DMOZ Accepts Search Engine Spam

DMOZ, the open directory, has been a tool used by website owners to promote their sites for many years. And more recently, it has been used by search engine optimizers to get new sites listed in search engines because the directory represented a trusted and free inbound link. The question that is now coming up is whether the directory will continue to provide value.

I don't claim to have the inside scoop on DMOZ, but I am leaning towards the side of the argument that the directory's influence on search rankings is diminishing. The latest evidence of this is that the official policy of the DMOZ editors is that sites that use hidden text shouldn't be deleted just because of this hidden text. Now, if you've read anything at all about search engines you know that hidden text, a once popular technique, is frowned upon and can lead to a site being banned.

The folks at DMOZ say that they are only interested in content. If the content is good, then they don't care about things like hidden text. This seems like bad policy to me. After all, would you trust a doctor that has a history of failed surgeries just because he has a nice pamphlet discussing the theory behind the surgeries he's conducting? I imagine not. Instead, you'd look for someone that addresses all of your concerns both in theory and in practice.

DMOZ's policy, I fear, could one day reduce the trust that the editors have worked so hard to obtain. I think this may come about because the implication of not penalizing blatant violations of search engine policies is that the editors are not being careful in other ways. Are they even reading content on the site? Are there any rudimentary checks for duplicate content issues? What other search engine spam techniques, subtle or otherwise, are being ignored?

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