Well, let’s step back into the early days of the internet. When you were searching for information online, you were just as likely to use a directory as a search engine. DMOZ, aka The Open Directory Project, was the daddy of all directories.
DMOZ actually started late in the directory game, 1998, under the name Gnuhoo. It went through a rapid shuffling of names and ownership, eventually becoming known as DMOZ (based on it’s URL at the time: Directory.Mozilla.Org) and falling under the ownership of American Online (AOL).
DMOZ’s listings included millions of sites, all added and categorized by thousands of DMOZ volunteers.
As search engines gained in sophistication though, they became the easy choice for finding information on the internet. But even as web surfers switched to mostly using search engines, DMOZ remained a powerful quality signal for search engines to use in their ranking algorithms.
As the popularity of search engines continued to grow, the usefulness of DMOZ declined.
With less interest from users, waning volunteer support (as evidenced by the small number of current posts on their community forum pages), its diminishing value as a quality signal for search engines, and the lack of transparency of its corporate and volunteer community administrations, DMOZ became a relic of the past.
DMOZ has been on its death bed for years. AOL finally closed the doors and shut it down on March 17, 2017.
But the volunteers who ran and edited the directory, with AOL’s support, are vowing to bring it back.
“We are working at relaunching a new directory, and will post in these forums when we have something working!” wrote Elper, a DMOZ Admin who only lists his real name as “Pierre”, on a public post on the DMOZ volunteer community forum.
“Hope that it doesn’t take long to launch the new one.” writes another member, to which Elper responded “Thanks, we are hoping the same.”
The DMOZ homepage links to a copy of the old directory at dmoztools.org.
A company called Midnight Design Productions has sent out a press release saying they have relaunched DMOZ at dmozlive.com.
We’ve sent a note to Elper to ask if either of these sites will be the ‘official’ directory that the DMOZ volunteer community supports, but have not received a reply by press time.
What do you think of DMOZ?
Should it be brought back to life, or left to rest in peace?
Leave your comments below, and be sure to share this post with your friends and followers!
– disclosure: Chris Andrews is the former DMOZ editor of the Consumer/News & Media category.
For an update on this story, see: New DMOZ To Be Called “Curlie”