The DMOZ directory was evaluated for Web Directory Reviews Org on Tuesday, December 23 and Wednesday, December 24, 2014.

One of the granddaddies of web directories, DMOZ has been in my top ten since I first reviewed it in the second quarter of 2013. Beginning with that quarter, it has placed #9, #10, #7, and #7 as the Open Directory Project, and #4 and #6 as DMOZ, as DMOZ has been known as GnuHoo, NewHoo, the Open Directory Project, the ODP, Directory Mozilla, and DMOZ, settling on DMOZ during a branding campaign not long ago.

I won't elaborate on the history of DMOZ because I have done so on some of my other reviews of this directory, and it would be redundant. At this time, the directory is owned by America Online (AOL), managed by some paid staff and thousands of volunteer editors from all over the world.

The directory is wholly financed by AOL. There is no advertising, nor is there a cost associated with submissions to the directory. DMOZ is known for very long waits after a site is submitted for consideration, and I mean years rather than months. I have personally submitted sites to some localities categories that are badly in need of content, but with no results a few years later. On the other hand, others of my sites have been added without my even having submitted them, so I know that the directory is alive.

As a volunteer project, editors generally work in their areas of interest so some parts of the directory are apt to be far more active than others. Plus, having formerly been an meta editor with DMOZ, I know that editors prefer searching for sites to add to their categories rather than working the submission queues. The prevailing thought is that DMOZ exists for its users rather than for its submitters.

Still, everyone who has a site to market should submit it to the most appropriate category in DMOZ. Its Moz Domain Authority is 96/100 and the Page Authority of its index page is 95/100. Its Page MozRank is 7.34 and its Page MozTrust is 6.96. The Majestic Trust Flow of DMOZ is 77 and its Citation Flow is 66. The Alexa Traffic Rank is 1,682.

For the purpose of my review, I also view each directory from the perspective of a directory user rather than as a site submitter or search engine optimization specialist. Each directory is evaluated in five areas: aesthetics (10%), size (20%), intuitiveness (20%), quality (25%), and usefulness (25%). Additionally, I sometimes add up to five extra points for extra content.

Aesthetics - 7/10

The design of the DMOZ directory hasn't change much since it was launched in 1998, but perhaps the retro look is befitting a directory that is more than fifteen years old.

At my resolution, the index page of the DMOZ directory takes up only a small portion of the upper-center part of the screen, everything else being white space.

With the exception of the directory's Kids and Teens category, each of its upper-level categories consist of only one word, and that one incident of asymmetry is compounded by the fact that the first word of that category is colorized. I was a meta editor with DMOZ at the time when that category was established, and I thought the idea was stupid then, and I haven't changed my mind. Clearly, not everyone agrees with me because several other directories have copied the idea.

It's not a major issue, surely. Otherwise, its main menus has a symmetrical appearance, with fifteen upper-level categories arranged in five rows and five columns, with its World category occupying the entirety of a sixth row.

There is no advertising.

Size - 20/20

DMOZ is huge. Other than the Yahoo! Directory, which is scheduled to close in a week, and possibly BOTW, I don't believe that any other directory approaches DMOZ in size.

Intuitiveness - 20/20

I was closely involved in the development of the taxonomy of the DMOZ directory, so I have difficulty understanding why anyone would have trouble finding their way around DMOZ. Given my past relationship with the directory, perhaps I am biased, but I consider the directory's category structure to be user friendly.

Sites are nearly always listed in appropriate categories, so its follow through is great.

Not only does the directory use category names that are intuitive, but it is well organized, and supplemented with @links, See Also links, and links that tie categories to similar categories in other languages, as well as an above and below the lines feature that separates different types of subcategories in a subcategory menu. I find this to be very effective.

Its search feature returns results based on category names, site titles, or site descriptions. If DMOZ used more descriptive site descriptions, search results would be even better.

Approximately six months ago, DMOZ introduced a feature that they referred to as Regional Trees, in which results would be shown from all around a particular region rather than in just one specific locality, within its regional section. However, I haven't come across many areas in which this has been implemented and, looking at the large number of empty or near empty categories within the lower levels of its regional categories, I can't help but believe that editor time would be better spent locating sites to list in these categories, or reviewing submissions to these areas, a few of which would be my own.

Nevertheless, in the area of intuitiveness, I haven't seen anything that surpasses the DMOZ directory.

Quality - 14/25

As I mentioned earlier, some DMOZ categories are very well maintained, having active and conscientious volunteer editors. However, there are other areas of the directory, particularly within the lower levels of its regional categories, that have not been updated since 2007. Given the immense size of the DMOZ directory and what must be a shortage of available volunteers, I don't know if this can be helped, but I still have to acknowledge it.

DMOZ uses a sentence fragment model for site descriptions, and most of its descriptions are on the skimpy side. When I was an editor there, many DMOZ editors made a habit of removing anything that might be considered a keyword from descriptions, resulting in the non-descriptive descriptions that are prevalent in DMOZ today.

A good site description can be a resource to directory users, giving them a better idea of what to expect from a listed site. They also provide textual content to be indexed by search engines.

However, misspellings and promotional language are rate in DMOZ. I did find some capitalization errors, a couple of which I am posting below. These are the exception though, and not the rule.

Avagant's Fanpage Directory - Entertainment directory focusing on Actress and Actor websites made and maintained by fans.

Live 'n' Loud - Directors: Find the next actor, actress, or comedian. Talent and Production: Also offers jobs.

There are several empty categories, as I discussed earlier, particularly within the lower levels of the directory's regional categories. When I was a DMOZ editor, we wouldn't create a category unless we had at least three sites to list in it. That was probably the case with these empty categories but, over the years, some of the sites became bad links and were removed automatically, with no one coming along later to replace them.

Usefulness - 17/25

As one of the largest directories on the Internet, if not the largest, there is certainly enough content in DMOZ for it to be useful, and it is well organized. One thing that I have been told repeatedly, even while I was an editor for DMOZ, is that no one uses the directory to find anything. That is not true then, nor is it true now, because I do, and the sites that I have listed in DMOZ receive traffic from the directory.

However, its site descriptions, as a whole, are inadequate, although no more so than many other directories that use a sentence fragment model of descriptions. DMOZ does have category descriptions but they are intended for site submitters and include very little information that would be of use to a directory user. Plus, as I have mentioned earlier, there are a lot of empty categories, especially within the lower levels of the directory's regional categories. The directory is not responsive, relative to mobile access.

Extra Content - 1

DMOZ includes a blog that describes new features and other information relating to the directory, but it was last updated more than seven months ago. There are several help files and other resources, so I'll give it one extra point.

Overall Rating - 79%

Upon my assessment of the DMOZ directory on Tuesday, December 23 and Wednesday, December 24, 2014, I have rated the directory at seventy-nine percent.


DMOZ is a pioneer in the web directory industry, and continues to be an active directory today. Although submissions to the directory are often fruitless, there is no cost involved, so I would recommend that everyone submit their site to DMOZ.


blog comments powered by Disqus