MSN Search Provide DMOZ Opt-Out

I first came accross this yesterday on the APN SEO Forum which Anthony Parson’s posted a thread in reference to a new meta-tag: MSN Provide Opt-Out DMOZ Data from Listings

This is a turn up for the books and not a bad idea at all. Microsoft have announced that they have created an opt-out tag for webmasters to use in their meta-data that will ‘in a nutshell’ tell Microsoft’s MSN Bot to ignore the title of a website listing in DMOZ (ODP) and use the title that is on the website in question.

The following statement is from the MSN blog:

Just to give some background, the Open Directory Project at dmoz.org is a repository of millions of human-edited descriptions. Even though these human-edited descriptions provide a lot of value, with human editing may come human error, bias, descriptions getting outdated, or the editor’s text may simply not suit the webmasters who want to be represented in their own way.

A senior editor at DMOZ replied that it pained him to see sites listed in the wrong category and/or with outdated descriptions. He went on to mention that the ODP’s update should be used.

I have a problem with that statement. Though I believe the editor meant well and was sincere, the case of using the ODP update feature is flawed, the amount of time it takes to actually get around to making the changes is astronomical. I know this from first hand experience. A few years ago, we had a site listed within DMOZ, it was an old site and we had decided to take it down and redirect the URL. Ten months later it still was not changed and the description was way out of date and did not reflect the new company/website. I went to the DMOZ forum and made a request to have this looked at. I was met with hostility that I had the nerve to post my request on their ‘public forum’ and enquire after my own website / business that had an incorrect description within a public directory.
I responded hat they were wrong to respond in a hostile manner and that I had every right to question them in regards to my company website. However, I do understand that DMOZ must be inundated with similar queries.

What happened next is that they removed the old URL and did not replace with the new address. I raised this issue with them and mentioned it would have been really easy to do and got met with more hostility. It was ’suggested’ that if I complain again my site would not be listed for another three or four years. Another editor mentioned that they had not got an editor for the section it was listed in! This was untrue, because on a weekly basis I saw new sites appearing within it from competitors. I gave up in the end with that thread and went back a year later and tried with another again this time it got listed.

This tag could not have come soon enough for my liking and I am hoping other search engines such as Google, Yahoo et al make a uniform decision to create a universal tag for this purpose.

Here is the tag just pop it into your meta-data:

<META NAME=”ROBOTS” CONTENT=”NOODP”>

or

<META NAME=”msnbot” CONTENT=”NOODP”>

And MSN BOT will apparently ignore the out of date description.

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