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DMOZ - A brief history of the Open Directory

DMOZ - a brief history of the Open Directory

Launched in 1998 as GnuHoo, this directory was soon acquired by Netscape and renamed the Open Directory Project, offering content on an open license for other websites to use. At this point, the directory held about 100,000 sites and a network of volunteer editors numbering 4,500. Netscape was then acquired by AOL and the Open Directory remains an asset of this company today.

It has been estimated that the Open Directory's listings exceeded those of Yahoo by 2000, with about 1.6 million sites listed and with the number doubling again by 2002, easily exceeding Yahoo's listings as this directory was now charging most sites for a listing.

By 2005, the Open Directly had 5.2 million listings organised into 590,000 categories. This massive growth in listings was fuelled by the partnership with Google, which uses the directory as a supplementary search option. However, in the initial years of this partnership, Google gave sites that were listed on the Open Directory a strong ranking boost within its search results, prompting a surge of submissions and increased pressure on the Open Directory editors.

The number of active editors working on the Open Directory is around 10,000, but internal arguments and 'power struggles', combined with reports of a huge backlog of submissions has meant that getting a site listed on the Open Directory is extremely difficult, particularly if there is no editor looking after a category.

However, a listing on the Open Directory remains important as Google still uses this information and also the open license means that many smaller search tools will list sites from this source, helping build links into those domains that are included.

Find out about submitting a site to the Open Directory.

Find out how your website can achieve a listing on the Open Directory by contacting us now or by requesting a FREE website assessment.