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After 19 Years, DMOZ Will Close, Announces AOL 60

Its volunteer-edited web directory formed the basis for early search offerings from Netscape, AOL, and Google. But 19 years later, there's some bad news. koavf writes: As posted on the DMOZ homepage, the Open Directory Project's web listing will go offline on March 14, 2017. Founded in 1998 as "Gnuhoo", the human-curated directory once powered Google and served as a model for Wikipedia.
A 1998 Slashdot editorial prompted Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation to complain about how "Gnu" was used in the site's name. "We renamed GnuHoo to NewHoo," a blog post later explained, "but then Yahoo objected to the 'Hoo' (and our red letters, exclamation point, and 'comical font')." After being acquired for Netscape's "Open Directory Project," their URL became, which was shortened to DMOZ. Search Engine Land predicts the memory of the Open Directory Project will still be kept alive by the NOODP meta tag.

The site was so old that its hierarchical categories were originally based on the hierarchy of Usenet newsgroups. As it nears its expiration date, do any Slashdot readers have thoughts or memories to share about DMOZ?
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After 19 Years, DMOZ Will Close, Announces AOL

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  • Hopefully the archive team will get a good mirror of the site.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The DMOZ has kept downloadable archives of their entire directory. I'm sure it will be cloned by dozens of people.

      It's sad to see this project go under. I used their directory data to back one of my first web projects. I also discovered a lot of resources related to my interests through it that I wouldn't have found otherwise.

    • Re:Archive team Go! (Score:5, Informative)

      by koavf ( 1099649 ) on Saturday March 04, 2017 @11:26PM (#53978417)
      I've already contacted Jason at Archive Team and the community will fork and continue on at a new location. MusicMoz has agreed to host a static version until then.
    • by ls671 ( 1122017 )

      Sadly, I never heard of DMOZ. Time to download the archive I guess.

      Back then, I used to use Lycos which is 4 years older than DMOZ an a year older than Yahoo.

  • dmoz was awesome (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 04, 2017 @10:49PM (#53978271)

    i ran a motorcycle related website for several years. i listed the site on dmoz. was consistently at the top of searches because of it.

    i started getting phone calls from SEO companies, claiming they could get my website to the top of all searches. so i asked how they found my website. was told they searched for it. and where were they finding it? already at the top. silly people.

    • DMOZ was awful (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Sunday March 05, 2017 @12:39AM (#53978587)

      Some years ago, a site I was involved with was moving. Someone contacted DMOZ with a simple request not to keep listing the old address, because their influence on search engines was distorting the rankings and putting the old, soon-to-disappear, out-of-date site higher than the new, up-to-date one. That was creating significant problems for people getting the wrong information, and that in turn was causing a lot of hassle and wasted time for our volunteer organisers who had to clean up the mess. The DMOZ rep basically told us they wouldn't change anything because they were there for users not site operators. They couldn't seem to understand that what we were asking was in the interests of those users, nor why we blocked all traffic giving their site as a referrer from both sites afterwards. From our perspective, it might have been a well-intentioned idea, but it was run by people with a terrible attitude and ultimately did more harm than good.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        this is where all the dickhead editors at wikipedia cut their teeth.

      • Sadly I must agree. Initially I was able to get a site or two listed but as time drew on, everything became impossible at DMOZ. It was easier just to do SEO and let Google rank the pages based on an algorithm rather than hoping someone at DMOZ saw your site as being worthy of indexing. I once read an article about the politics of being an editor, which far outweighed any original interest to serve the public good. It's been trash for over 10 years and although it is sad to see another chapter in the web clo
  • The site was so old that its hierarchical categories were originally based on the hierarchy of Usenet newsgroups. As it nears its expiration date, do any Slashdot readers have thoughts or memories to share about DMOZ?

    Yeah... don't let the door hit you on the way out.

    Seriously - this is an idea whose time past many, many years ago.

  • or Boo Gnu. funtimes.
  • Community fork (Score:5, Informative)

    by koavf ( 1099649 ) on Saturday March 04, 2017 @11:27PM (#53978419)
    If you want to help us continue the Open Directory Project, you can join at the Resource Zone: []
  • by Kaenneth ( 82978 ) on Sunday March 05, 2017 @12:42AM (#53978595) Homepage Journal

    Massively out of date and useless, and not accepting new volunteer help as well for the last 10 years.

    A dead organization.

    • by solanum ( 80810 ) on Sunday March 05, 2017 @02:24AM (#53978803)

      I was an editor for a couple of sub-categories for quite a few years, starting soon after the ODP was set up. In the end I gave up though, as you say, it was massively out of date. It was a nice idea, and remains a nice idea, but is simply impractical these days. When the web was largely static it was useful. Now, not so much, sadly.

      • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

        I miss the directory idea. Search helps you find what you are looking for but directories helps you find what you did not know existed.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I offered to edit a few categories and took their "test" and actually took a fair amount of time doing so. They rejected me because I had a conflict of interest with websites that I didn't disclose. I was involved in one website, which I listed, but they said, "Nope." I wrote and asked, "What sites are you talking about?" They wrote back that they were under no obligation to respond to my questions. That was the last time I ever went to their site. I think the year started with a "1".

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Will the internet suffer from not archiving DMOZ. Probably not. If possible a list of original websites registered with DMOZ within the first couple of years should be archived for internet historical reasons. I had a handful of websites registered with DMOZ. I'm old.

    Back then if your website wasn't registered with DMOZ and spidered it was almost considered part of the dark web. DMOZ was a very important thing if you were a web designer. DNS wasn't as prolific back then so you actually had to register

    • by Anonymous Coward

      DNS wasn't as prolific back then so you actually had to register your site to get crawled by spiders.

      How does this have anything to do with DNS?

  • as in my days (daze), to get a better SEO reputation, getting listed by DMOZ was on the checklist. i liked DMOZ just like WINGNUT and GOPHER stuff... ahhhh how the days have passed when CUTEFTP and WINZIP were really needed. alas, i concede... gzip and other open source solutions at least still live on...
  • by bradley13 ( 1118935 ) on Sunday March 05, 2017 @05:43AM (#53979063) Homepage

    Back in the day, when search engines were nearly useless, curated directories like DMOZ were the best way to find what you were looking for. I used it a lot, and also curated some topics.

    That said, I haven't even thought about the site in over a decade. This article prompted me to check: some of my entries are unchanged after all these years. Which just goes to show how inactive DMOZ has become. I'm actually surprised that it still exists - certainly, it is no longer relevant to the modern web.

  • by lucasnate1 ( 4682951 ) on Sunday March 05, 2017 @08:30AM (#53979365)

    More and more of the internet is dying, siphoned away into google or facebook.

    • by tbuskey ( 135499 )

      I used to read usenet. My reader had killfiles that could exclude specific authors, subjects, content, etc. I'd skim the subject line then dive into the articles if I was interested.

      Now I use an rss reader. I'd love to have anything like killfiles.

  • I remember the internet in the early '90s. You could go out and find an index that listed almost every site that existed, by category. DMOZ is a classic example of this. Mosaic browser on Unix machines... That brings back memories.
  • by Dynamoo ( 527749 ) on Sunday March 05, 2017 @02:55PM (#53980771) Homepage
    I was an editor there.. in fact I still am, and over my years I achieved editall status.

    It was a great idea when it was created, but over time the landscape of the web changed. DMOZ was founded before Wikipedia and even Google, back in the days that finding stuff was *hard*. DMOZ editors would curate lists of sites that would give a good overview of the topic, but it turns out that Wikipedia's approach to topic curation was better in the long run (and I think that many DMOZ editors are also Wikipedia editors). Directories also died a death as search engines got better, and in the end DMOZ was only really important for SEO purposes.

    A long outage at the end of 2006 didn't help at all, and many editors didn't come back after that. Every time I log in I am horrified at the enormous backlog of submissions. For a long time, DMOZ was a great and useful resource. I don't think it has been the case for a while though, but the data it curated is still of value and it would be good if it could be preserved somehow.

    • Yep, I was an editor from about 1999 to 2006. It did have a positive effect on SEO back then. But then I had to reapply to be an editor, and since it was kind of a thankless task I gave up. As wilth Wikipedia, it was fairly easy to detect the personality of the people in charge of the group one was subgroup/topic editor of, and sometimes there was suspicion of bias in the industry website DMOZ approval/disapprovals. Overall quaint, I have some fond memories, but wouldn't bother to resurrect the thing.
    • Every time I log in I am horrified at the enormous backlog of submissions.

      The last time I logged in, apparently about 10 years ago, I was horrified at the enormous backlog of everything. And I could look at everything, because I was a metaeditor.

      The last time there may have been any balance was when it was easy to become an editor and the site hadn't become a peer to Yahoo. Most editors weren't malicious, might add their own site if that's all they wanted to do, and buzz off. Of course they'd be keyword loaded crap, but there might be someone else around to fix it.

      Those ha

  • Oh no. Whatever will Mike Pence do for a search engine?
  • I fantasized about stealing their category hierarchy RDF file (i.e., structure.rdf.u8.gz ) - for building a classification thingamajig of my own. Here's their short sample: []

  • I had not know DMOZ was the early basis of some part of Google... Sad to see the loss of the scaffolding of the web -- but it is true that communities move on or at least individuals do. Glad and others are making a copy of it -- but you can't as easily make an archival copy of a community.

    One issue with DMOZ was that you got (at the time) at most two listings per item. The book "The Disciple of Organizing" shows instead how one can have a facet-based approach with multiple categories instead o

To do two things at once is to do neither. -- Publilius Syrus