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  1. #1
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    There seems to be some interest in having a discussion about the ODP and affiliate and/or other sites here, so I've opened this thread.

    If we can keep this to Q&As only, ODP-bashing isn't helpful and those posts will probably get deleted. I can't give you specific reasons as to whether a site has been rejected and why, the best place is to go is the ODP Public Forum.

    Hopefully though we can sort out issues that are confusing about what is and isn't eligible.

    To begin with - generally speaking, affiliate sites aren't listed in the ODP. Although there is always a wide scope for editor discretion and interpretation, the ODP guidelines state:
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Affiliate Marketing Schemes

    Why Doesn't the ODP List These Sites?

    It's not the business model we don't like. It's the mirrored and duplicated content. For example, suppose you have a company offering data storage products and services. They have exclusive resellers who provide a front for selling their products and services. While the reseller sites may be designed and written differently, their content and aim are exactly the same. Adding sites with the same content or that point to the same place are not unique or useful.

    [..]

    Sites Consisting Primarily of Affiliate Links

    Sites consisting primarily of affiliate links, or whose sole purpose is to drive user traffic to another site for the purpose of commission sales, provide no unique content and are not appropriate for inclusion in the directory. However, a site that contains affiliate links in addition to other content (such as a fan site for a singer that has interviews and photos plus banner ads and links to buy the singer's CDs) might be an acceptable submission to the directory.

    General rule of thumb: Look at the content on the site, mentally blocking out all affiliate links. If the remaining information is original and valuable informational content that contributes something unique to the category's subject, the site may be a good candidate for the ODP. If the remaining content is poor, minimal, or copied from some other site, then the site is not a good candidate for the ODP.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    There's also guidance on MLM sites and fraternal mirrors (i.e. where a merchant might has what are effectively "white label" sites with substantially the same content).

    By and large, most sites that we would recognise as affiliate sites are not eligible and would be deleted on sight.

    There are a few types of affiliate site that are sometimes (though rarely) accepted. One of these are price comparison sites where at least 10 different merchants need to be compared.. however, the site also needs to be significantly "different" and add value to the directory. Some "shopping mall" sites are also listed, but generally these are the really, really big players and it is exceptionally unlikely that you'd ever be listed.

    Now.. a lot of affiliates use various clever techniques to try to get listed. Let me tell you now, the generally speaking editors, *especially* Shopping editors, are experts in their field and know all the tricks. But affiliates submit anyway, and as a result the submission queues for Shopping and other commercial categories are completely stuffed with affiliate submissions (it's been phrased as the "toxic spam pile" by one senior editor). As a result, submissions can take a loooong time to be processed, and that often means that merchants who could legitmately be listed suffer very long delays.

    OK.. there's some issues to start off with. Feel free to discuss, but no flaming or specific enquiries please!
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

  2. #2
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Excellent suggestions and explanations!
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador
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    This is not bashing but just an FYI
    "The Open Directory search is temporarily unavailable. Please try back later."

  4. #4
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    Err yeah the ODP search is extremely flaky!

    Oh yes.. I'm by no means to only ODP editos who's also an ABWer
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

  5. #5
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    Do the editors always reply to requests one way or the other? It would be nice to at least get some sort of notification, even if it was a form letter. In the past I have even wondered if anybody at all looked at my site since I did not hear back.
    This World is Not My Home
    We're gonna go inside, we're gonna go outside, inside and outside. . . And then we're gonna go go go and we're not gonna stop til we get across that goalline! Quotes from the movie Rudy, 1993

  6. #6
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    On the ODP Public Forum you *should* always get at least a rejected / accepted / in-the-queue / can't-find-it response. Due to the volume of requests in that forum, it can sometimes get overlooked, so you can always bump it.

    If you try contacting an editor through the feedback link on dmoz.org itself, you will *sometimes* get a response, however editors often shy away from this type of communication as it can turn into an argument (often very unpleasant) with the submitter. There are a few horror stories about this sort of thing!
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

  7. #7
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Dynamoo:
    On the ODP Public Forum you *should* always get at least a rejected / accepted / in-the-queue / can't-find-it response. Due to the volume of requests in that forum, it can sometimes get overlooked, so you can always bump it.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    How do I find this forum?
    This World is Not My Home
    We're gonna go inside, we're gonna go outside, inside and outside. . . And then we're gonna go go go and we're not gonna stop til we get across that goalline! Quotes from the movie Rudy, 1993

  8. #8
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    This World is Not My Home
    We're gonna go inside, we're gonna go outside, inside and outside. . . And then we're gonna go go go and we're not gonna stop til we get across that goalline! Quotes from the movie Rudy, 1993

  9. #9
    Devil's Reject Electropulse's Avatar
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    if I have a site waiting for review in dmoz can I add the same url to musicmoz?

  10. #10
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    As far as I know, Musicmoz works completely seperately from dmoz.org in a technical sense, so go right ahead.

