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This site used to be such a great resource that even Google, itself on a mission to categorise, classify and map the web, used a scrape of the Open Directory for its own Google Directory. In fact, it was considered such an authoritative resource that Google (and Yahoo) are still prone to using DMoz descriptions of websites ahead of descriptions provided by the sites themselves.
Submitting a site to DMoz used to be the first thing any SEO consultant did in a campaign, particularly for new sites, because the value of the DMoz link was like a giant gold brick. New site goes up, gets reviewed by DMoz, gets listed - Google immediately knows it's a good site and a site worth including in the index.
Now, you ask, why am I saying "used to" when The Open Directory is still around? Well, unscrupulous SEO's and unscrupulous DMoz editors have, over the last few years, turned this great internet resource into a giant cesspool which is rapidly bleeding authority.
How have unscrupulous SEO's and DMoz editors destroyed DMoz?
Well, there's the people who apply to edit a category so they can remove their competitors and promote their own sites, no matter how poor.
There's the editors who sell on their account details.
There's the editors who extort money from listed companies.
And then there's the editors who can be bribed.
Oh and don't forget the folks actively touting guaranteed DMoz listings for a set price.
Now, call me crazy, but if the whole purpose of DMoz is to create a useful resource by web users for web users, and the editors are, as one said in an old Webmaster World thread, "category builders" and these "category builders" are simply in it for personal gain & profit then this is self-defeating.
DMoz is not a useful resource if the listed sites are no longer reviewed for quality but instead they just paid to be there - in fact it makes DMoz no better than any other low-value directory which takes payment for a "review process" that never happens and which passes no discernable value to sites or to visitors (if it even has non-SEO visitors).
I have, today, seen yet another instance of a corrupt DMoz editor promising listings in exchange for cash. Wouldn't it be great if the SEO community and any webmasters who see this sort of thing going on had the guts to report the abuse to DMoz.
Somehow though I doubt that this will happen, as a group we all tend to grumble but then do little to straighten things out.
But unfortunately if things continue as they are, I fear we will see DMoz destroyed and the precious DMoz link devalued entirely because of the greed of a few editors and shady SEO consultants.