copy of Open Directory, and its search is powered by Google, which also relies on the Open Directory to build its directory.

HotBot (HotBot’s directory is a copy of Open Directory, but its search engine also draws from its own implementation of Inktomi’s engine.) HotBot no longer offers a web directory.

Google (Google’s directory is a copy of the Open Directory, and it spiders Open Directory frequently. It gives sites listed on the Open Directory special popularity relevance in it’s search results.)

Lycos (The lycos directory is a copy of the Open Directory.) Lycos no longer offers a web directory.

Netscape Search (The Netscape directory is a copy of the Open Directory.)

Click here to see a list of all the sites using Open Directory data.

How do I submit my site to The Open Directory?
How often should a site be resubmitted to the Open Directory?
Will DMOZ accept several urls from the same domain (deeplinks) if the content or products are different? Is there a limit?

Open Directory Editorial Guidelines
Open Directory Editor Resource Zone
Open Directory Public Forum
How to Add a Site to the Open Directory
Public Abuse Report System
AOL Procedure for Making Claims of Copyright Infringement (DMCA)