    It's a good place to list a relevant music-related site as the categories tend to have a high PageRank.
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

  11. #11
    Content $ Queen Ebudae's Avatar
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    I have a question about a content site - no affiliate ads at all, not even adsense. The only thing it does have is an ad to my own cafe press shop. Lots of original content.

    Would the ad for my cafe press shop keep it from being listed?

    --------

    Another site: all original content, no affiliate ads - but it does have adsense.

    Would the adsense ads keep it from being listed?


    Thanks!
    Ebudae


  12. #12
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    Ebudae, all sites are subject to editorial review and a listing depends on the *content* of the site, so if you have a site with unique content that would add value to the category then go right ahead and submit it.

    It sounds like in your case the Adsense and Cafepress elements are subsiduary to the content of the site, rather than the other way around.

    If the ODP didn't allow sites that carried advertising it would be an empty, empty place... although I do know of circumstances where editors have been over-zealous in this regard and rejected sites because of a single ad.
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

  13. #13
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    I just got a late Christmas present from the ODP today. I took a look at the stats from one of my sites (not an aff site) and found a referral from the DMOZ. I checked and sure enough it was listed at the top of one of the subcategories. I haven’t touched this site in at least three years and can’t remember if I ever submitted it, but I’m sure I did three years ago. Now to my question, I have links to my aff sites on it now, but would I be safe if I added the links to my other sites on the bottom of the main page?

  14. #14
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    Jason, that's a good question and there's a long and a short answer.

    The short answer is "yes" - the ODP doesn't care about your SEO techniques and as long as the links aren't to things like porn or illegal sites then it should be OK. I think this applies to your site, whatever it might be.

    The long answer goes along these lines - sites have to have unique and meaningful content. Sometimes sites get submitted that have minimal content and appear to be mainly doorway pages to other sites set up for SEO purposes. These sites will tend to be rejected on content grounds.. so it's no use knocking together a few pages with lots of SEO links on (I'm not saying your site does this Jason, I'm just making a general observation). So, if the editor determines that the primary purpose of the site is to either drive traffic to other sites (affiliate or not) or is merely an SEO tool, then it wouldn't normally get through.
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

  15. #15
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    OK, some of the other threads on the board have touched on the issue of "abuse" - where an editor uses their editing privileges unfairly for personal or commercial gain.

    Let me start out by saying this.. most of the time that submitters believe there's abuse, there isn't.

    Let's look at an example of non-abuse - you submit a site and it doesn't get listed. Well, most of us have affiliate sites and they're not eligible. For merchants by and large sites are eligible, but categories are backlogged. The non-appearance of your site in the directory means nothing.. as you don't know if you've been accepted or rejected under the ODP submission system (unless you ask at the ODP Public Forum). Don't forget that all editors are volunteers and some only edit sporadically.

    Secondly, other non-abuse is where you discover that the editor has a commercial interest in the category they edit. This is very often the case, because experts in a certain field might have their own website, or an employers/customers website. This is called an affiliation and it's not against the rules. However, all editors have to declare their affiliations and act impartially at all times.

    However, if you suspect that an editor is abusing their position by either removing sites or adding sites that aren't eligible, or perhaps charging for "inclusion" then there are two main ways of reporting this..

    Firstly, most ODP categories have a "report abuse/spam" link (go up a level or two if you can't see one). If you see something wrong, then report it with as much evidence as you can find to back up your claims. This system is primarily designed to tackle editor abuse and it will be investigated confidentially by meta-editors. However, like all things with the ODP this can take some time.

    Secondly, for general issues (and also things like hijacked domains) you can report these to the ODP Public Forum in the abuse reporting forum. This is a good place to ask general questions about what is or isn't abuse.

    However, it's a point worth making again and again - affiliate sites generally aren't eligible for listing and if you get rejected, it's not abuse. However, if you spotted an affiliate site listed belonging to an editor, it would most likely be abuse.

    Finally, somebody mentioned in another thread about some of the regional categories that exist (these are in the Regional tree). Many, many editors just edit in Regional (the rest of the directory is sometimes called "Topical") and the rules here are a little different. To be listed in a Regional/hometown category you must have some sort of relevant physical presence in the area ("bricks and mortar"). So, an internet merchant who has a physical store that people can visit might be eligible, but an internet-only distributor might not (unless their site covers, say, employment opportunities in the local area). Affiliate marketing sites, of course, are not eligible, but if you are an web designer that might well be listable in Regional because that could be relevant to other local businesses...

    ..I'll give an example. Let's imagine that as an editor of a particular locality, there's a large warehouse for an internet-only distributor nearby. Because you can't actually go to the physical premises and buy something, it would not be eligible. However, it might be that the distributor has jobs advertised or news about its work in the local community, in which case it could well be eligible. Of course, there are a whole host of locally-relevant sites that can be listed - so if you have a site that's really relevant to your hometown, then go and submit it!
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

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